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Insurance and You!


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First and foremost I am not an attorney, and cannot provide legal advice. I am also not a salesperson. The insurance company that I work for would not sell anyone here insurance unless you also drive an 18 wheeler. I do have over 10 years of experience in adjusting auto liability claims including accidents involving large amounts of property damage, bodily injuries and fatalities. Insurance is a complex industry, and there are things you may not know about it. Hopefully you find this helpful.

 

Our Legacy GTs are getting up there in age and mileage. We’re entering a territory where even mild to moderate impacts are capable of totaling our vehicles out. We have invested a lot of time and money in our vehicles, so here’s some advice that may help protect your investment:

 

Before an accident:

1) Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage. Do you have full coverage on your vehicle? If not, then get it. Liability only insurance is great for 2 types of people. You are loaded, and don’t care about your car. Or your car is worth less than $1000. That’s it. If you can’t afford full coverage on your vehicle, then you need a car that’s worth less than $1000. Make sure your deductible (the amount you have to pay in the event of an accident) is low enough that you can afford it. If you opt for a $2,000 deductible, make sure you typically have $2,000 in your savings account. Most people can swing a $500 deductible a lot easier. Be conscious of this decision.

2) Inform your insurance agent or company that you have aftermarket parts on your vehicle, ask them if they have any endorsements that they can put on your policy to compensate you for aftermarket parts in the event of a loss. If they do not offer coverage for aftermarket parts, then it’s time to shop around for different insurance. Progressive has an endorsement that covers up to $5k in aftermarket parts. They are not the only company, they're just an example. Yes it will increase your premium, but I’d rather pay $10 extra a month then lose thousands on the aftermarket stuff I’ve put into this car if it’s totaled. If your car has tens of thousands of dollars in upgrades and aftermarket parts, you may want to contact a specialty insurer like Hagerty insurance to protect your investment. The bigger insurers simply don't have the policies or mechanisms to deal with highly modified vehicles.

3) Liability coverage is the coverage you have that pays other people if you are at fault for damaging their property, or for injuring them. If you don’t have any assets (vacation homes, investment accounts not including your 401k, etc.), then you don’t need to have a lot of liability coverage. Attorneys will not sue broke people, suing people is expensive, and if you don’t have money then they can’t make money off you. They cannot take your home, but they can take your vacation home. Conversely, if you have tons of assets, make sure you have lots of liability coverage, maybe even consider an umbrella policy. They’re inexpensive, and typically provide at least $1 million in coverage. A fatal accident in most venues is typically valued at over a million dollars. I typically do not recommend having less than $100,000 per person per accident in bodily injury liability coverage even if you’re poor. I have issued checks for $15,000 to parents of deceased children on my insured’s behalf because my insured was too cheap to buy decent insurance. It sucks. Don’t be that guy.

4) UM/UIM, applies to bodily injuries to you, caused by someone else who doesn’t have insurance. It’s relatively inexpensive, but you’ll be glad it’s there. It’s mandatory in most states. Click here for more info.

5) Medical payments coverage/Personal Injury Protection/No fault, varies state by state. I don’t really want to go into it here. Buy it if you can. It covers medical bills for you and anyone in your car at the time of the accident. Some states allow you to triple dip for medical bills, meaning that your health insurance pays you for your medical bills, your Medical payments insurance pays you for your medical bills, and the person who is at fault pays you for your medical bills, so you get paid for the same thing 3 times. It’s bonkers, but it’s also the law and no insurer can do anything about it.

6) Rental is self-explanatory, buy it unless you don’t mind being stranded or if you have a second car.

7) Roadside assistance, buy this! It’s so cheap, and replaces your AAA membership. You can use it for tows accident related or not. I used it last year when I broke my steering knuckle bolt in my driveway, and a month ago when my wife’s car battery died. No questions asked. It’s like $20 a year on most policies,

 

At the accident scene:

1) Make sure everyone is ok. Call an ambulance if anyone is hurt.

2) Was someone else at fault? Call the police. Have them complete a report. Be polite to everybody.

3) Were you at fault? Don’t admit it unless you know everything there is to know about traffic law. Odds are you don’t. Let your insurance company determine fault. Let the other party decide if they want to call the police or not.

