Sunday, February 22, 2009

Insurance nightmare: Not over yet!

Per my updated Insurance Nightmare post, a few things have made me think since this past week.

The rack and pinion in my car is bent, per the 2/20/2009 update. I also never heard from my body shop - owned by a family friend - after he:

  • allowed me to drop the car off to my preferred alignment specialist for the steering diagnosis on Thursday morning
  • at 3:30pm that day, offered to go around the corner and get the car so I wouldn't need to waste another trip down there (he had to do some more door-related work for me)
  • failed to call me on FRIDAY - over 27 hours later he was closed for the weekend - to tell me to come pick up the car or let me know the status of the rack and pinion appraisal as well as the progress on the door latch & window (the latter two being very easy fixes that just required a few new parts, from my understanding)

So that leaves me to think, why did he not call me?

Either he forgot (unlikely), couldn't get the appraiser out to his shop on Friday (after telling me he'd call Thursday to set it up - normally plenty of time even in this busy time of year for insurance companies) (more likely) - or possibly the appraiser needed to get authorization to surprise the insurance company with a multi-thousand dollar piece of work on top of what they've already done. This is what I'm afraid of, but not for the reasons you'd think: Insurance companies in Mass. are bound very tightly to Commonwealth law. They have to cover anything that could be accident related, and the rack and pinion issue is definitely related. So there's no issue with the amount of money they'd have to cover, the only possible issues could be: do they want to do this work vs. totaling the vehicle, and can they source the parts used?

I'd be surprised if they totaled the vehicle. They've already put $2500 or more into the car - my first insurance check was for north of $1,500, I paid $300, so that makes $1,800 of work. Plus a $200 dealer airbag fix, two alignments that didn't go well (hence the alignment specialist), and now work done last Thursday by my alignment shop.

But a new rack and pinion? And what if I insist on new parts, citing that the car may never drive the same regardless so I don't want to take the chance I get someone's old rack and pinion that was busted at the junk yard to begin with? The could be thousands more, and suddenly we're nearing $5,000 territory for total damages. That's a lot of work on a 2002 model vehicle with 107xxx miles on it. So yes, I think it's possible, just not probable, that they may total the vehicle.

In terms of sourcing the parts, that may take a bit, but not likely longer than a couple of days. So again, it makes me wonder why the body shop never called me. It's unlikely given the speed and efficiency of the appraisal service to this point that 24 hours notice wasn't enough to get the R&P issue appraised, priced, and then sent to the alignment shop.

To be continued tomorrow when I speak to the body shop...

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