Suck it up?
September 8, 2005 2:40 PM   Subscribe

carcrashFilter: Saturday night in the Arizona desert I hit a dog at 80mph and the resulting damage cost $3200 + 1 expired pooch. Would you suck it up, or report it to your insurance...?

I guess I'm trying to weigh up whether it's better to:

a) throw money at the problem

or

b) call my insurance which would then result in the accident being reported to the DMV and Carfax, thus substantially reducing my resale value.

I know this involves a severe ethical issue, so feel free to rail on me if you feel strongly about it, but please try to put yourself in my shoes before you do. It's a $30K car, and I have a $500 deductible.
posted by forallmankind to Travel & Transportation around Arizona (17 answers total)
 
Is there a danger that you've committed a criminal offence of which the insurance company may be legally obliged to notify the Police?
posted by benzo8 at 2:43 PM on September 8, 2005


Previous thread regarding Carfax. The consensus is unless you've totalled your car (and it doesn't sound like you have), Carfax probably will not learn about it.

If I had collision insurance, I would certainly file an insurance claim instead of being out of pocket an additional $2700. You're paying for insurance, so you might as well use it when you need it.
posted by blue mustard at 2:54 PM on September 8, 2005


If the insurance route is followed I wonder if it might be better to assume it was a coyote, rather than a dog, to avoid any "property" type entanglements. I speak from a hunch rather than any real experience.
posted by rolypolyman at 2:59 PM on September 8, 2005


yeah - that's a very good point: someone once told me that if you hit a cat it's OK, but a dog you have to report.
(no, I don't mean it's OK to hit cats :-)
posted by forallmankind at 3:04 PM on September 8, 2005


If you are handy with tools, and it was a smaller breed, Id say fix the dog yourself.
posted by ernie at 3:07 PM on September 8, 2005


Insurance. Are you sure that a body shop is obligated to report that you hit a 'coyote' to the DMV? Second blue mustard's thought (and others in the referenced thread) that Carfax is a lot less than omniscient.
posted by fixedgear at 3:14 PM on September 8, 2005


Keep in mind that your insurance will probably jack up your rates to recover the $3200 (plus interest and fees) over the next 2-3 years. Makes you wonder what you're paying for now...
posted by spacewrench at 3:18 PM on September 8, 2005


Thanks, ernie, it's been a while since a MeFi comment made me laugh out loud.
posted by AwkwardPause at 3:23 PM on September 8, 2005


Haha@ernie. Please don't delete that comment, Jess.

If you just report the accident to the insurance carrier, but it doesn't involve police accident reports, it is unlikely that it will go on your CarFax history. You pay insurance for exactly these sorts of things (well, maybe not exactly... at least the dog likely died instantly).

Also, you know, you can ask them if they'll put it on the vehicle history.

Out of curiosity, what possible damage could have occured to incur such an enormous bill? Is it just body damage (no pun intended)?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:42 PM on September 8, 2005


Body damage + radiator + compressor + some sort of carbon fiber strut. This woman's on the phone reeling off all these details *as if I know what the hell she's on about* so that makes it OK, right? To make matters worse, I'm in LA and the car's in Phoenix, AZ so she knows I'm not gonna swing by with my mechanic to double check the estimate....
posted by forallmankind at 3:51 PM on September 8, 2005


The estimate is only if you pay for it yourself. If you make an insurance claim, the insurance company will dictate to them what they'll be paid for the job.

As for whether you should claim it, yes, of course you should, it's why you bought the insurance, after all. Why pay for insurance AND pay for what you bought the insurance to cover? You're paying twice for the same thing.
posted by kindall at 3:57 PM on September 8, 2005


OK - thanks for the advice: I've called the insurance company, and the adjuster is going to call me back.

As a secondary question, what exactly does an adjuster do...?
posted by forallmankind at 4:59 PM on September 8, 2005


Adjusts
posted by winston at 8:03 PM on September 8, 2005


Keep in mind that your insurance will probably jack up your rates to recover the $3200 (plus interest and fees) over the next 2-3 years. Makes you wonder what you're paying for now...

i hit a deer with my car a year ago, which resulted in a $4000+ repair bill (damage was all cosmetic, but labor made up the bulk of the bill).

i couldn't afford to pay that out of pocket so i called my insurance company (geico). perhaps my clean record had something to do with it, but they ultimately labelled it a no-fault "act of god" and my rates did not increase because you can't really be faulted for failing to stop god's will...or any natural disaster, for that matter.

i would imagine colliding with other forms of wildlife might fall under the same category, depending on if your insurance provider sees things the same way.

as i understand, there are particular circumstances involved as well. if i run off the road and hit a tree/deer/cow, it's reckless driving on my part; therefore rates *will* increase. if i am on the road and i hit a tree/deer/cow, or a tree/deer/cow hits me, it would be up for consideration as an "act of god" that is out of my control.

to answer the second part of your question, even though the insurance company may jack up your rates, what you are "paying for now" is primarily insurance to cover your ass in case you are in an accident in which someone (yourself included) gets injured. this is why even long after you've paid the insurance company more than the car is worth, you can't stop paying insurance.

insurance is not just about protecting your car. if you get injured by someone who is uninsured, having valid insurance ensures that *someone* is going to pay to have you treated at the hospital.
if you hit someone else and put them in a coma, insurance ensures you won't get sued for everything you have (to a point, depending on how badly you fuck them up)--because the insurance company takes responsibility for the medical expenses of your victim(s) (again, to a point).

repaying $3200 plus interest and fees over the next 2-3 years is a small price to pay for the knowledge that your insurance company will shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, for you in return if necessary.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 8:16 PM on September 8, 2005


Adjuster looks which parts are damaged, looks at their laptop to see each part's cost, adds up the total cost, and tells the insurance company, who then either pay that to the repair shop or send you a check. (At least that's what "my" adjuster did last week -- I'm waiting for step 5.
posted by anadem at 9:19 PM on September 8, 2005


Adjusters also investigate accidents, take photos, and write reports. In between they drink heavily, obsess about death, and abuse their kids. And, to his credit, teach their kids very good driving habits. I suspect they also form partnerships of questionable ethics with bump shops.
(son of former adjuster)
posted by Goofyy at 3:13 AM on September 9, 2005


Question: Did you attempt to notify the dog's owner?
posted by nenequesadilla at 8:41 PM on September 9, 2005


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