4) No matter who is at fault, take photos, not just of your vehicle, but of their vehicle. Take photos of the scene from far away. The shots of your bumper from 6” are far less useful then a shot of the entire scene with both vehicles at their final resting places. Take photos of their ID and their insurance card. Take a photo of the other party. Write down their names, telephone numbers, and names of any passengers in their vehicle. Take note if they’re walking around or they’re in pain. I cannot emphasize this enough, as an adjuster there have been 0 times in the thousands of claims that I’ve handled where I have complained about getting too many photos.

5) If your car isn’t drivable, have it towed to your house or the body shop of your choice. Try not to have the police tow it to a tow yard or impound lot. If it has to be towed to a police impound or tow yard, WRITE DOWN THE INFORMATION FOR THAT TOW YARD. You are responsible for not misplacing your vehicle. This happens way more than you think. Most body shops have tow trucks, so if you have a body shop you like, call them and have them get your car from the scene of the accident. Police get kickbacks from tow yards. Tell the police you will have the vehicle removed immediately from the scene.

6) Cooperate with police, be polite and friendly to everyone. Accidents are stressful enough without people being douche bags, there’s no undoing what happened. Take a deep breath if you’re pissed, take a walk, just don’t start screaming and yelling.

 

After an Accident:

1) File a claim with your insurance and the other person’s insurance once you’ve calmed down. Again, be polite. People taking down your claims information have to get a ton of information about the accident and the people involved from you. They get yelled at multiple times a day, try and make their day easier. You can ask them to put you in a rental, don’t be at all surprised if they tell you no, especially if it’s the other person’s insurance company. The other person’s insurance company is REQUIRED to complete a full investigation before issuing payments. THIS IS MANDATORY, AND ANY ADJUSTER WHO DOESN’T GETS FIRED. They are not going to lose their job to put you in a rental Corolla, no matter how at fault you think they are.

2) Be patient. Get an estimate from the shop of your choice. An insurer cannot dictate where your car gets fixed. They can recommend shops, and that’s it. Do not expect an insurer to put OEM parts on your 10 year old car. Your parts are 10 years old, don’t be surprised when someone wants to replace your used parts with other used parts or after market parts.

3) Make sure the shop you are using offers lifetime warranty on the parts. This should alleviate some of your concern that non-OEM parts are being utilized.

4) Look at http://www.nada.com to get an idea on the value of your vehicle. If the cost of repair is greater than 70% of the NADA book value of your car, it’s probably totaled. This is where your receipts for aftermarket items comes into play. Some aftermarket items will increase the value of your car. New engines, suspension and tires do modify the value of your car. Regular maintenance items do not modify the value of your car. When we come up with a value for your vehicle, it is assumed that everything is in good working order, so I don’t really care about fresh power steering fluid, or a newish alternator with only 15,000 miles on it.

5) Diminished value is the difference in the value of your car right before the accident, and the value right after the repairs are complete. You are entitled to it. But considering the age of our cars, it’s not worth much. At most 20% of the value of your repairs. (Repair bill is $2000, maybe your diminished value is worth $400 for example). It’s hard to prove, so don’t expect much.

 

Insurance says your car is a Total Loss:

1) Make sure they are aware of everything that you’ve done to the car. Provide them with copies of your receipts for aftermarket stuff. If it’s still totaled, you still have a couple options.

2) Argue a bunch, and substantiate it with paperwork that their value for your vehicle is wrong.

3) Speak to a supervisor, and repeat #2.

4) If it’s still totaled you can retain your car! In the vast majority of states an Insurance Company will let you keep your car/buy back your salvage. You will need to obtain a salvage title from the DMV, and your offer for your car will be reduced by the amount they would sell the salvage for. Each state has their own rules on this.

5) Or sell your car to the insurance company, and buy a spec.B bro. In this case you also are entitled to collect titling fees, and the sales tax on the value of your vehicle.

 

Things to consider:

1) You are not entitled to pain and suffering if you were not injured. If your car was parked when someone ran into it, and you weren’t in it, then no pain and suffering for you.

2) Call the police and get a police report (some police departments do not write reports unless there were injuries, or if the accident happens on private property like a parking lot if that’s the case then fine.) Insurance companies rely on these a lot.

3) Lying. You’re better off not saying anything at all. You are not required to answer any questions you don’t want to. Don’t lie.

4) Getting an attorney, your attorney does not collect a fee from you, they simply get 1/3 of your settlement. Your settlement is not going to change for your 3 doctor visits because you have an attorney. You will just keep 66% of what you were entitled to, keep that in mind. You may want to get an attorney if you were seriously hurt (broken bones, surgeries etc.) They’ll help in getting complete medical information to assist in evaluating the claim.

