Repair vs Total Loss (2009 Mazda 3 Hatchback Sport)

by mazda309 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 03:16 am

Hi all,

I recently got into a bad accident in my Mazda 3 09 Hatchback Sport. Both the other driver and I have AAA insurance. I took my car to a body shop on Monday, AAA only got to it today (after I demanded they send someone in person rather than do a "desk review") and said that they estimated the damages at around $8000.

At that point, I stated that I am concerned about the safety of the vehicle and would like to declare a total loss. The adjustor then said that he estimated the value of my vehicle at $14,600, which I am certain is way too high. I did extensive searches of my own and found the average at around $12,000. He told me he would speak with his manager and run the numbers by him to see what they should do.

I would appreciate any suggestions regarding what I should do. Can I have my car evaluated by someone else and fight their estimate? Should I just do the repairs and move on? I am having serious doubts about the quality of the car post repairs.

Thank you.

Total Comments: 16

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 01:01 am Post Subject:

Update - The insurance company declared my vehicle a total loss after further inspection. Actually, I did not use a AAA preferred repair shop because every shop they suggested to me had horrible customer reviews. The shop I took my car to had 5 stars on Yelp with 150 reviews. In fact, AAA seemed very annoyed that I used a non-preferred shop even though it is my right to do so.

After speaking with a couple of body shop owners, I learned that insurance companies are accepting fewer shops onto their preferred list because of "the economy", and as a result, they are paying lower rates to those who are on their list in return for an increased volume of business. This translates into preferred shops "cutting corners" in order to guarantee the lowest cost of repair as MikeoftheOzarks stated above in different language.

"Mostly, however, the OP was complaining that the insurer's taking three days was too long to have to wait for his claim to be acted on. That stance is completely unreasonable. His is not the only claim the insurance company has to handle this week."

@MaxHerr - it seems like you are a contentious one, as you are trying to belabor a point that I admitted was not of major concern in a follow up post. It also seems like you never read that post. You are the unreasonable one who has continuously attacked me throughout numerous posts.

Oh, and yes my friends who work for insurance companies are not dishonest, however, they play the game required to be an adjuster. Why don't you go tell your employer to rewrite their rules and let me know how that goes. Your intellectual capacity is quite alarming. Get a life.

Here is my reply - " Let's throw out the timing issue, which is not of concern to me. My concern is regarding the inaccurate information that is being provided to me and the lack of comprehensive inspection up front. It is not unreasonable to demand that my frame be inspected after a serious accident."

@tcope - I apologize for directing my follow up posts towards you. I now noticed that it was MaxHerr, "The Kind One", who was attempting to belittle me.

@Mike - Thank you for your informative post. I took it to a shop owner like yourself who has the vehicle owner's best interest in mind and not the insurance company's.

"Today they bank on uninformed policyholder and third party claimants and steer them to shops that collude with them to possibly underpay many claims by ommitted repairs that are required by the manufacturer of the vehicle or procedures specifed by them as necessary to return a vehicle to the engineered pre-accident condition"

^^ Spot on Mike, spot on!

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 05:42 am Post Subject:

Oh, and yes my friends who work for insurance companies are not dishonest, however, they play the game required to be an adjuster.

That certainly is an ethical dilemma, isn't it? Do I lie to collect a paycheck, or do I do the right thing?

I worked more than five years for an employer who told me on different occasions concerning incidents that involved employees who were, ultimately, under my supervision, not to tell anyone outside the company what really happened. On one occasion a VP came to me and said, "I have to 'kill' someone over this incident. Who do I kill?" On another occasion, the President and the VP of Operations came to me and said, with a straight face, if anyone asks me about the problem my employee created, which involved an advertisement for Microsoft Corporation that aired on national TV, to tell them "we did everything right."

In the first instance, I told my VP, "Kill me. I'm the guy who trained all these people. It's my responsibility." No one died and we did not lose the account. I implemented some additional QC procedures and the error was not repeated while I was there. As for the second incident, about three years later, fortunately, for the company, no one ever asked me the question. If they had, they would have received the correct answer: "Yes, my guy screwed up." Why? Because my integrity means more to me than any paycheck. I left the company less than 18 months after that (about 15 years ago).

