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Insurance is garbage

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#1
This is a long story, so here goes:

On Thursday the 12th, my husband drove out to the middle of nowhere, 3 hours away from home, to take pictures of wildlife, and visit some parks. While there, he hit a deer. It jumped out into the road on a wooded stretch of highway. He never saw it coming. Nothing he could do. It hit the front passenger side, broke his grill, dented his hood, and smashed the headlight on that side. His car was driveable enough to turn it around and drive it to where there was a shoulder to wait for help. He didn't have any cell service, so he had to wait for a state police trooper to find him and help him out. He sat there all afternoon waiting for help.

The police officer called a tow truck for him. He took his camera equipment and his wallet (all he could carry) and the officer gave him a ride to the nearest car rental location (an hour away from there) so he could rent a car to drive home. He rented a car on his own, at a rural airport, and then called the insurance company to make a claim as soon as he got cell service. The original contract with the rental company was $100 for 24 hours, and he was supposed to return it to another location near home the following day.

The next day we tried to get a hold of our insurance company to figure out what was going on, and eventually went to the local office to sort things out in person. Turns out our insurance had put in the wrong type of claim, and never assigned us an insurance adjuster. We explained the situation, that our car was at a garage 3 hours away and we had a rental car from the airport up there. We told them what company the rental was through and what the original contract said. They assured us that they work with this rental company all the time. They told us to keep the car. Call the rental location where we got the car and tell them to contact the insurance company to draw up a new contract. The insurance agent explained that they work with several rental agencies and have lower rates negotiated if they handle the billing. Our policy only covers $40/day but the rental costs $100/day if rented personally. They assured us we wouldn't have to pay a dime other than to cover the difference on the first day we had the rental car.

From there we called the rental place, explained the situation, and requested they call our insurance for a new contract and any further billing. The man on the phone agreed, said he understood, and said he'd take care of it.

Fast forward an entire week to the 20th. We still haven't heard if our car is totaled or not. We still have the rental. My husband gets a call at work from the rental agency asking where their car is. He explains the situation, tells them that he spoke to someone at their location about it and was told everything was fine. Apparently not. That person did not renew the contract like he said, and did not contact our insurance. Their records showed that we had only a 24 hour contract for $100/day, and were very late returning the car. They sent us a bill for over $1,500, and stated that they don't work with our insurance company and will not write up a new contract with them, and will not send the bill to them.

At this point we switched rental cars. We returned the one from the far away airport and picked up another from a local rental place that we know works with our insurance.

We also went to our insurance company for help. They seemed surprised at how the rental company handled things. They do work with a local branch of that rental agency, and never had a problem, and the local branch charges a lot less per day to rent a car. Our insurance adjuster called the manager at that location and attempted to get the bill changed. The rental company was not cooperative and refused. The insurance adjuster tried to get insurance to cover it, but her superiors shut her down, and they say we are responsible for that bill now.

Fast forward again to yesterday. We get a call from the insurance company that the body shop submitted the quote for the repairs. The repairs add up to $5500. The insurance company is valuing our car at $4900. It's a 2010 Hyundai Elantra with 134,000 miles and was in excellent condition, no prior accidents, well maintained. We JUST put $1200 of work into it and put new tires on it less than a month prior. We feel it's worth more than this...

KBB value is more than that, and comparable cars for sale within 100 miles are listed for $6-7000. My husband called insurance to try to fight that value, and was shut down. They don't go by KBB value or retail. They use some state pricing site to get their values, and refuse to budge

The rental company is apparently a franchise and each location has the right to set their own prices and rules and are not held to any sort of standard by the company as a whole. Calling a broad customer service number got us nowhere because of this. They apparently don't have the power to do anything for us. We have to deal with that location only.

My husband spent the entire day today trying to get a hold of someone higher up with either our insurance or the rental company who will help us, but so far no luck. If we can't get anyone to help us, then we have 8 days to make the 3 hour drive to the body shop to get my husband's personal belongings out of his car. We have 9 days to buy another car before we have to give our current rental back. And if they they only cut us a check for $4900, we'll have to use $1500 of that to pay off the rental company and will only have a budget of $3400 to buy a car. That doesn't really get you much of a car. Many cars in that price range don't even run.

I'm not sure what to do here. We have no money in savings, and no disposable income to finance. We have been hit with one setback after another. I had some health issues 2 years ago and needed 2 surgeries. That cost us 8k out of pocket despite having insurance, and depleted our savings. Our front porch partially collapsed in a storm and our home owners insurance wouldn't cover it because we don't have flood insurance and the damage was done by water. We're not in a flood plane so I didn't think we'd ever need flood insurance. We also need a new roof so we're already financing some necessary home repairs. Though we've paid off a lot, we still have over 40k in student loans. We just don't make enough money to get a new car right now if insurance isn't going to give us enough to replace it. My husband and I both work full time, and commute in opposite directions so we need 2 cars. My car is the same year make and model as his, and also has over 100,000 miles so it's not worth enough to help us if we sold it. We are first time home buyers and have only lived in our house for about 3 years. We don't have enough equity to use that.

The only reason we drove that rental for so long is because BOTH our insurance company and someone at the rental company told us all was a-ok. Then a week later, it suddenly wasn't and no one thought to communicate this to us sooner. Our insurance company is using the excuse not to cover the charges that we should have double and triple checked that everything was ok, and it was our responsibility to follow up. They say that they are not obligated to tell us if something isn't right.

