Car Insurance Question: Hit and Run
August 28, 2014 10:39 AM   Subscribe

My husband's car were totaled in a hit-and-run this past Saturday. The car was parked on the street, and a drunk driver plowed into it in the middle of the night.

The police located the car, it had been abandoned a block away, and they found insurance documentation from Geico in the glovebox that they passed on to my husband. It now, however, appears that there is a question as to whether that paperwork actually belonged to the car in question, and Geico is dragging its feet in looking up that information and giving it out. So, at this point, we don't know whether the car is insured, or by whom.

This is causing a headache regarding my husband's insurance, which is going to put it under his collision insurance, rather than his non-insured driver's insurance (or having Geico pay the claim), and the collision insurance has a $1000 deductible, which for obvious reasons he does not want to have to pay.

Is there a way to put pressure on Geico to release that information sooner rather than later? Or is there a way that we could look up that information ourselves?
posted by nanook to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Response by poster: I should also say that my husband's insurance is beginning to pressure him to take their offer with the $1000 deductible and is going to cut off his rental a week from today, and leaving it up to him to find out what is happening with Geico. He is calling Geico, and no one picks up, so he is left to leaving messages.
posted by nanook at 10:42 AM on August 28, 2014

I'm not sure how there could possibly be a question as to whether the insurance paperwork matches the vehicle it was in. Most states require you to carry an insurance card whenever operating the vehicle (usually in the glove box). The police report may or may not have a VIN on the car. If the driver left his plates on the vehicle, (and the number was noted in the police report), the registration can be traced to a VIN. The insurance policy will definitely have at least one associated VIN. It should then be a trivial task to see if they match up. Try calling both the customer service and claims number. If that ends up being fruitless, send a nastygram to GEICO via certified mail with return receipt requested (this gives you legal proof that you contacted them).

I would think this would be something your insurance company would pressure GEICO about. If not, I think it's time to find another insurance company, once this claim is paid out and taken care of, because clearly your current insurance company's claims service is lacking.

If the other driver was indeed insured, then yes, this would be a collision claim. If you live in a no-fault state, you're unfortunately going to be liable for the deductible. If you don't live in a no-fault state, you should not have to pay the deductible at all.
posted by tckma at 10:48 AM on August 28, 2014 [8 favorites]

This is BS from your husband's insurance company.

Ask to have the claim referred to their subrogation department. In subrogation they frequently will deal with getting deductibles reimbursed from the other party. You have to pay the deductible up front though.

You should also provide the insurance company with details of the police report and instruct the insurance company to deal with the police in identifying the owner of the other vehicle from the license plate (if the number was included in the police report).

If your insurance company won't do that, then you should be able to get the other party's contact information from the police. Your next step would be to take that party directly to small claims court for the deductible.

I would not mess around with the other party's insurance company because in that way lies pain. Only go that route if you are prepared to lawyer up.

If there is a customer service complaints number for your insurance company you should register a complaint because this is BS. You should threaten to take your policy elsewhere if they insist on handling claims in this manner, and follow through with that threat if they don't improve their customer service.
posted by crazycanuck at 10:50 AM on August 28, 2014 [16 favorites]

You should also provide the insurance company with details of the police report and instruct the insurance company to deal with the police in identifying the owner of the other vehicle from the license plate (if the number was included in the police report).

This might depend on your insurance. I have an old car and the bare bones insurance to cover it, and when I got smashed by a limo (no kidding!) I was utterly on my own because of the limited services available through my limited coverage. I had to work with the other driver's insurance company directly.
posted by mochapickle at 11:06 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

crazycanuck is right: it isn't your problem to deal with the other car's insurance, that's what you pay your insurance company for.

Although here's a bit of devil's advocacy for you: is your insurance perhaps saying that you should take their offer with the $1000 deductible, and Geico will refund you for that $1000 later? I got T-boned about a year and a half ago; it was clearly the other driver's fault: don't text and drive, kiddies! My insurance company (State Farm, for what that's worth) paid for my repairs, minus my $500 deductible (paid out of my pocket), then when my insurance got repaid by the other insurance company they also repaid that deductible to me. Apparently the other company "wanted to confirm who was at fault" before paying up, and also apparently that's pretty standard practice.
posted by easily confused at 11:17 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Something similar happened to my husband recently. We paid the deductible up front, our insurance company assigned an adjuster who went after the other driver's insurance, and they worked things out. We are now waiting for the deductible to be refunded to us. Sucks, but that's how it works.

YOU should not be dealing with the other driver's insurance directly at all - that is what your insurance and adjuster are for.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:31 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah agreeing that the VIN of the car should be on the insurance paperwork. The police should have recorded the VIN in their investigation. GEICO is dragging their feet because they don't want to pay. If your car was totaled and the offending car was insured, then GEICO will have to pay up.
If your car was totaled and the offending car was not insured, then your non-insured driver coverage should pay.

Just FYI, my car got totaled by another car a few years ago and it was kind of a nightmare because I had only the cheapo you-hit-somebody insurance and not the somebody-hit-you coverage. Because I didn't have somebody-hit-you coverage in a case where somebody hit me, my insurance co. was not involved and I had to deal with the other person's insurance directly. What I found is that lawyers are not interested in car collision cases where nobody was hurt. The only lawyer who would actually set up an appointment with me tried to convince me that I had some soreness in my neck.
posted by bleep at 11:33 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Generally you pay the deductible up front and if and when your insurance company gets reimbursed they refund some or all of the deductible back to you. Some states allow for partial blame (the crash was 20% your fault so the other insurance company only pays 80%). However, in this case with your car parked, I don't see how they assign any blame to your husband, assuming the car was parked legally.
posted by COD at 12:13 PM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have State Farm and I was rear-ended by a Progressive customer. State Farm covered all the repairs and Progressive cut me a check for my deductible made out to the body shop.

So only speak to Geico when they call to ask you where to mail the check.

Otherwise, hassle the HELL out of your insurance company, and if you're not getting the treatment you feel that you deserve, escalate.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:14 AM on August 30, 2014

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