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How to deal with claims adjuster?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by rico_the_redneck, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. We were in an accident Friday (pictures below). The driver of the rig was ticketed for failure to yield the right of way and the cop told me the rig driver was at fault. This was our "new" car - a base (didn't even have a roof rack) 2005 Honda Odyssey. The wife was driving. I didn't see a thing. I was reading my new copy of "No Country for Old Men" after watching the movie twice (great movie!). I looked up at the last second to see a rig in my face. No one was hurt, including our 3 year-old son and the miniature dachshund! I drive a 10 year-old Ford Explorer. Of course, now the Honda is the shitter of the bunch and we'd like it to look like it did before this moron pulled into us.

    So, basically, the question I have is how do I avoid getting screwed by the trucking company's insurance co. adjuster ... whose job it is to screw me? I am told by relatives to demand OEM parts (it has Honda parts on it now, not aftermarket parts is the reasoning), replacement car seats and replacement seat belts at least for the three being used. I've also been told if I get several estimates from body shops, I can take the high estimate, get paid by the insurance company, go to the low estimate place and pocket the difference. We are in a rental minivan and my insurance company was great in walking me through what to do after the accident initially. They even called the other insurance co. and found out the trucking company had reported it and that I would be receiving a call from the trucker's insurance co. Monday. I've been Googling this stuff for hours and it's amazing how many damn lawyers there are with web sites. Not much good advice though without a consultation, presumably with me and the wife in neck braces! I don't need a lawyer. Just some sound advice on not getting ripped off, getting my Honda back in the condition it was in, and as an aside maybe making a little profit (that's obviously at the bottom of the concern list ... seriously). Which reminds me: What about diminished value? That's another thing my uncle said something about.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  2. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    A friend of mine has his car totaled in a similar accident. He made out well.

    I've always turned everything over to my insurance company, that way everything gets fixed quickly instead of having to wait around on the other company. I waited 8 months for the other guy's insurance company the last time.

    BTW: Thank goodness your family is OK.
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    First of all, glad you're OK...

    Secondly, you have to be a total hardass with the adjuster. They screw people over for a living and unless you become a total pain in their ass, they'll do the same thing to you...

    Insist that all repairs be done at the Honda dealer.

    Also, sue the shit out of the driver and the company he works for... Don't try to be a nice guy, because if you were at fault they'd be doing it to you... Think of your kid's future and hire a good attorney...
  4. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    First off, Rico, sorry about all this. These sagas aren't any fun.

    Secondly, either find a Kelley Blue Book or go to www.kbb.com and know what options are on your Odyssey and the mileage. Typically, the claims adjuster will go low in hopes that you're frustrated or pissed off and "just want to settle."


    Fight for the options that restore value to your vehicle. Make absolutely sure you get the claim for Honda parts for your vehicle (you'd be amazed how often the person who's not at fault in entitled to genuine replacement parts and doesn't get them because the body shops are squeezed by the insurance companies).

    One problem you'll run into, though, is diminished value. Your chances of getting anything here are poor (and if I'm wrong, good for you). Each of my parents were in accidents in which they weren't at fault. My stepfather didn't get anything for diminished value even though he was sideswiped in a sedan less than three years old ... the company fixed the $8,500 worth of damage and gave it back to him. My mother's machine was totaled, though her being armed with a Kelley Blue Book handcuffed the SOB that tried to offer her $3,000 less than the vehicle was worth.

    On a final note, if you have any idea of the reputation of the body shops, don't skimp too much on the repair. Given that the Odyssey is a front-wheel-drive van and your vehicle was hit in the front, it is critical that this repair be done well. The last thing you need is a vehicle crabbing down the road with you and your family.

    Good luck with getting this straightened out, Rico.
  5. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    They are not going to want to give it to you, but you can make them pay for the deprecation. It basically amounts to like 10% of the car's value.

    Basically, by law, you have to disclose if a car has been wrecked when you trade it in or sell it. People don't want wrecked cars. It was their fault, so make them pay for it.

    You can argue this point, and you'll probably HAVE to argue this point with the guy's insurance. If you call once, they'll blow you off. Don't let them. Call every other day for a week. Then the next week call every day.

    Make it a game. Do it right before you go to lunch. However you do it, just do it. Unless you just don't need about $2,500.

    Eventually it's worth it to them to shut you up.
  6. Diabeetus

    Diabeetus Active Member

    Wow. Glad you're OK after that. Good luck on getting things back in order.
  7. Thanks to everyone as far as advice. This has been a lot of help. My wife hasn't been in an accident in 14 years.

    The Honda Dealer suggestion is something I've thought about. That would pretty much guarantee Honda parts, which is priority No. 1.

