Dealing with Car Insurance Claim

chisueOctober 21, 2012

At noon Saturday my DH called me at home. He'd been broadsided at a 3-way stop in the center of our town. He was entering the intersection from the non-stop side. A 17-year-old evidently didn't realize this was not a 4-way stop and hit our car just behind the driver's side door. She wasn't going fast -- had just accelerated from her stop, but the side of our car is a 'piece of sculpture' -- the reverse-print of her SUV.

I called the police to the scene and hitched a ride into town (3-minutes).DH had the police report. I had notified State Farm, where the agent said it would be a while until their claim would be official. I climbed over the car's console from the passenger side and drove DH to the ER. Nothing broken; big swelling on his left side below the shoulder blade. He's sore this morning.

We got home after 5 p.m. I called State Farm again to get the claim number. They said I could choose my own body shop or go to one they work with -- gave me three names in our area. I failed to ask about a loaner. I'm uncomfortable driving our car and I can't lock it because the driver's side door is jammed slightly open. This morning I emailed our local agent, asking about a loaner and recommendations on repair shops. I said I would want the car checked by a Jaguar dealer before considering it 'repaired'. I'd prefer that someone tow our car in for repairs if it has to go far. Nearest Jaguar dealer is 25 miles away in Chicago.

Any advice on what to expect next? Our 2005 Jaguar X-Type has 22K miles on it. We bought it from a dealer with 2700 miles. says book value is about $10,500. My online search finds only three Jaguar X-Types with under 30K miles -- none of them a VDP, fully loaded. Two are 2005's and one is a 2007. (I'm wondering if State Farm is going to want to pay for repairs, offer us cash to go buy another car, or try to replace ours with 'same'.)

I'm glad DH is not badly hurt, and I think the car can be repaired, but I am a bit 'rattled'. It's been many years since we had to deal with an accident or a claim.

Thanks for 'listening'!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Please, please, PLEASE.

Stop. Stop dealing with the insurance company yourself--and turn this over to your lawyer. This is NOT something you want to be handling on your own.

When dd was rear-ended by a State Farm insured driver, we immediately called our lawyer, he handled all the negociations for us--remember NEITHER insurance company really wants you to get any money, and neither wants to deal with the hassle of a claim. So you need representation who is going take care of those things for you. Because we had our lawyer doing everything for use, State Farm, by the next day, had hired DD a rental (how they did that, I don't know--she was under 25 at the time), within a week, her car had been totalled and we had a very generous check for it.

Now, the other thing? Injury. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance, that evening, checked over from head to toe, and was fine. Within 2 weeks, she developed a herniated disk, has had to have a lot of medical tests and treatments, and will have pain the rest of her life. Your husband needs to be extremely aware of anything going on with his body and get it checked as quickly as possible. In DD's case, our lawyer negociated and got all her medical bills paid, as well as a nice settlement for future pain and treatment.

You're dealing with a very expensive claim from the sounds of things, when you add up the damage to the car and your husband's actual, and potential medical bills. Dealing with the insurance company will be a daily headache for months to come. Let your attorney do his job and give yourselves the peace to sleep at nights knowing you don't have to fight with everyone to get what you're entitled to.

Hang in there, and you will get past this. Such a pain, though, isn't it?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm just glad nobody got seriously hurt. Cars can be repaired. People, not always.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My dh went through something very similar about three years ago, though he was hit by a drunk driver being pursued by police from two different jurisdictions. He was making a left onto a smaller street near out house and the driver was coming from the opposite direction onto the same street, taking his right turn waaaaay too fast. Dh was broadsided on the right, and pulled over. It is the ONLY time I ignored my phones because I was having a heart-to-heart with a friend at the time, and none of our 3 kids picked up either, which was quite unusual. When he tried me again I managed to pick-up then high-tailed it down the street to where he was pulled over. A very kind woman was sitting with him until I got there and the police did very little. He went to be checked out (I forgot whether it was that day or the next,) and nothing seemed to be amiss though of course he was very sore. We also have State Farm who gave us a choice of body shops; we chose one we'd heard good things about. So far, dh and car seem to be ok, though we had trouble with a window on that side a year later. They kept the case open for a year (or was it two?) and of course the driver didn't have insurance. We did not need a lawyer for this and dh didn't sign anything for a least a year.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My experience with State Farm has been very positive over the past year with both hubs and daughter filing claims. We have never had a problem with them (knock on wood). Hope everything goes well for you and glad your husband is okay!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was involved in an accident that was caused by another driver, there were no personal injuries. I notified my insurance company & obtained a copy of the police report and forwarded the report to my insurance. They notified the other drivers insurance who contacted me directly. Now- if I had collision coverage I would have been able to take the truck to the auto body shop (of my choice) and had it repaired under the collision coverage. Then my insurance would have gone after the other company for compensation. However, in my case, I brought the truck to the auto body shop for an appointment with the other drivers insurance adjuster- they reviewed the truck. Later I was contacted with a settlement. We negotiated a bit and they sent me a check. I made arrangements to have the truck repaired. I could have arranged for a loaner during the repair period, but was able to use my husband's car for the time being.

