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Old 04-29-2010, 10:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Insurance companies suck! (Loss of use, etc.)

Hello everyone,

I'm having an argument with Nationwide, the company that insures the person who nailed my Lotus (story here: Twenty-four hours of Lotus ownership... help!). They initially were willing to pay a standard rental fee (or something slightly less in cash) but are now denying any liability for loss of use since I didn't actually rent a car.

This thing has dragged on for almost nine weeks, at least a week of that entirely due to Nationwide sitting on things. I know that other states have established policies regarding loss of use; this accident happened in Pennsylvania, so if you know anything about PA state law or policy related to loss of use, I'd love some of your wisdom.

Thanks to everyone for letting me ogle your cars during this whole mess.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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That is absolutely ridiculous.

I'm dealing with a similar issue right now but I haven't heard that excuse.

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Old 04-29-2010, 10:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Doesn't sound right to me. Just because you didn't rent a car doesn't mean anything.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Not defending the ins. company in any way, my own experience is that their business model is to pay the minimal amount of claims they possibly can. They will stonewall and deny until forced to do otherwise.

That said, when asking for loss of use some type of logic or reasoning needs to be used to arrive at a number. Either party can throw out an arbitrary number, but that's what they would be.

One way would be to say...from a use perspective, exactly how was your ability to use this car impacted? If you say I don't have anything to use to get to/from work, go shopping, go to the dr. or even go out to dinner...in other words I need a car in my life and now I don't have one...the empirical way would be to determine how much replacing that transportation would be. Either the total settlement if totalled or the cost of a rental if only during the time the car is being repaired.

If you say...well, I used my other car, so I didn't need to rent. Then, well, you don't have loss of use in a measurable sense. I don't know how you'd put a value on "I can't go to car shows, I can't go to cruise ins, I can't go to track days." I think that's another discussion, but not a loss of use issue.

Loss of use is your inconvenience by not having transportation while it is being repaired.

Diminished value...that's another animal. But I can SEE their reasoning, even if it is arguable.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Isnt nationwide currently involved in some kind of class action lawsuit about this very thing?
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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As I just had my truck stolen this past winter and was given a rental car during the time the truck settlement was being taken care of, I have to agree with this statement.

If you are not actually "out" a car, meaning you have another vehicle in which you own that you can commute in, then the insurance company does not have to pay you for the time period you "could" have used a rental car. My insurance company was great in the sense that they paid for my rental, up to $30 a day. I worked it out with my local rental car place and rented a car for $29.34, I never saw the cash difference because the insurance company didn't owe that to me as I needed the car and used the car the entire time. Had I not taken the rental, then I would not have recieved the cash for not using a car.

Logically it doesn't make sense to pay you for a car that is a "toy" and not your main source of transportation. Sorry, but I am in favor of the insurance company on this one, if this was your "toy." But if it is your main source of transportation, then you should have rented a car and gone with it. However realize that the car rental costs also go toward what happens to your vehicle.

Meaning, that if the insurance's total cost exceeds the value of your car, then they will just total car to save on their losses and give you what they feel the car is worth...unless you have an AMAZING insurance adjuster such as I did who did the shopping in my defense and got my family another $2000 for my stolen truck. Other than that, you are pretty much up a creek without a paddle, and the insurance company will be taking you for what it is worth...but DEFINATELY put a good fight, or you will lose. Good luck...by the way, I have Progressive, and they are DEFINATELY one of the best insurance companies I have been with, as I have been with them for over 9 years now, and have some REALLY nice breaks with them. In case you were wondering.

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Originally Posted by lotusforsale View Post
Not defending the ins. company in any way, my own experience is that their business model is to pay the minimal amount of claims they possibly can. They will stonewall and deny until forced to do otherwise.

That said, when asking for loss of use some type of logic or reasoning needs to be used to arrive at a number. Either party can throw out an arbitrary number, but that's what they would be.

One way would be to say...from a use perspective, exactly how was your ability to use this car impacted? If you say I don't have anything to use to get to/from work, go shopping, go to the dr. or even go out to dinner...in other words I need a car in my life and now I don't have one...the empirical way would be to determine how much replacing that transportation would be. Either the total settlement if totalled or the cost of a rental if only during the time the car is being repaired.

If you say...well, I used my other car, so I didn't need to rent. Then, well, you don't have loss of use in a measurable sense. I don't know how you'd put a value on "I can't go to car shows, I can't go to cruise ins, I can't go to track days." I think that's another discussion, but not a loss of use issue.

Loss of use is your inconvenience by not having transportation while it is being repaired.

Diminished value...that's another animal. But I can SEE their reasoning, even if it is arguable.
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Disclaimer - Haven't tried this don't know if it would fly!

Loss of use- in my little reality, that means loss of use of the car that was wrecked. I pay a premium on each of my cars, hence it should be covered regardless of if I own others.

In a case where a rental is not used, a possible option would be to place a daily value on the wrecked car. Such as take the monthly car payment and divide it by 30 to equal a daily amount. At least you would be reimbursed for the $$ you are paying on a car you can't drive.
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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When you are "damaged" in some manner you have a monetary loss which is provable. If you had to rent a car, that is a provable expense. If you were injured and had medical bills that is a provable expense. The fact that you were without a car and did not have to rent one proves you suffered no loss from the inability to use your car. That is the argument the insurance company will make. Your insurance company may be more generous and then they would subrogate against the other driver's insurance company. By not having your company reemburse you, you are avoiding your deductible (which is recoverable under subrogation assuming the other driver was completley at fault and had coverage). The problem doing it that way is you have to argue with an insurance company where you are not their customer. It is an uphill battle and you must be able to prove all of your damages. They will still look to nickel-and-dime you to death. Ultimately you can threaten to contact the Insurance Commisioner in your State and file a complaint. Insurance companies take those threats seriously, when they have to renew their license to operate in the State all of the complaints made against them can make things difficult. They would rather settle than have too many black marks against them. Good Luck.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Damage to Elise

Perhaps that neck is starting to hurt again?

