Like A Good Neighbor…

I was in an accident two weeks ago. It was a pretty minor one, but I just got my car back today. I’m not blaming the body shop; it takes a while to get parts for a 2001 Volvo station wagon (bragging). And much of the damage was to the front end, so I had to wait for a new little headlight windshield wiper thingie (bragging again). Also the fender was a bit smashed, and the bumper was hanging off.

This is where it gets hairy.  Apparently the bodyshop, which is owned by a close family friend (I mention that to illustrate my level of trust in them), has to fill out an “estimate of prior damage” on parts that are being replaced.  Let me explain.  My bumper that was hanging off and in obvious need of replacement had some scrapes on its other side that were completely unrelated to the accident.  The scrapes had been there since I bought the car last year, and I obviously wasn’t planning to do anything about them.

Anyway, the bodyshop estimated the cost to fix those scrapes to be roughly $841.75.  Just a formality, I was assured by my friend at the bodyshop.  Just something he had to turn in to my insurance company — State Farm Insurance by the way — or risk getting his hand slapped.  I thought nothing of it.  I even forgot about it until I received a letter from State Farm stating that they were going to withhold $841.75 from the amount that they were going to pay the collision center to fix my car.  Plus my $500 deductible of course.

If I explained that right, then you should be as confused as I was.  Wait, so basically I am being billed $841.75 to “fix” the damage to my bumper before they replace it with a new one.  It didn’t make sense, I mean they have to replace the bumper anyway.  The bodyshop, the adjuster and I were all in agreement about that.  So what the fuck does it matter if it was scratched before.  I called my agent who really didn’t know what to tell me.  He knew about the “prior damage” estimate thing, and didn’t quite see it with the same level of incredulity that I did.  “Well you are getting a bumper that is now better than the one they are replacing.” 

$841.75 better apparently.

Another agent from his office suggested that I try to negotiate with their Claims Department.   Maybe they would cut the estimate in half, but he said he could see why they would have to withhold something.

I still didn’t.  Fuck them.

I called Claims, and explained how I received a letter from them regarding the “prior damage” to my bumper.  As I was revving up to start my rant, the representative asked calmly if he could call me back, stating that he wanted to have all the information in front of him and not handle this “on the fly.”  Surprised, I agreed.

I sat there stewing for about ten minutes before he called back. 

My original intent for this post, since I’ve lacked inspiration lately, was to rant about some of the suspect practices employed by Big Insurance, but I owe them my honesty, and when the representative called me back and immediately told me to disregard the letter and the $841.75, I figure I ought to tell that too, even if it is a relatively happy ending, and I don’t typically do happy endings very often.

That said, I wonder how many people don’t question stuff like that and get taken advantage of.  But hey, fuck them.  It didn’t happen to me.  Haha

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2 Responses to “Like A Good Neighbor…”

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