It took me about three months to get everything resolved because the other driver was not returning the calls to her insurance carrier.

If there were injuries then I would definitely contacted an attorney just to ensure that you are covered for injuries and any long term effects.

I hope your husband feels better soon.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 12:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all for your input.

So far, I am not impressed with State Farm's service. I thought a huge company like this would have 24/7 *help*, not just someone answering the phone in Bloomington. Their claims office closed Saturday at 5 p.m. and will reopen Monday morning. No one can/will advise me about a rental/loner or answer any questions until then. (Heck, the agency we employ to look after guests at our condo is on call 24/7 and will FIX a problem within a few hours of hearing about it!)

Azzalea -- We don't have an attorney on retainer. I'm guessing we'd rack up some expensive hours if we hire someone to deal with this. (I *would* if DH was badly injured or the claim was because our home had been badly damaged.)

I'm not sure if the lag is because the local agent here is such a dog, or if it's just 'routine' lack of response.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 1:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Immediately notify your agent whose number is on your insurance card, not the head office.
You can also file a claim right now online at
I've had a fine experience with SF for many years.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We've had Statefarm for years also. They've been nothing but good to us.

As far as loaner goes, unless it's part of your coverage (read your policy), or the repair shop has one, it's not covered.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

But you do have a family lawyer, don't you? You can't get through life without one--wills, buying a home, settling a parent's estate--we all have need of one from time to time. This is one of those times, believe me.

Most attorney's will give you at least a half hour free, to discuss the situation, and offer options. Ours didn't charge us anything out of pocket, his fee came out of DD's settlement. And believe me, he was worth every penny--we 'people on the street' don't realize everything we're entitled to in these situations, nor do we generally know the ins and outs of getting it.

And you don't know at this point (we certainly didn't days into the process) that your husband ISN'T seriously injured--often serious injuries from auto accidents don't show up for weeks. I am certainly NOT wishing that on you, but you're far better off with representation than without if something like that crops up.

Obviously, you have to do what you think is best, but you're already saying you're having trouble getting through to the insurance company--you're in a prime position already to be needing one right now. Please, rethink and give your lawyer a call--it's generally cheaper to have your lawyer handle things from the start than to wait until things are muddled up and he's got a mess to untangle for you.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thing one has to remember when dealing with insurance companies-----they are here to MAKE $$$$$$ and pay out as little as possible!!! Ensure you do your homework on what ur Car is worth, AND everything else!!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Azzalea -- I hear you, but we have had no need for a lawyer for years, not since we sold one house and built and took title to our present home. Our DIL's DF and eldest DSis are both attorneys, but I wouldn't want to bother them unnecessarily. (You know, the 'in-laws' thing.) I'll see how it unfolds tomorrow with State Farm. If there's any hint of trouble...before we *sign* anything...

It does look to me as though our policy entitles us to a rental car -- part of the Comprehensive or Collision coverage. We have a small $250 deductible. DH is a National member; their partner, Enterprise, has a location 3 miles from us. Fortunately DH is feeling good, and we don't need a car until sometime tomorrow.

