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Question about Auto Claim Investigation

MSNDISMSNDIS 251 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
I appreciate any advice you can provide. My daughter just bought her first used car. I added it to our insurance policy the day after it was purchased and made the effective date the day she bought it. (I've been with this company over 20 years and I think we've only filed two claims for less than $8,000 total.) Less than two weeks later, someone sideswiped my daughter's car in a hit and run as it was parked at the curb at her boyfriend's house. They heard the crash, ran outside but didn't see any moving vehicles or anything amiss (there are a lot of cars parked on the side of the street). She was parked against the flow of traffic (she didn't know that was illegal until her interview with the claims adjuster) so she didn't notice the damage until she got to work the next morning and saw that the whole passenger side was damaged.

That day (a day after the accident), she called the city police who advised her to file an online report with the state patrol since she had no suspect information. Yesterday, I verified with the police department that that is normal in hit and runs without a suspect (it is). The dispatcher was also able to get the name of the officer my daughter spoke with by me providing her phone number. They have a record of my daughter's contact with the police (I'll send that info. to the claims adjuster tomorrow). I'm also going to file a public records request for accident information in that area with the police department and the state patrol. I assume it was a drunk driver and other cars were hit. My daughter also started a claim through our insurance company online.

The claims adjuster called my daughter and took her statement and was really hung up on her parking the wrong direction and let her know that since the claim was filed so close to the date the vehicle was added to the policy, it would be sent to an investigator. My daughter let her know it was added then because that's when she bought the car.

It's been over a week now and when my daughter went to get the repair estimate ($5,000 - close to the value of the vehicle so I assume it will be totaled), she got a rental car (which was in the initial informational email after the claim was filed) and the salesperson there told her to let her insurance company know she chose to get the rental. After she sent the email to the claims adjuster, the adjuster responded that since the claim was under investigation, she couldn't approve anything and that they would not pay for the rental car.

My daughter has emailed the pre-purchase inspection report showing there was no damage (it was done the morning she bought the car). She sent all the sales information and the salesperson's name and phone number, she sent the accident report information. She also offered to send co-worker contact information so they could let the adjuster know they saw the car in great condition and then saw the smashed up car.

I sent an e-mail to the claims adjuster asking 1) what they were investigating, and 2) what we could provide to help the investigation go faster. My daughter also sent the same questions. The adjuster will not answer those questions and just said it is under investigation because the claim was filed so close to the date the vehicle was added and that she didn't file a police report (I refuted that and my daughter is sending the report to the adjuster again), the fact that she was parked the wrong direction (I let her know that she wasn't aware that was illegal until talking to the adjuster but had she parked the correct direction, it still would have been hit but on the driver's side--my daughter also sent pictures of the crash scene which showed other cars parked the wrong direction so she would know that isn't out of the ordinary in that area), that there wasn't much debris from the other vehicle (I let her know that she didn't get to look for debris until late the next day and the suspect could have hit other objects before my daughter's car was hit, lessening the debris at the scene, or someone else could have picked up the large parts of debris earlier in the day to get it out of the road), finally, she said we have to be patient.

My co-workers suggested I contact an attorney which I attempted to do yesterday but I assume this is small potatoes for him and I haven't heard back from him yet. I just forwarded the e-mails to/from the claims adjuster and asked him if this was normal and, if not, if he could send an e-mail to the claims adjuster to hurry this along.

I almost forgot to mention that the dealer suggested my daughter buy gap insurance, which she did. She has not filed anything with them yet because she's waiting for our main insurance to let her know how they will settle the claim.

My questions for you are if this is normal and if not, what should we do? Also, should she file the gap insurance claim now and let them know she is waiting for a decision by our main insurance? She hasn't made a payment yet (I think the first payment is due August 1) and I'm worried any payments she makes won't be covered in the gap insurance settlement. Maybe she should let the credit union know what happened and see what they say about payments while this is being settled.

Thanks, in advance, for your advice. I apologize for this being so long.
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Replies to: Question about Auto Claim Investigation

  • alwaysamomalwaysamom 12272 replies217 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Have they sent someone out to appraise the damage? If it's an amount close to being a total loss, someone from the insurance company should be seeing the car. As for her parking in the wrong direction, that should have no effect on how the claim is handled. It sounds like they are concerned due to the timing of the claim but your daughter seems to be able to disprove any issue there.

