Monday, May 07, 2007


I've been dealing with a major insurance company for about 3 weeks now. As a result of a small accident, my son's car is a total loss. No one was hurt, it wasn't his fault and no other vehicles were damaged. I believe in treating others the way I want to be treated, but I'm beginning to wonder if that's the right way to handle these things.

To begin with, it took almost a week to get someone to look at the car. During that time, no one could tell me WHEN they would get someone to look at it. The cable company can narrow an appointment down to 1 hour, the pizza guy can be there in 20 minutes, but the insurance adjuster can only tell you "within 4 business days."

The initial offer was low. Surprise, surprise. The adjuster told me someone would call me with all the paperwork. I asked how long to get a check, he said depending on mail, it could take up to a week. (unbelievable)

The following business day (a weekend elapsed), I called to check on the status (no one called me). Nothing got loaded into their system. After a few phone calls, I was told they could go out for Dealer quotes and was promised a call back in 24-48 hours.

Well after waiting almost 72 hours, I called back. The quotes were back and they came in about 10% higher than original. My feeling that the quote was too low was obviously justified. The new quote was higher, but still over 10% too low by my calculations. I asked for some time to think it over and looked for replacement vehicles. All the vehicles I looked for verified my estimates.

Armed with this new information, along with listings of other cars similar in value but higher in price, I went back to the company. After a few minutes of discussion, it was obvious I wasn't going anywhere, so I asked for a supervisor. After discussing with him for a while, I got nowhere.

Now let's be clear, this isn't a high priced vehicle. And the difference in my appraisal versus their appraisal is relatively small. Most of it seems to hinge on the adjustments made for condition. The car has some wear and tear on it, but I believe within normal expectations. They even faxed me a list of what is "normal" and I believe it matches. If we ignored all of the adjustments, we would be very close on price, and I'd probably ignore the difference.

But now I'm left with three choices: 1) Accept the offer and lose the 10%+. 2) Seek out a lawyer, sue the driver of the vehicle (it was one of my son's friends), probably get the same amount and lose lawyer's fees or 3) Hire an arbitrator and achieve same results as in #2.

What makes me the maddest is that I have done everything to mitigate costs and the company has done nothing. I did not use a tow truck, the car is in my driveway incurring NO storage costs and I went without a rental car for a week. The driver of the other car admitted to me that his brakes weren't very good, so he had to "jam on" the pedal and that's what caused the skid (this was a VERY STUPID thing for him to admit). In the mean time, his parents rented him a Ford Mustang to go to the prom (and I don't understand how he was allowed to drive it, he's under 18).

So what's a man to do? I feel it is morally wrong to sue in this case (there's a Bible verse about that), and I'm not sure it even helps.

I did file a complaint with the company and got a call from a manager about their lack of responsiveness. He felt bad, but there's really nothing he can (or will) do.

Very Frustrated!

(Note: updated post - corrected a couple of typos)

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