I'd meet with someone from the company and outline every issue including loss of use of the car, loss of value (despite what I'm sure is a perfect repair), and your willingness to pursue this with complaints to the state insurance commission and anyone else you can leave them explaining themselves with.

They really should cough up something, as your losses are real.

Is the car back with you yet? Post a pic when it is.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I also side with the insurance on this one. When I was last in this situation it never occured to me to ask for cash as I considered the insurance to be providing a rental car as substitute transportation, not providing cash compensation for loss of use. Other than this issue, I hope everything works out for you.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for your input on both sides of the issue--it definitely is a bit gray. I didn't go into this trying to take the insurance company for every penny, but when they whine and moan about getting me home (car was 700 miles away when it was hit), about getting the car home, about loss of use (the Lotus is my only car), about diminished value... I mean, pretty much the only thing they aren't being totally awful about is the repair itself, and that's because PA law is very blunt about the repair shop being my choice.

They've also dishonestly tried to get me to sign releases that covered much more than was implied, and tried to pull the "this is a standard form and we can't agree to changes" BS when I called them out on it. What, you've never settled just one part of a claim before... like you SUGGESTED we do?

That on top of the delays (for example: the past WEEK was the dealer waiting for someone to come out and inspect a supplemental claim for a muffler bracket--turns out the adjuster was reassigned to another department and my claim was dropped on the floor) is really just leaving a sour taste in my mouth.

And never mind what I'm paying for the car itself--I'm 22 and a new driver... my insurance premium alone for the time the car's been out of service has been phenomenal. Loss of use would go a long way towards covering that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBH View Post
Perhaps that neck is starting to hurt again?

I'd meet with someone from the company and outline every issue including loss of use of the car, loss of value (despite what I'm sure is a perfect repair), and your willingness to pursue this with complaints to the state insurance commission and anyone else you can leave them explaining themselves with.

They really should cough up something, as your losses are real.

Is the car back with you yet? Post a pic when it is.
Solid advice, as always, JBH--I guess I'm going to do pretty much this. When I found out that the adjuster had just wandered off, I called and threw a fit; if they get an inspector out tomorrow afternoon like they said they would, I will probably have the car back early next week. My detailing kit and Nikon are standing by, so I'll grab some pictures ASAP! How's the Exige?

Then again, this is the third time I've heard "early next week," so...
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Exige great - need another Lotus on the road

The blue Exige is doing great. My first track outing could have been better (but it could have been much worse). This weekend's project is installing BOE's fuel surge tank and supplementary fuel system. After this I need to work on driving better! Off to Topeka in two weeks.

Ultimately the ins. co. holds most of the cards. Keep records, frame your arguments well and see if they'll throw you a few bones for your trouble.

I think you'll be delighted with the Red Elise once you spring it.
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think you'll be delighted with the Red Elise once you spring it.
That's really what I want in all of this... that beautiful car back on the road!
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:10 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I concur with insurance company suckage. I havent had a particularly bad experience but I cant focking stand paying premiums for years and years getting nothing back for any of it. I also cant stand deductibles. To even get a $500 dollar deductible requires a much higher premium and in the case of an accident you still gotta cough up $500 bucks out of pocket. Drives me NUTS.

Whats the point of insurance with high deductibles? Dont all those years of money I pissed away equal anything? Its maddening.

This comment will go against my capitalistic beliefs but I would prefer to see auto insurance be a NOT for profit industry or somehow cap your lifetime payment costs if you have no claims. Its like after 30 years of payments with no claims, you've given them 10's of thousands of dollars and received NOTHING for it. ARRGGGHHHH!
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:25 PM   #16 (permalink)
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This comment will go against my capitalistic beliefs but I would prefer to see auto insurance be a NOT for profit industry or somehow cap your lifetime payment costs if you have no claims. Its like after 30 years of payments with no claims, you've given them 10's of thousands of dollars and received NOTHING for it. ARRGGGHHHH!
In most states, the auto insurance is a fascist industry - cooperation between state and corporations to screw over individuals. You are forced to purchase their product at state gunpoint. At one point I looked into posting a bond rather than purchasing insurance here in Texas, but the required amount to post was several times the state minimum liability coverage (maybe $150,000 or so - I can't recall).

Every state that has passed a mandatory insurance law has done so on the claim that it will "lower insurance rates". Rates are not lowered, but the insurance companies sure get a lot more forced business. A**holes, every one of them.

So your capitalistic (or maybe "free market" is a better term) beliefs are still intact!
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:43 AM   #17 (permalink)
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A person backed into my truck causing damage to it and now after getting an estimate, the insurance company expects me to accept aftermarket parts from the body shop just so they don't have to pay for the prices of OEM parts. Why do they think they can do this. I had OEM parts to begin with and that's what I want. What can I do if they won't give me enough money to buy OEM parts because they only want to give me new aftermarket or used OEM parts and not new replacement OEM like what I'd like? They won't give me what the estimate was because it included new OEM parts. Insurance companies suck. Should I blow up at them and tell them they are luckey I don't claim injuries? Thanks for the help in advance.
Our best local body shop goes through this daily. They are "required" by the insurance company to use aftermarket parts for repairs. They dutifully obtain said aftermarket parts, put them on the car, photograph how they do not fit appropriately, send pictures to the insurance company, get approval for OEM parts that fit correctly and then proceed to place OEM parts on the car... all on the insurance company's dime...
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