Help me get over a car accident
December 12, 2006 8:58 AM   Subscribe

My wife got into a car accident last week. I wasn't with her, The story is, someone cut her off and slammed on the breaks and she had to turn to avoid him, she over turned and someone else almost hit her so she turned again and the car started rolling. it was an SUV and that made the flipping so easy. She is unharmed, she did not hit anyone, but the car is totalled.

The blue book value of the car is about $7,000, we are in mountain view, california. According to the insurance, since they can't find the person who caused the accident, they will not pay a penny. That means, a total loss of the car and outrages fees for the car lot keeping the car!!!
What do I do? She said something about a police report, but she was told by the insurance company that she won't have access for another 2 weeks. This is our only car, and this ia major loss, if it is going to happen like that, I am totally lost.
The insurance company is farmers, not that it matters I guess.

Can I sell the car? to at least take it out of the lot and stop causing more charges, (about $40 a day)

Who buys cars like that?

Does the insurance company right with what they offered,or lack of it?

Please help...
posted by convex to Law & Government (15 answers total)
What kind of insurance did you have on it? Liability only, or comprehensive?
posted by SpecialK at 9:01 AM on December 12, 2006

Sounds like convex had liability only, in which case he's uber screwed.

someone cut her off and slammed on the breaks and she had to turn to avoid him

Yeah, sucks to be her, but insurance companies don't care. In NJ and FL, which are the two states I have experience in, they are no-fault states. In other words, if it's not anybody's fault in particular than it's YOUR fault.
posted by taumeson at 9:23 AM on December 12, 2006

You really need to read through your policy carefully. At least according to the policies I've had, if you are not at-fault, the insurer has to pay your damages, regardless if they cannot locate the at-fault party to recover costs. That's one of the whole reasons to carry coverage.
We recently went through something similar with a hit-and-run. Our insurer could not track down the at-fault party but still had to pay to repair the damage to our car.

Does your policy have coverage for uninsured motorists?

Sounds to me like you may have to start playing hardball. Are you dealing with your agent or the claims adjuster? Get your agent involved. He's making a commission off your business. Technically, he is your representative to the company.

As for your other questions...most wrecking yards will buy the wreck for scrap or parts.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:24 AM on December 12, 2006

Best answer: You're going to want to sell the car to a junkyard immediately so that storing it becomes their problem and not yours. You're not going to get much for it, though, maybe enough to cover the storage fees already incurred.

If all you have is liability insurance, then you're probably hosed. Even if you have uninsured motorist insurance, it requires finding the other motorist. And even then, I'd be shocked if your insurer covered this particular case. If no other cars were physically involved in the accident (as opposed to recklessly near and possibly causing the accident), you've not really got much chance of getting anyone else's car insurance involved, and liability doesn't cover your own vehicle.

Be thankful your wife is ok, buy another car, and go forward with your life. If you're very fortunate, you may recoup some insurance money from your wrecked vehicle.

On preview, Thorzdad's advice to make sure and talk to your agent is very good. I don't think he's correct, however, about the insurer being required cover the damages, even if you could prove your wife is not at fault. It depends on the policy being carried.
posted by mzurer at 9:30 AM on December 12, 2006

Response by poster: Just asked my wife what kind of insurance sha had, it is liability only with uninsured motorist... Does that mean we are screwed?

Also, she said :

1. Tow the car (at $135 for starters) to another safe location while this all gets "worked out" and see if the police report say anything good. But I have no "other" location at the moment.
2. Stop all Storage fees today and give them the title to the car so they can then junk it. "for free"

Also, the adjuster said that "she is not at fault". But still they won't pay anything. That is not making any sense to me.
posted by convex at 9:36 AM on December 12, 2006

Well, as far as I know, liability means that the insurance company will only pay for damages caused to another vehicle at your fault. The only time they will pay for damage on your own car is when you have full coverage. Liability insurance just keeps you safe from having to pay for damage you cause to other people's property.
Aside from that though, call your agent up. It's there job to explain all this to you and help you out getting your claims through.
posted by chrisroberts at 9:43 AM on December 12, 2006

Has the car been to an appraisal yet? How was it determined that it is 'totaled"? All that may mean is that the damage is more expensive to fix than the car is worth. However the engine and transmission and several body panels may be perfectly OK and have salvage value.