It IS a comfort to have the 'ears' of so many nice KT members.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If I needed an attorney to deal with my own insurance company, I would change companies. I have never needed an attorney to buy or sell a house or to get divorced. When I totaled my truck a few years ago because I spun out on black ice, my insurance did right by me. My agent has his home phone listed in the phone book with his company phone. I have Farm Bureau insurance, which came highly recommended by my real estate agent when I moved here and bought a house.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 7:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you called the guilty parties insurance company? They're the one that will be dictating if you get a rental car, where to repair it, and if the damage estimate is more than the cars value, they will total it. adjusters don't care if a lawyer is calling them or the involved parties. It's all the same to them. Really.

And...the guy who sells you the policy is NOT a claims adjuster. He is "not" handling the claim. He does have a vested interest in your being happy with how the claim is handled, but it's too early to know the outcome.

I'm sorry you had your beautiful...almost new Jaguar involved in an accident.

I hope they repair it for you. But if it is totalled....they give you a cash settlement with the option of buying the car back from them. Then you take the cash and either repair the car yourself and get a totalled title so you can register it....or go shopping...on your own to purchase any vehicle of your choice...or keep the cash and buy nothing.

Note: I've got a will & a living will. Had all my family pass away, each of them had a will and I have never involved a lawyer for anything.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

May a bit different---I had a brand new 2000 Acura Integra--paid extra for full replacement insurance. 2 weeks into my brand new car--I got rear ended by a kid that fell asleep at the wheel (so the cops said) I was totally not at fault! My Integra worth almost $30,000 was a mess! I had to fight to get it written off---as I had full replacement insurance!! If the insurance company could have gotten it fixed for $20,000--thats a $10,000 savings for them!! They don't care about you! In the end I got a cheque back on what I paid for it--But I had to pay for it.

Wife had her ring stolen!! It was appraised for soo much! Again had to fight to get its value---even when we had 2 stores saying yes, thats what it would cost to make!

So do some research and stick to your guns!! I did it all without lawyers!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unless there's structural damage my guess is that the car will be repairable. You should be able to choose any shop your comfortable with and you will also be able to choose to have new parts versus reconditioned parts. That should be right in your policy. Your health insurance company will go after your auto policy to get the maximum paid out so they don't have to. If at anytime your not happy with the progress of your claim then by all means, call your agent. That's what they are there for to work as your advocate. I am surpised that there wasn't 24 hour claim service available to you.
You'll end up paying your deductible until State Farm is able to go after the offenders company and determine fault. That is done with official police reports, not the vehicle motorist report you may have obtained at the scene. They will also need to contact all the parties involved and witness' if there were any. Once that is all complete they will subrigate for the money they've put out and your deductible. Generally 3-6 months before you get that back. Your other option is to call the at fault persons insurance company directly and file a claim against that person, you avoid your deductible but have no one to act as your representative, that can get dicey and problems can arise.
If you have rental car coverage on your own policy you should be able to get a car and if you have towing that should all be covered as well. However, you will want to speak with your claim rep to confirm that additional towing charges will be covered. Some companies will cover the initial tow to get the vehicle out of the area asap. Watch for the tow company storage charges as well. Make sure those are covered.
You should also check to see if State Farm has claim satisfaction guarantee.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have had State Farm for about 25 years, for all our insurance needs as far as properties and cars. There has been some issues over the years with rental properties we own, and it always have been handled to our total satisfaction. A few years ago we were involved in two different, rather major damage to the cars, accidents. Neither was our fault, and the other drivers never contested that fact. State Farm took care of everything beautifully and in a timely fashion. Both times we were given loaner cars. Never needed to even think about hiring attorneys.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The only 'person' I was able to talk to this morning was the State Farm auto claims representative -- part of a 'team' handling my claim. I'm waiting calls back from the State Farm medical claims representative, the Jaguar dealership, and the Great Northern company (insurance listed on the police report by the 17-yr-old driver -- seems to be a brokerage, not the actual insurer).

The State Farm auto claims rep says we'd have to pay our $250 deductible and car rental costs if we claim through State Farm. If we claim through the other driver's company, THEY should pay everything. Our DS recently had this experience. He's with State Farm. The driver who caused his accident was with Geico. Geico handled everything and were very generous in the check they gave him; were happy he wasn't suing. They paid medical ER bills on our DGS, who was a passenger with our DS. They paid body work and repairs. They paid for a rental car while DS's car was being repaired. They paid a 'sweetener' -- just 'because'.

