View Full Version : Insurance...Why bother?

Jul 29th, 2004, 05:49 AM
My mom has a '89 Buick Lasabre. We were driving to dinner a couple of weeks ago...and I will spare you the graphic details...but we nailed a dog. Anyway, it took out the right headlights and other damage. We took the car in to the body shop on Monday. They call a couple of days later and tell us that the insurance company wants to total the car because the damage is more than the car is worth. $2800 in damage...car blue book $2400. INSANE :wall: This is an old car...why in the world with all the scratches and dents would they want to replace the hood for a nickel size dent? The right front panel has a small fist size dent...why replace this? All that the car really needed was a new headlight assembly. So the insurance company calls and tells us that they can total the car and we can still keep it. COOL RIGHT? :confused: NOT! They said blue book is $2400 minus the deductable which leaves $2200. But then they tell us this garbage about it they had the car they would sell it for salvage and make $700, so we loose that too. So that leaves us with $1500 and to fix the car ourselves. Ok...maybe I can live with that. So, we found the headlight assembly for $160 new. The bodyshop put it in for free. I guess they felt guilty after charging $300 for an estimate...insurance picked this up since we didn't sign anything or were told that they would charge to do an estimate. They body shop actually had to fix the damaged pieces to get the car to go back together. So anyway the car looks pretty good for next to nothing to fix it. Just a couple of minor dings. Now...the insurance company is hot on our tail to come pick up the money. We go over and my mom doesn't have the clear title...just the copy. She forgot the letter that GMAC gave her releasing the lien. Thank god she forgot it! The insurance company is pulling a fast one...at least I think so. I found out from the Texas DMV that if they file the car as salvage, which I think that is what they are up to cause why else do they need the title? Then, the state will not let you drive the car on public roads or sell the car to another person until you fix the damage, get new title, register the car, and have a safety inspection done. Now if I hadn't found this out last night we would be driving the car illegally! I just can't believe an insurance company would do this to us. We are telling them to keep their stupid $$$ and go to another insurace co. They also told us after they total the car out that we still could keep it insured with them...I bet! So...the point is that we would have gotten $1500 and had a great deal on headaches that would have taken months to resolve. I really don't see why they shouldn't pay for the headlight assembly and pay for the car to be repainted since it did leave some cracking it it on the hood and front panel. Has anybody had a similar problem or is an agent that knows if this is just wrong! Totalling the car out and just taking the money and giving them the car was not an option since my mom does not have the money to buy a replacement. The car only has 120,000 miles on it and has a sound engine. Do you think they can be made to pay for some of the damage?
:wall: :wall: :wall: :wall:

Jul 29th, 2004, 07:45 AM
read this.. WARNING! it's long. it's a story of my friend's accident in 2001... I'm the friend from Ladner that he refers to. Sorry, he's linked pics, but I didn't include them here.

BTW... ICBC = Insurance Corp. of British Columbia. In BC, insurance is a monopoly... and It's run by the gov't.. or at least it used to be.

On Friday, December 21 2001 at 7:15 PM (the camera is one hour ahead) I was on my way to a friend's place in Ladner. At the end of Cottonwood Avenue I attempted to turn left onto Sunwood Drive. Sunwood was clear for as far as I could see and there were no engine sounds besides my own. It was nighttime so I was looking for headlight beams either direct or reflected off trees and houses. There were none so common sense told me that it was safe to turn. Unbeknownst to me, a 1985 Honda Prelude, traveling well over the 30 km/h posted limit, was rocketing north on Sunwood Drive with its headlights extinguished. I started into the turn but stopped halfway through as soon as I saw this car in my headlight beams. It became visible only fractions of a second before it hit me. The airbags went off but since I was moving so slow they didn't hit me. I was barely jostled.

He, on the other hand, ricocheted off my front bumper and ended up wrapped around a tree. It seems 17-year-old male drivers are not aware of basic physics. No skid marks, no other sign of braking on his part. It looked like all he tried to do was avoid me and continue on his hasty way. I'd estimate he was traveling between 80 and 100 km/h for the following reasons:
After he hit me I glanced over just in time to see the tree tip over from the impact.
A large tree trunk-sized indentation is now where his driver's side door was.
The tree was partially uprooted and is now split in half.
He slid sideways into the tree and still caused as much damage as he did.
My front license plate ended up 30 ft away from my car.
The roads were bone-dry so any lower speed would've allowed him to stop in time or go around me successfully.
The next day I drove the same way he did but at various slower speeds. Each time I would brake a little later trying to estimate where he would've seen me. Each time I would stop with room to spare.

My dad and I visited the cars the next day and took more pictures. It was plain to see that the headlights were down before the impact as they were wedged shut.

With no witnesses it is very hard to prove my account of the situation. On average, left turn accidents are usually found to be the fault of the driver doing the turn. This was not an average situation. There is no way I caused this accident.

Unfortunately, ICBC doesn't agree. Apparently any semblance of logic is not allowed when assigning liability. The other driver's story was half accurate, half fabrication. He claims he stopped for a pedestrian at the Pinewood crosswalk (located in this photo at the white sign in the distance above the fire hydrant). The crosswalk is roughly 50ft from the scene of the accident. If he did in fact stop for a pedestrian then:
Where was the pedestrian at the time of the accident? There were no witnesses because nobody was around.
How did he accelerate from the crosswalk to my car fast enough to end up wrapped around a tree?
ICBC claims there's no way to dispute his story. I say BS.

Another fabrication is his claim that he turned off his headlights after the accident and that they retracted into a fully closed position. This, he says, accounts for them being down in my photo. Sounds a bit odd, doesn't it?
The headlight control is crushed. I highly doubt it even works anymore.
The headlights are now dented and don't sit straight anymore. In this state they won't go up anymore. Had they been up they wouldn't have gone down as much as they are.
You know what? The adjuster hadn't even seen the cars! Because of that they believe this second lie.

To add insult to injury, he also claimed that I was speeding and had run the stop sign. Well let's just see here:
My car would have crumpled like a plastic bag had I rammed him like he said.
If he was going 30km/h and I was speeding he would've ended up in the yard to the left and I would've followed him. Instead, he flew more or less in the direction he was traveling in and I didn't move from the point of impact.
He "knows the area well" and was aware of the 30km/h speed limit. Since he knows the limit he must've been going it, right? Uh huh. Never mind the fact that I've lived three doors away for 15 years and he's 20 blocks north of the entire subdivision.

After hearing all this I asked if ICBC planned on getting any calculated proof of speeding and whatnot. I was told that they only hire engineers when death is an issue. So what have we learned here today? If you hit someone, make sure they're killed so that proper measurements can be taken and scientific certainties can be determined. That way the truth of what happened can be reconstructed.

In case you're wondering, the repairs to my car cost $7,500 and it looks as good as new again. If I'm at fault I'll be paying in excess of $8,000 over the next 8 years in additional premiums. Given these two numbers, what's the point in having insurance at all?