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Old 02-21-2020, 10:48 AM #1
1bad65 1bad65 is offline
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Default So I wrecked the hot rod, and then it got ugly

I know some of you like my stories, and this is one that can possibly save you guys alot of money and hassle should you find yourself in the same boat I was. (Sorry for the long post)


I was involved in an accident that was not my fault. The other driver was ticketed and I was not.

The damage didn't seem too bad. The motor was still running after the collision and there was no leaking fluids. It appeared to just be body damage. I couldn't drive it though because the fender had crumpled around the tire.

I called my insurance as I needed the car towed. After I get back home I called my insurance company about the next step, since it cant just sit in the tow yard running up fees.

They told me I could take care of it through them, despite me pointing out it would be the other driver's insurance paying (they'd not yet accepted fault). I figured I'd get it fixed through my insurance company, then have my insurance get reimbursed by the other driver's insurance after they accepted fault.

I was given two choices. I could take it to a body shop of my choice, or take it to one of their 'select service' body shops.

They pushed taking it to their shops. They said that would cut out the adjuster, thus saving time and they'd guarantee the work (which they would not do if I went to my choice of shop).

Though I was suspicious, I went with their shop.

Despite the promise they'd get back to me with an estimate in two days, I heard back about 5 days later with a voicemail saying my car was declared totalled by them.

I called them to see what the hell is going on. I ended up having to get transferred to a supervisor, who I will call Mr Smith.

Mr Smith explained that the damage was close enough to the value of my car that they were going to total it. Smith then said they'd concluded my car was worth about $8k and the estimate was for a little over $6k in damage.

I actually laughed, and told him I had more than $8k in the motor alone. I said he needed to try again. Smith, who was a bit rude about it, said if I had put aftermarket parts on it that I needed to get the receipts together and get back to him.

Within a day or two later I did just that and called Smith back, but was put on hold for quite awhile. While on hold, I was told Mr Smith was on the phone with the body shop. I waited, but took a mental note of this interesting coincidence.

Smith finally answers. After I explain that I have the receipts ready, Smith tells me that the body shop has just discovered several thousand dollars more in additional damage they had missed before, and so even with additional value of the performance modifications they are still going to total my car.

I tell Smith I have to speak to my wife to decide what to do next.

But I didnt call my wife. I called a wrecker company, had them pick up my car from their body shop, and take it to my mechanic who also runs a body shop.

Once I received word that my car was at my mechanic's shop, I call Smith back.

I get his secretary. I ask her if I can get a copy of the second estimate. She asks, "What second estimate?", then I ask to be transferred to Smith.

Im on hold a long, long time before Smith finally answers with, "Mr 1bad65, where is your car? We cant seem to find it."

I tell him the car is at my mechanic's shop where him and his people cant get to it because I cant trust liars.

Sure enough, after looking at my car, my guy gets back to me. His estimate was basically the first/only estimate I got from the insurance, only with a couple things they said were bad that he said were ok. Of course his parts and labor were cheaper.

About that time the other driver's insurance has called me and accepted responsibility. I send then my guy's estimate and a couple weeks later my hot rod is back in the garage looking good and ready to raise some more hell.
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Bottom line, I learned a darn good lesson, and it didnt cost me anything, though it could have been one very expensive lesson.

Always know your rights, the law, and never trust your insurance company's body shops. Find a mechanic/body shop you trust and use him.

He works for you, while a 'select service' shop actually works for the insurance company.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:01 AM #2
JohnCastellanos JohnCastellanos is offline
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Love these stories man. Unfortunately for us car guys all these insurance jobs that body shops rely on to get by have basically ruined us car guys trying to get any kind of work done. Full paint jobs run about 6-10 thousand now it’s just sad man. I’m curious to know if you considered taking the money and then buying your car back and doing the work yourself. Also what kind of car was it
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:01 AM #3
BuckToothed BuckToothed is offline
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First, always, always, bring it to a shop that you trust and know... the insurance company shouldn’t be telling you where to get it repaired (they can try but you don’t have to comply).

Second, if they declare it totaled and gives you book value for your car, you can always buy the car back from them, citing sentimental values.
Then use the difference to get it fixed your way or salvaged.

Also, in today’s world, it’s always a good idea to have a dashcam to give you first hand evidence of what occurred.
Cops and witnesses are not reliable when dealing with insurance companies... you are pretty much at the mercy of the other motorist to admit fault, which rarely happens.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:07 AM #4
1bad65 1bad65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnCastellanos View Post
Iím curious to know if you considered taking the money and then buying your car back and doing the work yourself. Also what kind of car was it
That's exactly what I was going to do had I not been able to pull off what I did.

Smith even mentioned that, but I was trying at all costs not to have a salvage title on it.

It's a 2007 Mustang GT.

As to a dashcam, we are indeed going to buy 2 of them to use for our two newer cars.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:25 AM #5
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Some of these insurance companies are downright scandalous. I've had good and bad experiences with insurance companies. Glad it turned out in your favor.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:52 AM #6
1bad65 1bad65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostofDempsey View Post
Some of these insurance companies are downright scandalous. I've had good and bad experiences with insurance companies. Glad it turned out in your favor.
I actually think it was someone at the body shop who wanted the car for themselves.

A car guy I work with told me two things when I told him this story; he said go look at the cars you see in the employee lots at body shops. You tend to see alot of nice ones. How do you think that happens?

Second, he told me story where was at a body shop getting work done on one of his cars and a brand new Chevrolet SS coming in that had been wrecked, but not in the front. He said he saw one of the guys go to a supervisor and said "Make sure and get that SS totalled out, I want that motor."

I dont think a huge insurance company was looking to make a few bucks off a 10+ year old Mustang, but I think someone at the body shop was either going to make money on it or fix it and keep it for himself.

And the insurance company either doesnt care, or they are too stupid to see these scams. I myself think its the former.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:15 PM #7
Mighty_Windir Mighty_Windir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1bad65 View Post

Always know your rights, the law, and never trust your insurance company's body shops.

Find a mechanic/body shop you trust and use him.

He works for you, while a 'select service' shop actually works for the insurance company.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:30 PM #8
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Actually, very good advice.
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Old 02-21-2020, 06:15 PM #9
Fists_of_Fury Fists_of_Fury is offline
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I have my '69 Camaro insured by Bill Lutz. He's the best guy to get insurance for a street/strip car imo. It's not cheap but not bad and the car is valued appropriately. Tons of insurance companies try to value classics way lower than they are worth. I never trust the insurance company, their adjusters or body shops. I trust Bill though and he's highly recommended in the drag racing community. Glad you didn't get screwed.
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