Why do I think my eventual call back from 'Great Northern' will not be that nice? Because I was on hold for 20 minutes and eventually left my name and number? Because Ms. Seventeen's father is a lawyer?

I've also asked our PD if the other driver was ticketed; supposedly only the officer at the scene can tell me that. ???

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A ticket should be public record, but contact the officer who was at the scene. I imagine it could be that it's not public data until they either admit guilt and pay the fine or go to court. Did you get a copy of the police report yet? If so, it should have the insurance company and policy number of all drivers, including other info. Often it will say whether a ticket was issued but it's usually not a big deal to call the officer. It might take a few days to get back to you. Oh, wait, I see you did get the report. Whether a ticket was issued really won't make a lot of difference though as far as repairing the vehicle. Being on the road automatically makes the driver partly to blame. Just depends on how much. Around here, 20%-30% is pretty common.

I don't keep an attorney on hand. I know of some I would use for certain things but they also charge $200-$600 or more per hour. I've represented myself in court 3 times and won every time. If you have a serious injury, yes, I'd say consult a lawyer, but if you're going to have one represent you on negotiating for a car repair... SHEESH! You *really* want to pay $400+ per hour to have him/her talk on the phone and write some letters, then relay to you? I sure wouldn't! LOL I highly doubt you'll stand a chance of being reimbursed for legal fees for negotiating a car repair!

The insurance company is under no obligation to buy you a new car unless you have special coverage. They go by the insurance rate books for book value on a vehicle. And no, things like new tires, a new battery, etc will not increase the value as some people think it should. Low mileage will raise value and good condition but often an old car in excellent shape isn't going to be worth what the owners usually think it should be. And in fairness to the insurance company, it shouldn't unless everyone is ready to pay more for their insurance. So if book value is $10k and the damage approaches it, they'll probably total it and ink you a check. If it's under that, they'll pay for the repair. And if you choose to not repair the vehicle they can deduct a portion, something like 25%-30% as I recall. Now keep in mind laws vary from state to state so asking legal advice online is a precarious thing to do. You will need to do your homework.

Also keep in mind that most of the adjusters have more than one person they're dealing with so they might not be available to you at every moment you want them. Questions and the like can be routed through your agent. That's what they get paid for. They certainly should be able to tell you a time frame for things and whether the delays are normal or not.

Sometimes it can be a good thing to have it totaled, buy it back and fix it. However it depends on what they can get for salvage value too. And occasionally they have people lined up to get insurance recoveries so it can up the price of it. I negotiated my one settlement as $___ plus I keep the vehicle. Although that was an old car and they really didn't want it anyway.

It's a stressful time. Keep your head. Keep calm. Things will work out.

BTW, Great Northern Insurance Agency in Chicago is an insurance broker so they handle several companies. This is neither good nor bad. I used to be with a broker. I liked the idea of several options since my agent would regularly check which company had better rates for me and would switch me around. Now with a single company, I have to do the checking. Anyway, it should be easy enough to do a little homework from the info you have to determine if it's this agency or if there's an insurance company called Great Northern.

If you want to do more legwork, then deal directly with the other insurance company. If you want to let your company do the work, let them. You might get a better settlement if you represent yourself but you'll trade off time and frustration, plus you'll be going up against a "professional" most likely so do you feel confident? As long as you understand the assignments of blame and the like and understand and research values, etc, you could do OK.

There's truth to the statement that insurance companies want to settle for as little as they can, but there's another factor few people understand. The quicker they can settle it, the less it costs them in some ways too so if they spend a few more dollars to get a quick settlement, it's to their benefit. This is why insurance companies settle rather quickly with each other even taking a bit less. Close the file and move on.

Have you had a chance to get an estimate on it yet? That should give you more info on deciding how you want to approach it.

Naturally all caveats and disclaimers apply since my experiences are with Minnesota laws, not Illinois.

Around here, replacement coverage only applies on Homeowners policies. With a new car, certainly it's going to be different and they'd be more amenable to totaling a 3 week old vehicle since the reclaim value on that car would be quite high. Fix it and sell it. I had an uncle in the auto parts business for a lot of years and he bought totals, fixed and sold them, among other things.

