Auto Insurance Claims/hit and run

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Question
My husbands truck was legally parked in front of our house and a man came along and hit it causing over $8000 in damages then he took out a power pole right behind my husbands truck. The man fled the scene only to be caught 30 mins later by the police. It has been over 5 weeks. The insurance company will NOT get us a rental. They sent a check for $3555 and said that's it. The body shop that has our vehicle will not start on it until the insurance company guarantees payment. We are having to borrow a van from my husbands family member. We have not cashed the check and the body shop says they have contacted the insurance company over a week ago and they won't contact them back. What can we do? We need a car.

Answer
Hello Teresa,

It sounds to me like there could be coverage limits kicking in.  For example, if the at fault driver only has $10K of property damage coverage, or coverage limits, then each party would receive a pro-rated amount.  You would receive a portion, and the power company and anyone else who might have property damages would also receive a percentage - or pro-rated amount - of the limits.

So the first thing I would suggest would be to communicate with the adjuster and find out exactly why $3555 is "it".

Now, if limits are not an issue than you are clearly being treated unfairly.  When you are the innocent party, you are entitled to repair of your damages plus a rental vehicle for the period your car is in the shop.  Or if your car is inoperable - which I assume it is - until the car is repaired.

If there is a dispute between the damage appraisal and the shop, the insurance company's appraisal will take precedent. However - and this is a big however - if the shop finds additional damages during its repair of the vehicle, they need to call the appraiser for a supplement.  Supplement meaning payment of those additional damages.

All of this is moot, however, if you are dealing with coverage limits.  If indeed coverage limits are the problem then you need to file a Collision claim with your own carrier.  Your carrier will pay for all of your damages minus your deductible.  When the repairs are complete your company will then subrogate the at fault carrier for the damages paid on your behalf.  At that time, you will be eligible for a refund of your deductible.  This ordinarily takes a few months.

In a nutshell, call the adjuster and find out exactly what is going on.  Then you can proceed accordingly.  It does sound like a limits issue.  If your shop works regularly with insurance companies, its actions would certainly suggest that.

If you do not have Collision and there are limits on PD, then you either have to pay out of pocket or you need to explore the possibility of small claims court against the other driver personally.

Good luck.

Jane

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Jane Pytel

Expertise

I can answer questions related to auto accidents, auto damage, auto theft claims, or personal injury claims. I am specifically suited to answer questions concerning insurance investigations and the effects of those investigations such as claim delays, claim denials, examinations under oath, or the special investigations unit. I can answer most any question that relates to proper claims investigations, or claims handling procedures and processes. I have authored several ebooks which provide claim guidance for consumers. Those books are available on Amazon Kindle: Power To Profit - will provide you with the knowledge you need to overcome the patterned obstacles that insurance companies will use to delay, devalue, or deny your valid insurance claim. The No Nonsense Guide to Accident Settlement - Teaches you how to manage your claim, how to identify the precise tactics likely to be used against you, and how you must respond.

Experience

12 years of experience with 3 major insurance companies. I hold an all lines adjusters license in Florida. I am well versed in claims handling, claims investigations, and industry standards related to both. The bulk of my experience stems from my 10 years as a police officer / detective. Building on that investigative experience, I became an SIU (Special Investigations Unit) Investigator. Accordingly, my unique expertise lies in the investigation of claims. What is necessary and related, what is not necessary and related? What constitutes a fair claims investigation? What recourse is available for consumers who suspect they are experiencing unfair claims delays? During the course of my experience, I became a certified trainer, instructing adjusters and investigators proper techniques for claims investigation and claims handling.

Education/Credentials
B.A., Communications, University of Miami 350 credit hours of intense investigative training, Miami Dade Police 80 hours of investigative training, various Federal Agencies, Miami, Fl Intensive Accident Reconstruction and Pedestrian Injury Analysis, NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, Oklahoma City, OK 2 weeks Auto Damage Appraisal, Winston Salem, NC Legal Principles Claim Specialist, AEI

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