Fighting the (insurance) man!
October 11, 2012 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Got rear-ended and am thoroughly unhappy with repair results. Any tips for negotiating with the insurance company re: how they're handling this?

I was rear-ended while at a standstill on the freeway, and pushed into the vehicle in front of me, resulting in damage to both the front and rear of my car (significantly more in the rear). In order to expedite the handling of the matter, I processed the claim through my own insurance company, but fully expect to get back my collision deductible through subrogation (it is pretty obvious that the party that hit me from behind is at fault).

Edmunds blue book value of my car is ~$7000. Original estimated and insurance approved bodywork was ~$4000. Once work started and they pulled the bumpers off, it was apparent that more needed to be done, which was approved by the insurance company (I never saw the updated estimate). 10 days later all the bodywork is done, but when I see the car, it looks terrible -- the paint matching was really poorly done, it basically looks like a two-tone paint job. The masking/taping was poor, there's overspray visible in a bunch of places, etc. It's obvious to even a layperson that this car has been in a major accident, and my resale value is clearly shot. We haven't even gotten to mechanical issues yet; I'm pretty sure there's at least some work that needs to be done there that hasn't been scoped because the bodyshop has had the car all this time. At this point, it seems clear they should have totalled the car in the first place (the bodyshop guy implied they would have done as much had they known the full extent of the damage before starting work on it), and I don't see any way that I'm going to be "made whole" (in terms of having a car remotely as valuable as the one just prior to the accident).

I'm looking for some tips on how to negotiate with the insurance company over this. They are reluctant to total it and cut me a check since a bunch of work has already been done. But the work they seem willing to pay for (partial painting etc) just seems completely inadequate. Are my expectations of being "made whole" out of whack here? Seems to me that the adjuster made a bad call (possibly in conjunction with poor/overtly confident info from the bodyshop), and I shouldn't be made to pay for their mistake. Where's my leverage, if any?
posted by kanuck to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Threaten to lawyer up unless sufficient action is taken. Then, follow through if things are not resolved in a timely manner.
posted by BrandonW at 8:35 PM on October 11, 2012

You leverage is the threat of suit in court. Your expectations are not at all unreasonable. If you're not satisfied with the resolution, lawyer up, go to the gym, and DTMFA.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:54 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

You have a ton of leverage. Also look into your state's Diminished Value compensation guidelines.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:05 AM on October 12, 2012

What ever you decide to do, take pictures for documentation.
posted by nikkorizz at 6:21 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

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