    My suggestion is to get the adjuster's supervisor's contact info and get in touch with him/her. There's no need for a lawyer at this point. Too many people automatically think that a lawyer is necessary for every auto claim.
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  • MSNDISMSNDIS 251 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you very much for your suggestion. No one from the insurance company has seen the vehicle. They had my daughter take it to a collision company to get a repair estimate. I will request the supervisor info from the claims adjuster today.
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1237 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It sounds pretty normal. They're just trying to make sure it isn't fraud. A regular claims adjuster wouldn't handle that. My guess is (if you have rental reimbursement) they will cover the rental once the confirm it's not fraud. Gap insurance is usually most important for leases. You could notify them, but they won't pay anything until the primary carrier makes a final decision.
    These days very common for nobody to see the vehicle in person, unless the estimate comes back and you dispute the numbers they came up with.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34222 replies379 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agree with above. They may have said, if fraud, they wont pay for the rental. But chances are in your favor. Be aware your policy may limit rental total days. Mine was 30 days.

    These things usually have a strict regulated process. Far too soon to get an attorney.

    The first time experiencing this is the worst. Most to learn.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23013 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    File the claim with the gap insurer. The two insurance companies will work it out.
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  • iaparentiaparent 267 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Not to add concern but depending on the company and adjuster there may be more questions coming. If she purchased the car in her name and the car was added to your policy (where she is presumably not the named insured) you have no insurable interest in the car and they could decline to cover the accident. From a strict standpoint the name on the title needs to match the named insured on the policy. Every company I have worked for would not have declined the loss but any check would come in your name (the named insured) and then you and your daughter would have to work that out but some can be real stictlers.

    The other issue is the rental car. Typically rental car coverage is a benefit available to the named insured not to listed drivers. Just because she is listed as a driver does not mean she is entitled to rental car benefits. This can be easily navigated as you would rent the car and then list her as a driver but is something you want to attack at the beginning, not after a couple of weeks.

    The gap coverage is another issue I don't know how to answer. Gap coverage pays the difference between the total loss payment from your company and the outstanding loan balance. She really does not have a gap claim until she knows that the car is a total and how much her company is paying her. In a perfect world she will get more than her loan amount and not need the gap coverage but that rarely happens with new purchases.
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  • MSNDISMSNDIS 251 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you all for your replies and thanks for letting me know there might be an issue with my daughter owning the car and having it on our policy even though she's been listed as a driver since she started driving.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3821 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I didn't even think you could do that, have your kid on your policy with her being the owner? My insurance won't. But they wouldn't have added it to your policy unless they thought YOU owned it? That never came up?
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  • jym626jym626 55573 replies2896 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 16
    When out kids were younger and still on our policy, we owned the cars but they were the primary driver and insured on our policy.
    edited July 16
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  • TS0104TS0104 891 replies26 threadsRegistered User Member
    I agree that for now, just wait it out and be persistent. Also I can't imagine that you can apply for gap insurance now, with an accident claim pending. And of course, see if you even have rental car coverage on your policy...it's not automatic.
    We had a sticky auto insurance incident last spring, and I was told by our insurance that once we got an attorney involved, the insurance (or anyone) wouldn't talk to us about it any more...everything would go through the attorney. You may not be ready to take that step yet, as it still could/should work in your favor, and it sounds as if you have the time and have all of the details anyway! Good luck. Also maybe your insurance agent can give you some advice...since you are the agent's customer, presumably with more of a relationship, you might find that they will help you out more than the claims people or the 800 number.
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  • bgbg4usbgbg4us 1309 replies42 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I hope this all works out for you; and that you've "dotted the I's and crossed the T's."

    Your situation and the above comments has made me curious on our own car situations. My kid drives our car, but just moved out. I just chatted with our insurance: if car has a separate permanent address, it can't be insured under our policy even if we own it. If car has a separate owner but is parked permanently at our address, it can be under our policy.

    sorry about your situation; but by your posting it's made me aware that kiddo needs to get his own insurance NOW! so thanks for starting this post. Good luck!
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  • MSNDISMSNDIS 251 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    No, there were no questions about who owns the car when I added it to our policy. Our daughter still lives here but spends a lot of time at her boyfriend's house. When our oldest daughter got married, I was told by the insurance company she could stay on our policy. She finally got on her husband's policy about a year ago.

