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Auto Insurance Claims/Auto insurance refusal to pay rental car

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QUESTION: One month ago my car was backed into while sitting stationary waiting to get into my apt complex. The driver was apparently insured under his mother's insurance, Allstate. He was however driving his grandparents' car at the time which was insured under Farm Bureau. A claim was filed with Farm Bureau. My car was taken to the shop and deemed not driveable after inspecting damages.

I was not issued a rental car as the Farm Bureau agent said they could not claim responsibility until they had proper documentation from Allstate. I called back periodically only to receive the same response. Finally I took it upon myself to call Allstate. A claim had not yet been filed. I therefore filed a claim so they could obtain an estimate and contact Farm Bureau. In the meantime while the two companies were disputing who would cover my repair, I obtained a rental car. One month later Allstate is agreeing to process my claim. Due to the excessive wait time, I decided to file a claim through my insurance company. I do not have car rental coverage under my policy so that was placed on my card. I was informed by the Allstate agent that because "I" waited so long to have my repair done and chose not to process the claim through my insurance immediately after obtaining an estimate, I would not be reimbursed for the full rental cost which is currently $900. This is not fair in the least. How do I ensure that they pay for the full amount of the rental car. I did not want to submit the claim through my insurance unless I absolutely had to which I did because I'm moving. The reason I've had the rental car for so long is that it took the two insurance companies that long to figure out who would pay. The decision to go through my insurance should have nothing to do with it. Can I just have the rental company bill the insurance company directly and take my card off their records? How do I avoid getting stiffed with bill?

ANSWER: Hi Jon,

Unfortunately, it seems that you will have to pay for the rental during the time until you filed the claim with Allstate. You are required to mitigate your loss. That means do what ever is needed to minimize the claim. As soon as the Farm Bureau adjuster told you they could not immediately process your claim, you should have contacted Allstate to have them handle the repairs to your car. Since you do not have rental car coverage, you would then have paid for your rental car and then seek reimbursement from Farm Bureau after you repairs were complete.

I know you think it should be different but that is how it works. You should be able to get Farm Bureau to pay for the rental car for the number of days the vehicle was actually in the body shop being repaired.

I hope this helps
Richard Hixenbaugh

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Richard thank you very much for the quick reply! I very much appreciate the insight.  However what about their obligation to provide an equal means of transportation if my car is deemed undriveable. After taking my car in for the estimate, it was deemed undriveable. I then contacted Farm Bureau who said they could not issue a car until they spoke with Allstate. I was given this answer repeatedly for 2 weeks. I finally took it upon myself to contact Allstate. It should not be my responsibility to contact the other driver's insurance. Farm Bureau indicated they had been reaching out to Allstate every time I contacted them. This is an unjust system.

Answer
Hi Jon,

I thought I had already answered this. If not I am sorry.

You are required to mitigate your loss. That means that when Farm Bureau did not accept liability, you were supposed to put the claim through your own insurance company. Farm Bureau will owe you for a rental car for the number of days your vehicle was at the body shop being repaired.

I hope this helps
Richard Hixenbuagh

Auto Insurance Claims

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Richard Hixenbaugh

Expertise

Auto insurance claims procedure, auto coverage, liability issues, auto damage questions, how to deal with the insurance company, loss of use and diminished value.

Experience

I have been involved in the insurance industry for over 25 years. I have experience in underwriting, sales, claims adjusting, auto damage estimating, auto value appraising and diminished value appraising. I have testified as an expert witness over 35 times.

Organizations
Society of Certified Auto Appraisers

Education/Credentials
Completed all required courses for the Florida Property-Casualty agents license and the Florida claims adjusters license. I have attended various courses on auto damage estmating, vehicle appraising and am ASE certified in collision damage analysis.

Past/Present Clients
My company has done work for consumers nationwide.

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