Call a couple of 'used auto parts' dealers and tell them what you have and milage etc. It could be worth a little bit more than you think.

Next time be sure to get the optional collision damage waiver that insures you against unknown drivers...except in this case the 'accident' was due to her 'oversteering' during an avoidance maneuver. No one actually hit her...
posted by Gungho at 9:43 AM on December 12, 2006

Just asked my wife what kind of insurance sha had, it is liability only with uninsured motorist... Does that mean we are screwed?

Yeah, that means you are screwed.

Liability means that if she hit the guy, instead of turning, her insurance would fix his car. That said, it would not have paid to fix hers in that case either.

Uninsured motorist means that if she was hit by somebody else who was not insured, that would be covered.

She would have needed collision to cover accidents where she hit something and damaged her car.

Just be glad she survived an extremely dangerous accident and move on. She is lucky to be alive after rolling an SUV.
posted by mosch at 9:50 AM on December 12, 2006

I sold my totaled Honda on ebay motors for twice as much as I was offered by the local auto salvage operations.
posted by wsg at 10:16 AM on December 12, 2006

Not that I claim to know the first thing about insurance, but... don't certain credit cards cover/include some sort of collision insurance (AMEX for example?) Or is that only when you rent a car using that cc?

My boyfriend says that his Amex covers collision insurance, but we live in NYC so we only ever rent cars. So maybe this is totally worthless, but I still thought I'd put it out there.
posted by np312 at 10:35 AM on December 12, 2006

Best answer: I was in a similar situation. Three months ago, the car in front of me on the highway slammed on its breaks, I swerved to get out of the way and ended up crashing into a concrete median. The car was undoubtedly totalled.

Even though I had the car financed through a bank, I only had liability and uninsured motorist insurance, so 15 grand instantly gone. It sucked, but I walked away without any injuries. A year prior to that some woman drove her car into my car and I ended up in the hospital and passenger ended up having to get a titanium rod put in the right leg because his bones were shattered.

Hate to say this but crap happens, and it could have been much worse. Good luck.
posted by Jimmie at 11:25 AM on December 12, 2006

Credit card insurance, when offered, is for rentals.

Liability only means you take the risk on any damage you do to your own vehicle. Sorry, but you did save a lot of money on premiums. Now, if you knew who the other driver was and you could prove they were at fault then you could recover from their liability policy. too bad they drove off. On the positive side, your wife did not get hurt.
posted by caddis at 11:30 AM on December 12, 2006

I am so glad your wife wasn't hurt. My SUV flipped 3 times two years ago when a person pulled out in front of me. I attempted to swerve out of the way, she still hit me, and a flipping I went, with my 9-month old in the car. Everybody was fine. I wasn't angry in the least bit that someone hit me, I was just happy my child and I were alive. Thankfully I had comprehensive insurance. I didn't answer your question, but I wanted to let you know that I am very glad your wife is okay.
posted by LoriFLA at 2:12 PM on December 12, 2006

If you have uninsured motorist should cover hit-and-run, if you can get this classified as such. Were there any witnesses? That might help you. More info here.

If she doesn't have the police report right now, she can call and probably talk to the officer that came to her accident. Typically they will give you their card -- here anyway -- so if she has that, she needs to call him and find out what the report will say, if possible.

If all she had was liability and uninsured motorist, though, and they don't call this a hit and run, then it sounds like you are out of luck.
posted by Medieval Maven at 2:39 PM on December 12, 2006

Best answer: "We are in mountain view, california"

Who took the report? MVPD or CHP? If it was on any of the highways, CHP should have taken a report. Don't listen to the insurance company, check with the police department directly. With a rollover accident, the local FD & AMR (ambulance) should have been on scene as well. What happened there? Did she refuse medical treatment or was she transported to the hospital?

The reason that I mention that is because you might have some medical bills showing up, which your insurance really oughta cover.

And tow yards are SCUM. Do whatever you can to get rid of them, because they can and will come after you financially.

If there were witnesses, see if you can get the insurance company to get their statements. Although that might be very difficult. Sadly, I speak from experience on that one. :|
posted by drstein at 6:44 PM on December 12, 2006

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