    We don't have an actual agent, unfortunately. I dug out our actual policy and we've been with the insurance company since 1991.
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  • jym626jym626 55573 replies2896 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 16
    I would also suggest, if the boyfriend isn't already on the Neighbor nextdoor app, that he join and ask neighbors if they have any outdoor cameras that might have caught the hit and run incident. Not only might that help to identify the driver/vehicle but also get the "investigation" resolved.
    edited July 16
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3821 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If nothing else comes up, you should really review your policy, coverage, and cost. That your insurance company does seem to cover what others do not might mean you are paying over the odds (insurance companies do NOT reward loyalty.)
    As for the big picture, a lawyer for a 5K problem seems like a poor investment.
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  • iaparentiaparent 267 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    With your older daughter she could stay on your policy as a driver but being a driver does not make her an insured, an important distinction.

    I often run into families where the adult child moves out and moves into the city (NY, Chicago, etc.) and does not have a car but remains a driver on the parents policy. This is great for the insurance company, they get the premium for a younger driver and any tickets or accidents that may appear on their record with very little actual risk as they do not drive but does nothing for the family. The child is covered any time they use the parents car as they are a permissive user no different than if you loaned your car to a neighbor. What they don't get is uninsured motorist coverage, coverage when they rent a car, etc. This is critical for people in the city, should they be hit by a gypsy cab driver with no insurance they do not qualify for uninsured motorist coverage an important coverage that no one talks about.
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  • HImomHImom 34346 replies391 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Uninsured AND underinsured coverage are both very important but rarely mentioned. I have this on me, H and D. I hope S also has it.
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  • mom2andmom2and 2875 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @iaparent can you clarify? One of my sons has moved to a city and doesn't have a car but occasionally borrows one of ours. He is listed as an occasional driver on our car insurance (and is over 25 now). We keep him on in case he needs to keep the car overnight or if he is driving other folks and so has liability insurance. Are you saying that if he lives elsewhere we don't need to do that and if he borrows the car he would still be covered for any accident he has? But the benefit of keeping him on our insurance he is covered for uninsured motorist coverage?
    What is the insurance coverage if you lend your car to someone? I have always wondered what your liability would be. I tend not to loan or borrow cars for that reason.
    A friend's dd had an accident not long ago that appears to be the fault of the other driver. It took a while for her to get the settlement and there is some kind of investigation as to shared fault.
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  • MSNDISMSNDIS 251 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for the additional responses. I agree an attorney isn't worth it for the value of the car. I'm holding off for now. The claims adjuster hasn't responded to our last few emails with additional information (they've asked for nothing but we've sent them information that should help them figure out this Isn't fraud) so we're just in limbo for who knows how long.

    Daughter's boyfriend joined Nextdoor but so far, no luck.

    I filed public records requests for hit and run reports and DUI arrests in the area and daughter has been looking in the area for damaged cars.

    We will be switching insurance companies once this is over.
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  • oldfortoldfort 22959 replies290 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 18
    If you let someone borrow your car and there is an accident then you are liable. At the same time, if the damage is big or if there is personal injury then they could also go after the driver.
    If the cost of having your son as an occasion driver on your policy isn't too much I would keep on it because it will give him additional protection when he is driving someone else's car or when he is renting a car.
    When I used to have cars, I didn't let people drive my cars.
    edited July 18
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  • iaparentiaparent 267 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @mom2and I agree with Oldfort. My point is that listing a person as a driver on a policy does not make them an insured under the policy, an important distinction. Residents of your household should be listed as drivers as they have regular access to your cars, those that do not live with you do not have regular access and do not need to be listed. Listing them really just lets the company know who has regular access and the ability to track their driving record. Since your son does not live with you he does not have regular access to your car so the company does not care about his record. Any time he drives your car you are loaning it to him and your insurance will cover him as a permissive user.

    My point was more about knowing the differences between being a listed driver and an insured. The insured has all of the rights granted in the policy while a driver is just that "a driver". An individual can be both. For example a 17 year old child that lives with you is both a driver and an insured while the nanny that lives with you is just a listed driver. Some of the issues are around uninsured motorist coverage and replacement rental car coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage covers an insured 24/7 for any vehicle (car, bike, scooter, etc.) related accident but only covers a driver while they are driving your car. An example would be your nanny takes the kids for a bike ride and is hit by a hit and run driver. The coverage would apply to the kids but not the nanny as she is not an insured.

    I often see this play out when young adults move out on their own (post college) but take the parents car with them. It is common for the parents to keep the car in the parents name and keep it on their insurance. It is less expensive and easier. The problem is, at this point the child is no longer an insured. When an accident happens and the young adult needs to rent a replacement car (if the policy provides for rental coverage) the insurance company is not obligated to pay for the rental changes unless the rental is in an insured's name and the young adult is not an insured. This is easy when the young adult stays local but if they have moved a state or two away it gets much more challenging for mom or dad to rent the car.
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