    As far as suing them: Well, the wife's neck was bothering her a little later that day, we were both obviously emotional wrecks (my dad was killed by one of those big trucks nearly 24 years ago, so it definitely stirs things up for me) and my little boy didn't say anything the rest of the day. He saw everything. He was in the second row of seats right behind me when the truck pulled into us. We were a little worried he might have been adversely affected emotionally. Is that grounds to sue or is there something else I'm missing? Do I call the guy on the back of the phone book? The trucking company employees were laughing the whole time and the secretary at the place said real loudly that people "speed through here all the time." My wife was driving like 30 mph. If a truck is pulling out onto a road, he's got to make sure there's no traffic from either direction for as far as he can see because it takes them so long to get that thing out. Implying it was our fault and basically ignoring the fact that we had a little 3-year-old in the backseat really irked us. So suing them sounds like a nice idea if i have grounds.

    Also, I read some stuff on the Internet about OEM vs aftermarket and the whole "diminished value" question but none of the info was conclusive. Am I entitled to OEM parts and diminished value damages? Some of those web sites said I'm entitled to 2005 Odyssey that's been driven 55,000 miles, which means aftermarket is OK because OEM would be giving me something nicer than what I had before. I disagree, but that may be what I hear from the adjuster.

    I totally get the idea of diminished value and I THINK I am entitled to it. Honda's are known for their re-sale value. But obviously in the day of carfax, nobody's going to want to buy a used Odyssey that's been hit by a mac truck ... at least not without a big discount. I bought the Odyssey for my wife to drive our two kids around in because of its safety features. Whoever said going cheap might make the van less safe, along with Mizzou, have convinced me a dealer might be the best bet for fixing it.

    If the adjuster is a complete dick and balks at OEM parts, diminished value damages and the other little things (new front tires since the passenger front tire is fused with the body of the Honda, car seats, seatbelt replacement), what can I do? Lawsuit? Or do I do what sportschick suggested, turn it in on my insurance and let the insurance companies hash it out (which unfortunately I guess means paying my $500 deductible at a bad time financially for us).
  8. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    Hey Rico glad to hear all is OK.

    A couple years ago, we had a peacock peck away at the bumpers on our van outside the zoo in Springfield, Mo. The insurance company tried to play hardball at first, saying shit like, "Well, those peacocks aren't necessarily the zoo's. They could be the park's"

    So I asked, "OK, do you guys inusre the park also?"

    "Um, yes. Why?"

    "Because one way or the other, you guys are writing me a check to fix my bumpers."

    Insurance folks are smooth people. They know how to talk and they know what to say. Don't buy their bullshit. I would get at least two estimates - preferably at least one from a Honda dealer - and go from there. The truck's insurance company should be thanking its lucky stars that you, your wife, your kid or pooch wasn't hurt. Then they'd be out hundreds of thousands if not millions.
  9. Luckily you have witnesses of sterling character and impeccable reputation on this board to vouch for you.
    Make the bastards pay.
  10. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    Seconded. That way, all you have to do is call your company for updates. You'll be dealing with someone you (hopefully) know, who also knows about your claim. That's what you pay (incredibly high) insurance premiums for, so the company steps in and takes care of the situation.

    Don't be afraid to speak up for what you want, particularly since the truck driver was at fault. But there's no reason for you to have to start arguing with the trucking company's insurance.

    Also, the law allows you to have the repairs done in the body shop of your choice. (That's what I was told when I cracked up my car, but it may be a state-by-state issue.) The insurance company has a list of places they "prefer," which they trust to issue estimates and then pay directly. But that doesn't mean you have to use one of them. Hold out for a dealership or mechanic you trust, and fill out whatever paperwork is necessary for the trucking company to pay that shop directly.

    Waiting for your car to be fixed will be difficult, but at least you've already got a rental. Be sure to give your family extra hugs to help heal.
  11. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    If the accident is clearly the other person's fault - and this appears to be the case - you will pay the deductable to get it fixed if the car is not totalled. Then you should get reimbursed for the deductable because the accident is not your fault.

    As far as dealing with a claims adjuster, they may try to push you around but don't forget one thing - they have to explain to their bosses why a case isn't closed. They aren't all that slick - a lot of them are people whom the insurance companies go thru and they are underpaid. Don't forget also that insurance companies are regulated by one degree or another by the state.

    A story: my sister was in an accident where her older car was pretty much wrecked and useless - this was probably about 25 years ago. They gave her an offer which was less than total value. My brother, who had one of those lousy jobs at an insurance company in the claims adjustment department before getting a job as a probation officer, called the adjust up and pretty much said, "Look, I worked for an insurance company and I know what's going on." We got what we wanted two minutes later.
  12. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    as a lawyer i can tell you that if you sue for your wife's neck injuries, expect to be in litigation for years. also, keep in mind that the notion that a big company will settle - i'm assuming the rig driver is a trucker for a big company but maybe he isn't - just to get you out of the way is usually a fallacy. they will probably fight it for a long, long time.

    that said, if she's injured, by all means, sue their asses.

    to wade through all the crap out there from personal injury lawyers, ask friends, relatives, coworkers and neighbors for recommendations. don't automatically hire the bottom-feeders who advertise on late night TV or on the back of the phone book.
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