Auto Insurance Claims/auto claim

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Question
I have Erie insurance.  A few weeks ago I was backing out of my garage and hit my son's car.  It was only a little bump but the adjuster said it will cost about $3000 to fix his car and $1500 to fix my car.  He is getting his car fixed.

But I checked and I can buy a taillight and bumper cover myself and fix my car for @$200 which is less than my $500 deductible.  I called my agent about this and she said it wouldn't change anything as far as penalties and adjustments to my policy if I did it myself so have it fixed for whole price.

This doesn't sound right.  What do you think?

Answer
Hi Dan,

You have several issues here.  Let's take them one at a time.

First,the damages. If you have $3000 of damages, that says to me you either have frame damage or that you need an extensive amount of refinishing, or a combination of both.  $200!  That's purely cosmetic - at best!  Don't consider that "repaired".  

You don't mention what type of car you have, but if you ever have a hope of selling it, cosmetic rather than structural repairs will come back to haunt you.  If the car is past it's time anyway, then go ahead. My only concern would be safety. If there is frame damage, would it impact safety?  Only a body man could answer that question.  You might want to pursue that.

Second, as for what your agent said, I am going to assume that she is giving you that advice based on the notion that you are going to withdraw your claim.  In that scenario, the insurance company would not pay for the repairs as there would be no claim.  No harm no foul theory.

Keep one thing in mind.  Agents sell insurance.  They do not adjust claims and they do not underwrite rates.  Before you make a final decision, you need to speak directly to the insurance company.  Call the adjuster assigned and ask if the claim has already "damaged" your safe driving record and if withdrawing the claim will erase the damage.  Adjusters are the one's who determine fault.  Withdrawing a claim could erase the entire at-fault scenario.

However ultimately it is the underwriting department that determines rates. Ask if a claim withdrawal will also erase the incident from underwriting records. If the adjuster cannot answer, ask to speak with someone in underwriting.

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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