Auto Insurance Claims/RV lighting strike damages. Claim denied
QUESTION: While driving through Texas in our motor home we were hit by a lightnng strike. When the lightning hit us it stalled the motor home for a second or two, unbeknown to us that activated the auto park brake. All the lights on the dash started flashing as the engine restarted. We continued driving trying to figure out what had just happened. We were on a freeway lookng for a safe place to pull over, and finally found a rest stop a few miles up the road.
When we stopped my wife who was driving pushed the parking brake button , and a big cloud of smoke came up from underneath the motor hme, we thought it was on fire. we turned the engine off and got out of the motorhome and The smoking stopped. Upon further investigating I determined that the smoke was brake fluid leaking on the hot auto parking brake when my wife put it in park.
The parking brake that is located on the end of the transmission was totally fried and would not work or hold the veh. In place. I managed to disconnect it and we made our way home.
The motor home jacks did not work at that time either, and started flashing the second the lightning strike hit us.
Upon arriving home we were told that the damages should be covered by our comprehensive insurance policy by a relative who works for another insurance company.
We filed a claim with our insurance company and they denied our claim, stating the damage was due to driving several miles with the parking brake on. The denial letter did not even state anythng about the lighting or storm that we were in or the circumstances leading up to the brake being activated.
Although our comprehensive policy does not state anything about lightning , it does say that we would be covered for hail, flood, water damage. Personnel property might be covered in a lightnng strike.
Several other insurance agents that work for other componies review our case and believe the damage would be covered.
Was hoping to get another option from an expert to see what your opinion is and what my options are.
Thanks for your time
ANSWER: I agree with you. My company would cover this under Comp coverage. Even if they made the argument that this was your fault, it should still be covered under Comp. In this case, I do not think you did anything wrong because you did not know the brake had activated.
Now it is possible that your policy is written with some unusual language that allow them to deny this claim. I would not know this without reading your policy. You should read your policy carefully and look for anything to support their position.
What does the denial letter say? They cannot deny for "driving with the parking brake on" because this does not reference a policy provision or exclusion that would justify denial. The letter should be very specific.
If you have not yet done so, ask to speak to the manager. If this does not work, file a complaint with the state insurance administration for your home state. You could also file a similar complaint in Texas. Good luck!
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QUESTION: Thanks for the quick reply, it was very helpful.
I attached a copy of the letter that I received from the insurance company. Hopefully that might give you a little more insight, as to what there saying and how I should proceed if at all. There letter made no mention of the lighting storm, just driving with the brake on.
He says it is not a direct loss but he fails to provide the definition of a "direct loss." He used a lot of policy language, taken out of context, that makes it appear not covered. But I don't think he is correct.
I suggest you complain to the manager, and if that does not work, the insurance administration(s).