5) Property damage settlements and bodily injury settlements are separate.

6) “My friend got $50,000 and he didn’t even go to the doctor,” no one is moved by this type of argument, and you sound like an entitled jerk. Every claim is different.

7) Don’t buy insurance coverage for rentals. It’s expensive, and redundant if you have full coverage on your own vehicle. Your full coverage will apply to a rental most of the time. Check with your insurer before you rent, but 99% of policies will extend their coverage to a rental vehicle if it’s replacing a vehicle listed on your policy.

 

Hope this helps. Feel free to comment or PM if I forgot something or if you have questions.

 

Edit: Forgot to mention duty to mitigate. You have a duty to mitigate your damage. If your window is broken, you are required to prevent water from getting in your window. An insurer will not have a problem paying you for garbage bags and tape to cover up the window. They will not replace your interior. If your car is towed to an impound and collecting storage, you are required to assist in getting your vehicle removed so it stops accruing storage fees. If you can't get to work because your car is not drivable, call a cab and go to work. Save your receipts for the cab rides, and the insurer will pay for your cab rides to and from work. They will not pay your salary while you sit at home playing XBox because your car wasn't drive-able.

Edited by Dishwasher
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If the other guy's insurance company sends you a blank template of an accident report and asks you fill it in, tell them to get f'd and tell them to get a report from the police. GEICO is notorious for this behavior.

 

This is pretty normal. You can fill it out or not. Just know that what you put on there is admissible, so either be as vague as possible, or be specific and certain that what you’re saying can’t be used against you. Again, lying is bad, it’s better to not say anything.

 

Also it should be said that the police are human, and they do make mistakes.

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks so much for posting this.

 

I am dealing with all this crap right now thanks to some guy in a Ford Focus who rear-ended my 06 Spec B on the highway, pushing me into an SUV.

 

Valuation has come in ridiculously low. And, their comps are all standard Legacy models -- none the same. One 2.5i, one SE, one regular LGT Limited.

 

So...I am arguing and sharing info. Next is your supervisor recommendation. (Sigh)

 

In any case, I really appreciate this thread. Thanks to Max Capacity for sharing it:

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I don't know how I missed this thread before. My spouse works in insurance industry and I always had full coverage on all our vehicles, but I learned a lot from this thread.

 

Putting a motion to get this stickied.

2005 LGT Wagon Limited 6 MT RBP Stage 2 - 244K

2007 B9 Tribeca Limited DGM - 243K

SOLD - 2005 OB Limited 5 MT Silver - 245K

SOLD - 2010 OB 6 MT Silver - 205K

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I don't know how I missed this thread before. My spouse works in insurance industry and I always had full coverage on all our vehicles, but I learned a lot from this thread.

 

Putting a motion to get this stickied.

 

Ask and ye shall receive.

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I spoke with hagerty after I noticed the bottom line for shiny new aftermarket parts following my engine build.

 

The individual I spoke to said hagerty would only insure vehicles over a certain age, maybe high teens or 20 years. This was also at a historical racing event, so he may have been trying to keep a narrow focus in our conversation.

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Awesome thread! Thanks for the advice. My policy went up by about $25 a month, BUT I added 15K worth of parts to the car which they said they will cover in event of an accident. Hope I never have to find out, but its good to know.

 

Thanks for this!

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Awesome thread! Thanks for the advice. My policy went up by about $25 a month, BUT I added 15K worth of parts to the car which they said they will cover in event of an accident. Hope I never have to find out, but its good to know.

 

Thanks for this!

 

That's a small price to pay to protect your investment and the peace of mind that goes with that. Which insurance carrier did you go through?

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Geico does well by me and has for 10 years. The only time I went with a different company was when I had the 2014 Evo X, they wanted way too much for full coverage. Needless to say LGT is about 1/2 the price the Evo was.
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Just got my car trailer nailed this morning by a distracted driver. She called my insurance company while still parked on the side of the road. I called hers when I got home from work. I'll talk to mine on Tuesday (recorded my side of the phone call). I'll be talking to my attorney on Monday, more out of curiosity as the other driver represented they were going to an emergency while wearing their hospital badge (said she was an RN).

 

Still pissed about the whole thing. Felt so helpless as she just kept coming, didn't even slow down after hitting the trailer and damaging the side of her car.

 

 

On a LGT note, I'll be updating my policy to reflect the over-the-top mods on my wagon before driving it again.