Besides, it's easier to tell the truth all the time because you don't have to try to remember which lie you told to which person on which occasion.

they are paying lower rates to those who are on their list in return for an increased volume of business. This translates into preferred shops "cutting corners"

I'm not going to dispute this because in some cases, it's absolutely true. But that's the same kind of integrity issue.

You can see the difference in Mike of the Ozarks comments. That's a man of integrity. He's not going to be bullied in doing anything less than the right thing for his customer. As I tell my students when we discuss ethics in the insurance industry, the point I try to hammer home is that it's all about the customer, not me and certainly not the insurance company.

If I do the right thing for the customer, the company will do just fine, and I get paid, too, even if I get paid less than another agent who puts his own interests ahead of both the customer and the company. Most of those agents don't last too long. Some get a clue and change their attitude. Others go for a change of scenery, get sued, or get fired. A few just quietly disappear.

Your experience with AAA is not an isolated incident. And you would be within your rights to pursue a bad faith complaint with your state's department of insurance. Unfortunately, it doesn't rise to the level of litigation between you and AAA now that they have totaled your vehicle. But the incident should surely be reported to the state. Without your complaint, the Dept of Insurance might never learn about such incidents.

If you reread your initial post, I think you'll agree that the tone of that was different than your most recent comments. If you felt "attacked", I apologize. It was not my intent. I never said you didn't have the right to be more demanding about the handling of your claim, only that you were upset that things were not happening fast enough to suit you. That's kind of a petty issue.

As I've said numerous times before, insurance companies are in business to make money -- that's no surprise, because almost every legitimate business has the same objective. Insurance companies stay in business by paying claims. If they stop paying claims, or they force vendors to short cut repairs, they won't stay in business too long.

Make a complaint to your DOI. This was a form of "market conduct" violation that needs to be known. Posting it here is helpful, but cannot trigger any investigation because there is no specificity other than the name of the insurance company.

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 07:30 pm Post Subject:

If you reread your initial post, I think you'll agree that the tone of that was different than your most recent comments. If you felt "attacked", I apologize. It was not my intent.

Excuse me, you imbecile, not your intent? Let's rehash your first post:

Do you work? No? Well, then I guess you have a right to demand that other people work faster than the speed of light.

So it appears that your pathetic excuse of a life lacks the thrills you wish it had, and as a result, you ask people snarky questions and answer for them in order to demonstrate a point based upon a figment of your imagination? Well played Mr. Insurance, let me guess who taught you that form of argument? Perhaps it was the same VP you stood up too once upon a time at the height of your heroic insurance career?

Unfortunately the real world does not revolve around you -- Galileo and a few other astronomers proved that about 600 years ago. Feel free to complain about that, but unreasonable complaints such as yours are tossed into the trash and not investigated. But you will cause the state to have to expend money to send you an answer.

Galileo and "a few other astronomers" - no comment - championed heliocentrism over geocentrism. In astronomy, the geocentric model (also known as geocentrism, or the Ptolemaic system), is a description of the cosmos where Earth is at the orbital center of all celestial bodies. Maybe your 6th grade science teacher taught you otherwise, who knows.

But wait, my unreasonable claim surely should have been tossed to the trash, correct? According to you:

Your claim is being handled appropriately and in a timely manner. You need to act accordingly. If the damage to your vehicle is still $8000 and the value is $12,000, it will still not rise to the level of a total loss -- the damage would have to be at least $1000 more to get to the 75% threshold.

You are the reason why forums have an impeccable reputation. I suggest you print out a screenshot of your profile showing 4000+ posts and frame it on your wall. In the meantime, I will anticipate receiving a check in the mail for my totaled vehicle.

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 04:08 am Post Subject:

Hi Mazda, you taught a good lesson this Maximum guy. He is such a proud fellow that he always boasts of his insurance license as if he has the ticket to Air Force 1. Rather than helping people in the forums, he seems always in a mood to spanking other forum members who are relatively new. He thinks he can say anything to anybody. Yes, I should say here that sometimes his answers are good and helpful. It is because of this guy that I have stopped posting in the forums.

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 04:57 pm Post Subject:

unreasonable claim

No one said your claim was unreasonable, just your expectation that everything would be handled in one or two days. That was unreasonable.

Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:09 pm Post Subject:

Such issues do arise in insurance cases and company cant react till he get to know the whole situation...

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