Have you ever felt as though you are dealing with a rebelious child when you talk to your auto insurance agent? If so, then you may enjoy this. A member of our family was involved in a fender bender last month. She was approaching a stop light, slowing down to turn right, when a pizza delivery car tried to zip out in front of her right before the intersection. They both received cracked bumber skins, wrinkled fenders and a busted light or two. The police report laid the blame wholely on the shoulders of the pizza delivery person. Our insurance agent seemed friendly and helpful, insisting that they take the car to one of their preferred shops to have the damage assessed, and offering us a rental vehicle for the interim. Three days later, the assessment is not done, and I am beginning to regret even telling our insurance about the accident. The rental car is $40/day of which the insurance will only pay $30, so we are losing money there, and I am beginning to get a sinking feeling that they won’t give our car back to us. Finally on the seventh day, they have come to an estimate of $2500 for repairs, and have determined the vehicle to be worth $1600, so they write it off as a total loss. We are told that if we wish to retain the vehicle, we will lose a $300 salvage fee, and that we will get a check for $950. I don’t care what kind of math they are using, I am just happy to get the car back, and enough money for me to repair it and cover the car rental. As a cynical gen-Xer, I am surprised to get anything good from anybody, and twice as surprised when it is a corporation.
So with car in driveway and cash in pocket, I began the repair process. The fender was not that bad, so I pounded it out, and it looked pretty close to new. I bought replacement parts from the local Pick-N-Pull where necessary, and in two evenings I had it back together. When the weather warms up, I’ll paint the salvaged fender and bumper and put those on.
Later that week we recieved a letter from our insurance stating that they would no longer offer comprehensive or collision insurance on our car because it had been totalled. That seemed reasonable; with the car’s age, I would have removed that coverage anyway within a year or two. They only asked us if we could have a mechanic fill out a total loss mechanical report to send back so that they could continue our now reduced coverage. Well they didn’t exactly word it that way; what they said was “Failure to return this completed form by the above date will result in the termination of this automobile isurance policy as well as refusal to renew your other automobiles…”
I am not used to being threatened, and it makes me feel a little indignant. That was all it took, and we imediately called another company to switch our 4 policies over to them. We haven’t even called AIG to tell them we don’t want them anymore.