We also pay for a top of the line insurance plan with full collision and replacement coverage, as well as rental coverage. I feel like my insurance company is doing everything in their power not to pay out for things that SHOULD be covered in our plan. What's the point of paying for good coverage if it's not going to pay out when something actually happens?

You know how I was complaining about being poor in my last thread? Well I'm extra poor now. My husband and I literally had a conversation tonight about how we're going cut down our grocery budget by eating only 1 meal a day until we can afford a new car, and we're going to both put in more hours at our second job, which is shoveling horse poo for under the table cash. I feel like people who work full time shouldn't struggle this much. This society really does give zero fucks about its people.
 

CoprophagousCop

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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#2
$5000 for hitting a deer!? WTF!? I thought $1000 for hitting a guard rail was a lot. Your husband should have just drove his car home as it was, spent about $100 to replace the headlight and forgot about the other dents. I found it does not pay to have collision insurance on a car with more than 100,000 miles. Insurance companies will say your vehicle is totaled for minor damage, give you far less than it is worth, then take your vehicle, have it fixed and sell it for a lot more than what they gave you for it. Your husband could keep his car as it is and just have the necessary things fixed, but your insurance company would probably not pay him anything. In any case, once this is all over, switch to a different insurance company.

As for the rental car company, maybe you could sue them. You could refuse to pay them, but then your credit score would go down. In any case, when you go back to the area to get your husband's belongings, stop by the rental car company and give them a piece of your mind. Hope a bunch of customers are around so they can hear what a crap company the rental car company is.
 
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#3
We've been doing a lot of research over the last day or so. It did cross our minds to just not take any insurance money and get our car back to fix ourselves, but after talking to the body shop, it's not worth it. There is damage to the frame. The radiator and radiator supports need replaced. There is legit over $5k of necessary work that needs to be done and then we'd have to get a reconstructed title.

I supposed DH did hit the deer going over 60 mph. He said the deer was launched at least 15 feet into the air and landed very far off the road. It was supposedly quite the spectacular collision. Elantras are small cars. I suppose I'm not too terribly surprised a deer did so much damage at that speed.

I agree, we will be looking for new insurance after this. I should have known this place was bad news when I first switched to them and got pulled over for driving without insurance because they never filed the necessary paperwork with the state. Luckily I didn't get cited because I had paper proof of insurance in the car with me but it was a hassle trying to get that resolved. The only reason I picked them is because we have our home insurance thru them, which makes them cheaper, and I picked them for home insurance because they had the best liability for ag zoning.

My boss at work suggested I smear the rental company on social media and then they might own up to shut me up. I don't think that's going to work though. The rental was through Hertz and they apparently already have terrible reviews all over the internet and even have a dedicated Facebook hate group. That doesn't seem to phase them.

We are going to see if the better business bureau can help us there.

Supposedly our insurance company is a good company and several friends and family said they had good experiences with claims through other agents, so our next step is to go above that particular agency to someone higher in the company.

We are going to fight this as hard as we can. Thankfully our garage is owned by the world's nicest family and they are giving us a loaner, free of charge, to use until we figure this out, or until it gets cold out. This particular loaner has no a/c so they don't loan it out to other customers this time of year.
 
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#4
They always say that if the amount of the repair is more than the value of the car, then just get rid of it and buy a new one, unless you can't afford to buy a new (or used) one. Of course the thing that I hate about insurance is that if you make a mistake and hit someone or something, your premium will go up, even if it's your first time in over 5 years. In California, where I live, your premium can go up as much as 92 percent. I hit someone yesterday by accident and I know it'll probably go up at least 50 percent even though I've had a good driving record.
 

ThisIsBananas

Tough guy!
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#5
They always say that if the amount of the repair is more than the value of the car, then just get rid of it and buy a new one, unless you can't afford to buy a new (or used) one. Of course the thing that I hate about insurance is that if you make a mistake and hit someone or something, your premium will go up, even if it's your first time in over 5 years. In California, where I live, your premium can go up as much as 92 percent. I hit someone yesterday by accident and I know it'll probably go up at least 50 percent even though I've had a good driving record.
I've heard of some insurance companies not penalizing you for your first mistake. I got a speeding ticket for the first time while on my insurance, and they didn't do anything.

I got into a car accident long ago, and my car was totaled. They gave me half the value of the car and I spent a little more on that to get a new one. Without money, I couldn't get a new car or repair the old one, when would have cost more money to repair than to buy another one.
 
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#6
I've heard of some insurance companies not penalizing you for your first mistake. I got a speeding ticket for the first time while on my insurance, and they didn't do anything.

I got into a car accident long ago, and my car was totaled. They gave me half the value of the car and I spent a little more on that to get a new one. Without money, I couldn't get a new car or repair the old one, when would have cost more money to repair than to buy another one.
I asked my insurance agent about that and, unfortunately (and I also read it somewhere), it's not possible in California due to some stupid state laws. I'm just hoping it wont' go up 92 percent like the articles that I read said.
 

ThisIsBananas

Tough guy!
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#8
Car insurance is just a pre-approved loan.
Car insurance is just forcing everybody to save their money for an emergency. Keep paying into the system, so you can hopefully get enough back to use in an emergency.