Good luck. Try not to let it bug you too much. As long as nobody was seriously hurt, the car is a small thing in the grand scheme of life.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 6:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had a run-in with a deer one night and messed up the left front of my car. To top it off, I had braked hard enough to nearly miss the deer, but hit it in the hind quarter. On impact, the body of the deer swung around and the head end smacked the driver's door - messed up the door as well and added to the cost of repair.

I had State Farm for insurance. I had the choice of using a repair shop of my choice or use the one they recommended and had doen business with in the past. I got one extimate for a shop I was familar with and then went to my insurance agent's recommednation. The agent's recommendation estimate was much higher, but their work seemed to be quality and they included items missed by the other shop. I went with the agent's recommendation and was completely satisfied with the work. They took out some small dents on the hood, replaced the headlight assembly and fender, and re-skinned the door. They perfectly matched the paint color and repainted a quarter of the car and added clear coat over the finished work. It has been 8 years since they did the work and you can not tell it was ever worked on. It was a super job.

After contacting the shop, they were able to start the job about 1 week later and finshed the work in 5 working days. One day was spent in drying and setting the new paint. I had a second vehicle and did not need a loaner, but a loaner was available.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The continuing Stooorry:

Monday afternoon our Jaguar dealer in Chicago sent a tow truck to pick up our car. I should hear the repair estimate today.

We went to Enterprise in the next town and rented a car for a week -- will probably be much longer.

I called our local agent who gave me some lame story about not receiving my email from 8 a.m. Sunday. She confirmed that Great Northern is a broker. She said *she* would try to reach someone there.

This morning the State Farm Auto Claims Medical Claims person called to tell me that the ER bills should go to State Farm. He told ME to call the hospital billing department to be sure that was happening. I was pretty sure they were billing Medicare and our supplemental, Aetna. Oh, no! Then he would have to deal with Medicare to straighten this out!

I called hospital billing. Yes, they were going to bill Medicare and Aetna. They agreed to change billing to State Farm, but had no billing address for State Farm. I called our local agent for the address and to ask if they'd reached Great Northern". They called back with the address and said the agent from yesterday left no note that she had reached Great Northern, but "she'll be back in the office Wednesday". I called the hospital with the correct billing address and FAX number. My work for the State Farm Auto Claims Medical Claims person is *complete* -- for now. (sigh)

I called Great Northern again. Had to leave my name and number -- again.

I have not heard back from Officer DeSuza about whether he ticketed Ms. Seventeen.

DH has driven our ugly boat of a rental car to a lecture in Evanston. I am charting my 'billable hours'.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

gads glad we have triple aaa...was rear ended..took the police report with me and headed to the local dealer that handle body work for aaa...if you use a dealer under their office, all repairs have a life time coverage, and boy did that come in handy, when a tree took out my windshield...had to take it back (no charge) more than once...

michigan is a no-fault ins state....

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

chisue..wondering if the ins for state farm may be up to their ears in claims fron "sandy" in nyc??? they maybe on computer overload...

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not done yet, folks.

Our accident was Oct. 20. We decided to deal with the at-fault driver's insurance, which is Chubb Group. They have one adjuster for auto and one for medical. Their auto adjuster approved a first estimate of $7K in body work and approved another $1K for damage to the door pillar and rocker panel.

I called the body shop Nov. 19 to check progress. They'd delivered our car back to Jaguar Nov. 16. I called Jaguar's body shop person -- to learn he is on vacation this week. He had left a message that he'd driven the car and OK'd it, but they had not called me to say it was ready.

I wanted some assurance it was really OK. The service manager called me Nov . 20 to say it was indeed ready to be picked up. I also asked to have their used cars manager give me an estimate of values, before the accident and now.

Yesterday I heard back that the dealer would have offered $12K before the accident and repair, and now would offer $11K. A different local Jaguar dealer is asking $23K for a similar 2005 low mileage X-Type with no VDP or Sports package. (Of course they will take less.) We are to get the car Friday -- and return the Enterprise rental.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:30AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Survivor last night-(spoilers if you haven't watched)
I was so scared my little Joe would be gone. Phew!!!...
Advice: Would this bother you?
I was involved in a car accident a few weeks ago. ...
Book of the Week
Creatures of the rock : a veterinarian’s adventures...
Your Easter menu
Need ideas for a special Easter menu. Don't generally...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™