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My 65 Electra was Hit! Now what?


Sled

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My 65 Electra conv. was hit, minorly by a motorcycle. Now comes the insurance company fight. Car was not appraised. Damaged front fender behind tire. Still ok to drive. Anyone with similar experiance? I had the car registered as an antique. Thanks for any input.<P>Jim

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Guest John Chapman

Who was at fault? If it was the m/c driver, then his insurance pays for the repairs. It doesn't sound like you have damage that would exceed the 'non-economically repairable' threshold. <P>Best bet is to contact your insurer and let them handle the claim... one of the things you pay them to do and it gets you out of the loop with the other driver.<P>Good luck!<P>JMC

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Make sure you get enough!!!!!! Dont settle and dont let his insurance company bully you.<P>A long time ago and I dont know how things are done now but - Two weeks after finishing one of my cars I was rearended at a red light by a drunk. First the Albany cop said he saw litte damage and it would probably go no fault so he was going to let it go! I said balony , my trunks up in the air my bumpers and rear valance panels shot and it made my rear quarter buckle. Then I have an appointment at his insurance companys appraisel department. Then the guy thinks hes going to go in the back alone with my car and remove the trunk panels and "check things out." Once again I said balony its my car if you want to take anything apart I can do it. Then he wants to insult me and says what the hell kind of car do you call this. So this was a bad day and the young me was holding his ground but it would get much uglier today. At any rate I thought I did alright with what I got to fix it but later realized it was no longer the same car. The trunk never lined up just right. Plus it was unblemished and now had bondo in it. The used bumper was not as good as the original. The rear quarter had plastic in it and the rear panel had to be put in and some rearward frame straightening. It was not the same car and we had to repaint the whole thing or risk obvious color differences. Not to mention my loss of work and travel for the estimate and the serious aggravation I was put through. It was not the same car and it was prior a real beauty of a restoration.<P>Today first I would see the old drunk straight to jail. Then I would have seen restitution for everything that was lost, not just what it would take to make it LOOK like it almost never happened.<P>Arm yourself with many estimates from body shops and insist that everything is considered if your rear quarter was good. Also is the paint going to match up? Whats that worth if you really need to repaint the whole thing to get it the way it was? They have the money - hell we all give it to them at a rate of about $150.00 per month per car.<P>Have no mercy - Good Luck!

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Some states have "No-fault" insurance and you end up dealing with your own insurance company. Don't know if that is the case here though.

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Thanks for your responses guys. The guy on the motorcycle was at fault. Because i have no collision ins, the other guys ins co is paying. They have to asses the damage. I was also told by friends and coworkers not to be bullied by the insurance company. I will keep you all informed and thanks again!<P>Jim

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Good information here, I have a question:<P>What is your recourse if the insurance company says "We're paying $X to fix your car, and that's it. Take it or leave it" <P>You surely don't want to total a repairable car, but with the high price of restoration parts the ins. company might not want to pay to repair it. What's the best way to fight this?<P>(I am glad this is a hypothetical question <BR> grin.gif" border="0 )

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Guest John Chapman

Baking...<P>If the other insurance company low balls the repair, there are two ready remidies:<P>1. If you have collision/comprehensive, let your insurance company handle the negotiations to get a fair settlement. Usually, your insurance company will pay to fix the damage and then bill the other company (less your deductible). The other insurance company usually reimburses you directly for your deductable and rental costs. Count on this taking the maximum time allowed by regulation in your state (180 days in CA).<P>2. If you're not carrying collision/comprehensive, then you'll have to resort to legal action if the other driver's insurance doesn't want to pay fair value. Keep good records of cost, condition, value, etc. Once you've built a case and take it to either small claims court or to an attorney to create a demand letter, the insurance company will get the idea that you're not going to roll over. At this point, they'll probably improve the settlement offer considerably.<P>As big of a PITA as dealing with insurance companies is, keep in mind their game plan for property settlements:<P>1. Deny Responsibility... at least until it is beyond a shawdow of doubt that their insured is at fault and they will be liable. They do this even when it is obvious that thier client was at fault. Inevitably some claims will roll over and die at this point.<P>2. Deny Coverage/Low Ball payment. They want to see how much that they can avoid paying. Some more claims will roll over and die at this point.<P>3. Avoid payment for as long as possible without getting into trouble with the responsible regulatory agency. Some more claims will give up in frustration.<P>4. When they are clearly on the hook for making you 'whole' they will move to avoid any extra cost (legal fees, court costs, rental expenses, penalties) in the settlement. This is where you have them if you are tenacious. Just remember that you have to be prepared and organized in presenting your case. Even more claims fall out at this point... it's just too hard for a lot of people to deal with, and the sums involved are typically not large enough to affect lifestyle, so they give up.<P><BR>Don't give up.<P>JMC

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Guest John Chapman

Scott,<P>I'm far from an insurance expert and the approaches will vary depending on the state insurance regulations. In general, you are allowed to choose your repair shop if the shop(s) that the insurance company uses aren't to your liking. To this end, I think full repair estimates from several repair shops specializing in older vehicles would be satisfactory to establish a repair cost.<P>The tough part of all this is removing the emotion from the equation. Obviously we get attached to our cars and there is a value to that which transcends economic definition. In the event that the vehicle is damaged beyond repair/destroyed, then replacement with a vehicle in like condition would set the value, assuming insurance coverage. In the event the vehicle is irreplacable at any cost, then the record-keeping and documentation would be crucial. There have been several discussions on documentation of vehicle value on this site. Obviously, this is best done preemptively.<P>JMC

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Dear John (sorry, it's just been so long since I've written a suicide letter) grin.gif" border="0<P>As always your replies are VERY straighforward and informative. I have an added question to pose. You say that if you have Comprehensive/Collision to let your Insurance Co handle it. Exactly what should you do when you do have Comprehensive/Collision to get a just amount to fix your ride? I mean, we are talking about cars that have no BlueBook and 90% of people say "Hrm, that's just an old car"..<P>I don't have vintage insurance, (21st Century actually), so is there anything else everyone with 'regular' insuramce might should know in the event of a catastrophy?<P>Never Giveup, Never Surrender!<P>Scott

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