Insurance Wars: Home Edition

KaJuN

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As some of you may know I utterly hate insurance companies to no end. Now they've struck close to home. My brother is living in California and the car is still registered in Ohio. Recently some damage was done to his car. He came out one day, discovered the damage, and called the police. When they arrived they didn't believe him when he said he didn't know how it happened. Rear-seat cruiser questioning ensued. The body shop believes it was caused by vandalism. So begins the process of using the full coverage insurance policy to get it repaired.

Well easier said than done. The insurance company (State Farm) has decided it wasn't caused by vandalism and they won't honor their policy. My brother now has to pay out of pocket.

My issue is this: since State Farm decided the damage wasn't caused by vandalism then it had to have been caused by an accident which should be covered by the policy. So I call upon the wisdom of Finalgear as to what to do to get the insurance company to hold up their end of the deal.

Here's the said damage:
 

Twerp128

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I have State Farm and love them, but a good friend of the family owns a body shop and say Auto Owners is by far the best insurance out there, never a hassle. I imagine it varies region to region though. Either way your gonna have to bend over to someone. . .
 

Evel

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Have you/your brother presented your argument to State Farm? If not, do that and see what they have to say in return.
 

Steve Levin

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My issue is this: since State Farm decided the damage wasn't caused by vandalism then it had to have been caused by an accident which should be covered by the policy
I think what State Farm has actually said is "we think you did it yourself, but we're not going to press fraud charges if you just let the issue drop."

From where they stand, they agree with the body shop that the car was vandalized. They are just going with the police assessment that it was your brother that did the vandalism. I'm assuming that is what the police report says. I've had my car broken into twice over the years, and my house robbed once, and I have NEVER been questioned in the back of a police cruiser. Even when it was clear in the case of the house that well past $25,000 in electronics and camera gear had been stolen.

*That* is the hurdle he has to overcome.

Your beef should be with the police that didn't believe him, not the insurance company.

Steve
 
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2Billion

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I know a guy who had the insurance company accuse him of torching his own truck. Even after he got the police on side it was an ordeal to get the pay out. Not State Farm though.

Also, it looks like someone got their ass kicked on the van.
 

ninjacoco

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What the crap?! It has a giant baseball bat-like smash on the windshield...how is that NOT vandalism?!

I had a sort of similar issue with my car when the rear-view mirror got sheared off. Looked like a lawnmower or golf cart accident (green stripes where it was hit...on the curb side of the car! *facepalm*). Waco Police claimed I was in Baylor's jurisdiction and wouldn't write a report. Baylor Police claimed it was Waco's jurisdiction since the car was barely off campus when it was parked and wouldn't write a report because they are the most worthless group of individuals on the planet said they "didn't see it happen." Aughhh.

Mine was ruled a hit-and-run accident by State Farm. I had to pay $250? and the rest was covered. Without a report, I was just glad they paid for something. (My previous car got totalled in Waco, too...and none of the THREE cop cars that showed up to the scene of the accident would write a report then, either!)

Do you think the odd cop questioning bit might have influenced their decision? Part of me thinks going on the offensive like that towards a guy reporting vandalism is a MASSIVE abuse of authority and I'd want to see their report (if possible) on the matter to check to see if it was done fairly or if it includes nonsense about how they think your brother might've been lying or something.

If the insurance company thinks your brother did the damage himself for the cash, they're gonna get nasty. He needs to call them, explain his side of the story, and see that police report ASAP. If there's anything false in that report, he may want to even consult a lawyer. And if the insurance guys are still being a boobs about it, switch agents. He should take his business to a guy who'll work with him a little better. I've never had that much trouble with State Farm, despite some of the dumb accidents my car's been in.
 
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LeVeL

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This is why I hate insurance companies. I'd be better off saving the ~$2500 that I give them every year and just saving that money to fix my car if I ever get into an accident. Of course there is always the issue of someone hitting me and refusing to pay or me hitting another car and having to pay and all that, but the fact remains that insurance companies rob and cheat people. Fuck em!
 

British_Rover

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Switch to USAA?
Uh yeah do this as soon as you can. I have had USAA for over 12 years now for all my insurance. If you qualify for them then no reason not to use them. Better rated then almost anyone and best service I ever had. You call them and get a real person everytime within 5 minutes or less on average and that real person speaks English. Well almost all their call centers are in Texas so sometimes they have a bit of an accent but I never had a problem understanding them.

I agree with steve you have to get over the police report. Call the police again ask to speak with a supervisor if you can. Maybe the cops were just being dicks cause the car is registered in Ohio or something.
 

brydie76

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Is there any way you can legally request a copy of the police report? If so, get a copy and then have a close look. If there is anything you don't agree with, talk to a supervisor/commissioner (we have those over here, they are not connected to any specific "branch" of officers and they help resolve disputes between individuals and the police in relation to reports and such) to try and get a new report written up/the current one advised. And ask the insurance company for a specific statement of what they believe the cause of the damage is (do this after getting the police report). If it says vandalism by the owner and the report agrees, try to get the report fixed up then present it. If the report disagrees, present the company eith this and state that they have no compelling evidence )other than their own "intuition") to make such an assertion and that they should perhaps re-read the police statement. And don't worry about disagreeing with the cops, if you are dplomatic and quiet about approaching a supervisor (not the cops involved) and make it sound like a "lack of understanding from both parties that may need to be cleared up by a third party", you shouldn't cause any issues. It's kind of like doctors, if you disagree, you are (somewhat) entitled to a second opinion (but you have to be careful about how you go about it!)

And if a lot of family members/friends have insurance with them/have community connections (eg work in a job where they know a lot of people and can spread the word- eg law enforcement, services like hairdressing, etc), emphasise your strong customer loyalty to them and how you would hate this loyalty to falter and how stories of bad customer service can travel quickly (obviously do this in a very subtle way, we did this with our old mobile phone company a few years ago and we got a great deal as they really wanted to keep our business- over 8 personal and business phone accounts! They lost it a little while ago though)
 

KaJuN

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Thanks for the input so far everyone. I've relayed the info onto my brother so hopefully the ball gets rolling. I've also suggested to him and my parents to switch insurance companies ASAP.

Something is telling me that since the car is registered in Ohio and this happened in California that somebody, either the police or State Farm, doesn't want to deal with the different jurisdictions. It doesn't help that the actions of both parties seem a little unorthodox. This happened in not the best of neighborhoods so that might explain why the police were so, erm, cautious.
 
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