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March 30, 2013

Daniel asks…

Out of state car accident/Insurance dispute?

Out of state car accident, my truck sustained damage on the frame, front axle and the body and is allegedly fixable provided it has nothing else after tear down, at the beginning, my car insurance quickly declared the truck totaled as the repair cost -according to them- will exceed $12k while the truck value is currently $21k.

I looked at my insurance policy paperwork and I have FULL coverage totaling $100k/$300k for BODILY INJURY LIABILITY (BI) and PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY (PD) and COLLISION COVERAGE (COLL), yet, if the truck is really fixable, my car insurance are expecting me to travel 700+ miles to go get my truck back, according to them, the rental fees they cover are $25/day $750 in total, this includes the truck transportation after repair, I rented a vehicle to go back home and I used $335 out of the $750 they cover, also, they would not pay for trip interruption, thus, paying for a rental vehicle to continue the trip, they said this is not in my policy.
My questions:
1/ Is my insurance trying to screw me over?
2/ Is that normal that the rental coverage (very poor) includes the vehicle transportation?

Notes: I am a Utah resident and the accident occurred in Oregon, no other person or vehicle was involved, my car insurance is American National.

Thanks for your answer(s)

Administrator answers:

Only a court can overrule an insurance company
on their interpretations of the policy they wrote
for you. You only have two resources for any
dispute, other than the court. That is an attorney
to challenge your insurance company if he sees
some fault in your policy, or possibly your state
department of insurance. If your company has
violated a rule of law for insurance, or misrepresented
something in their policy that they have not
notified you of previously, they can overrule
the insurance company decision.

Most times only where you can find a definite
flaw in the writing of your policy, or where you
have proof that an agent had specifically promised
you something different than what the company
claims, find where a law would fit your case to
favor you, or a court decides this are the only
ways that you can overturn the decision of
the interpretation of the policy by the company.

I also once had this problem with an insurance
company on a homeowner policy. Instead of
paying the full amount of my loss from a storm
they said it was standard that even on a policy
of ‘replacement cost’ they would never pay more
than 10% of the maximum if the loss was not on
the home itself. All external buildings, or equipment
would only pay 10% of the full policy value. As
my damages were $43k, and I had specifically
demanded the full replacement cost value be
applied to all my outbuildings, and equipment
when the agent wrote the policy, and even had
his notes on a brochure, I challenged them, and
got the full amount.

On the other hand, another time I had damage to
the flat roof of my home. When I turned in the
estimates to get it fixed, they picked the highest
priced estimate. It was more than $6k higher than
the closest other estimate. It was to pay to
replace my roof exactly as it was before, but
the lowest price estimate was to put on a gable
roof. State insurance laws stated that they had
to pay the amount to replace what I had even
though the gable roof pay out would have been less.
That is just the stupid way that insurance works.
I came out over $6k ahead on that one.

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