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Just a quick note regarding using your own full coverage insurance in the event of an accident with a rental, I was told by a GEICO rep that if you use your own insurance wether or not the accident was your fault, even if your rental was hit while parked they file it as an at fault accident. Which can result in higher premiums.

 

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

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Just got my car trailer nailed this morning by a distracted driver. She called my insurance company while still parked on the side of the road. I called hers when I got home from work. I'll talk to mine on Tuesday (recorded my side of the phone call). I'll be talking to my attorney on Monday, more out of curiosity as the other driver represented they were going to an emergency while wearing their hospital badge (said she was an RN).

 

Still pissed about the whole thing. Felt so helpless as she just kept coming, didn't even slow down after hitting the trailer and damaging the side of her car.

 

 

On a LGT note, I'll be updating my policy to reflect the over-the-top mods on my wagon before driving it again.

 

That's truly unfortunate, feel free to pm me if you have any questions or concerns. Glad you're alright.

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Just a quick note regarding using your own full coverage insurance in the event of an accident with a rental, I was told by a GEICO rep that if you use your own insurance wether or not the accident was your fault, even if your rental was hit while parked they file it as an at fault accident. Which can result in higher premiums.

 

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

 

Filing a collision claim can result in higher premiums depending on how douchey your insurance company is. Typically you see it in the removal of the "safe driving" or "accident free" discount. Geico is one of the douchiest companies so that's not surprising.

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  • 1 month later...
Dish, you forgot the hit and run thing. Sheesh.

 

First, before I respond, I need to reiterate that I am not an attorney, and everything in this post is nothing more than a hilarious post for your entertainment. I am not able to provide legal advice, and nothing I say can be construed as legal advice.

 

Second, KRB you make a great point, and you have also opened an extremely boring can of worms. I gave a brief overview of it here:

 

UM/UIM, applies to bodily injuries to you, caused by someone else who doesn’t have insurance. It’s relatively inexpensive, but you’ll be glad it’s there. It’s mandatory in most states.

 

It's hard to give advice on UM/UIM since every policy is different and there are a lot of nuances to each policy. It's a contractual coverage, it's heavily regulated by State Insurance Departments, and therefore there was kind of a reason I didn't go into depth with it. That being said, I will do my best to provide a 10,000 foot perspective.

 

For the layman, UM/UIM (Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Insurance) covers you for injuries to you or people in your car in 4 distinct situations. Each situation assumes that you are not the at fault party for this accident.:

1) You are a victim of a Hit and run, someone hits you in your car, and then drives off. (some policies will cover you even if there is no contact between your car and the other vehicle, like if someone changes lanes, forces you off the road into a tree).

2) You are hit by someone that does not have auto liability bodily injury insurance, either because they never bought it, or because their insurance company is denying coverage for whatever reason (nonpayment of premium is a pretty common one, excluded driver is another, or their vehicle was stolen at the time of loss).

3) You are hit by someone that has auto liability bodily injury insurance, but it does not meet the state mandated minimum requirements. For example, in Missouri the minimum limits for liability policies are $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, if someone somehow purchases a policy that only provides $5,000 per person in liability coverage, then most policies will consider this person uninsured. This is pretty rare, not many companies sell below minimum limits insurance policies.

4) The person who hit you has auto liability insurance, but it's not enough to compensate you for your injuries. For example: the person who hit you has $25,000 per person liability limits, and they broke both of your ankles and your neck. The insurance company for the person that hit you is going to cut you a check for $25,000, and then they will close their file. You will try to find an attorney to sue the other person, but you will fail. The other person has no money, and no attorney is going to sue someone without money. Luckily, you read this thread, and purchased $250,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Your insurance company then takes over the claim, and cuts you a check for $250,000 to help you with your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Another example of this is that the person who hit you, also hit a bus with 30 people in it, The person has a $25,000 per person $50,000 per accident limit. Since all that insurance company has is $50,000 to pay claims with, odds are they will not be able to compensate you adequately for your injuries.

 

The other interesting thing about UM/UIM coverage, is that it follows the insured, not just the vehicle. So if you're on a bus, and you're hit by an uninsured person, it will still provide coverage for you. If you are a pedestrian, and you are struck by an uninsured driver, it will still provide UM coverage for you. At least that's with the policies that I've seen. Your policy may be different.

 

One important note, is that UM/UIM coverage does not apply to property damage to your vehicle. There is an Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage that exists (UMPD), but it's very uncommon.

Edited by Dishwasher
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