Author Topic: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?  (Read 3796 times)

Alukien

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"8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« on: November 26, 2015, 11:25:26 PM »
Two days before Thanksgiving, a driver ran a red light and plowed into our '06 Scion xB at 45 MPH. People all seem to be OK, but the car, which we've owned exactly eight weeks, was very much undriveable and I expect will be totaled. To add to the fun times, we'd just had the belts replaced three days prior to the wreck.

We have a police report and witnesses all agreeing the other driver ran a red. We only carry liability insurance, thus we immediately called the other driver's insurance company given to us in the crash report, and reported the accident.
 
Next morning I contact them to find out that this insurer no longer covers her (old card in the car I guess?). Call the lady up the next day and she says her insurer is "Dairyland", whom I've never heard of. I immediately call them up and report the incident, and spend four hours trying to get my claim assigned to an adjuster who is not on vacation for the rest of the week (I did not succeed, it happened multiple times). I wind up just setting up a rental out of pocket (Useful lesson learned: Rental companies can give you the insurance rate even if you aren't having an insurer directly pay for it).

Around this point I'm getting suspicious, so I look up this "Dairyland" and find a whole slew of reviews painting them as crooks who will do just about anything to avoid paying the value of a claim, if they don't just try to stall the claim out to avoid paying it at all.

Fortunately I didn't pay an outrageous price for the car (The market value used for property taxes was a few dollars off what I paid less fees). Given how recently we bought the car and how little a 9-year-old vehicle ought to depreciate in eight weeks, it seems reasonable to expect damages of the purchase price + fees / taxes, cost of the belt replacement, and the cost of the rental car (All of which I have documentation for). This total is well below the minimum property damage insurance requirements in my state (North Carolina).

That said, based on what I've found online these guys seem to have have an exceptionally bad reputation. I'm concerned they will somehow try to avoid a conclusion that their client is at fault (Despite mountains of evidence), or that they will go to great lengths to stall or lowball us (again, despite pretty hard evidence). It's a pretty annoying setback if I have to replace the car out of pocket, but I don't NEED settlement money this instant. I'm willing to take the case to court if need be.

Does anyone who's had to deal with this sort of situation have any negotiation advice?
Should I consult a lawyer before or after I hear back from the insurer?
If I have to take this to court should I seek additional damages to have a prayer of making it worth the time?
Am I honestly just worrying to much about the whole thing?

If anyone has had similar experiences or has dealt with Dairyland in the past, please do share them.

Axecleaver

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 07:06:10 AM »
Try talking to your insurance company first. If the other company doesn't pay for whatever reason, they're on the hook to cover any injuries (you didn't say if you had any) or damages arising from injuries. I've been rear-ended twice and had to learn some of these things the hard way. See if you can negotiate with the other insurance company before you hire a lawyer. If you're not happy with the way it's going, hire an attorney and let them deal with it.

A couple of tips on insurance claims:

* Get a copy of the police report, especially if the driver was ticketed.
* Go to the doctor and get checked out. Whiplash, neck and back injuries are super common and may not manifest until 2-3 days after the accident. If you don't get a doctor's report, it is difficult to get reimbursed for missed work days or pain and suffering. Talk them into prescribing painkillers even if you don't think you need them.
* Claim missed work - you're eligible to be paid for taking vacation/sick days
* Claim loss of use - the rental vehicle is good documentation of this
* Keep all documentation, send only copies to the insurance company. Some will request originals and destroy them, then if it goes to court you don't have the originals to show.
* Never take the first offer from the other side. Tell them you would rather go to court than accept that.
* Have a number in mind that you would settle for.

libertarian4321

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2015, 09:13:35 AM »

If anyone has had similar experiences or has dealt with Dairyland in the past, please do share them.

Their insurance sucks, but their cheese is wonderful.

Josiecat

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2015, 11:16:52 AM »
Why are you contacting her insurance company?  Make a claim with your own insurance company.  Give them all the information you have about the other driver and let them handle it.

lbmustache

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2015, 12:02:34 PM »
Why are you contacting her insurance company?  Make a claim with your own insurance company.  Give them all the information you have about the other driver and let them handle it.

I agree. If you have a decent insurance, let your insurance deal with "Dairyland" and they will contact you if things aren't going right.

use2betrix

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2015, 12:20:16 PM »
Why are you contacting her insurance company?  Make a claim with your own insurance company.  Give them all the information you have about the other driver and let them handle it.

The OP only has liability? If the other driver was at fault there is 0 chance the OP's insurance is responsible for anything at all.

If the OP had full coverage, then it would be in his insurance companies best interest to be involved because if the other driver is uninsured or anything of the sort, the OP's insurance company would be responsible for damage and going after the other driver.

I may be mistaken, but that's how it has seemed in my experience.

Gin1984

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2015, 01:52:35 PM »
Why are you contacting her insurance company?  Make a claim with your own insurance company.  Give them all the information you have about the other driver and let them handle it.

The OP only has liability? If the other driver was at fault there is 0 chance the OP's insurance is responsible for anything at all.

If the OP had full coverage, then it would be in his insurance companies best interest to be involved because if the other driver is uninsured or anything of the sort, the OP's insurance company would be responsible for damage and going after the other driver.

I may be mistaken, but that's how it has seemed in my experience.
I have liability but I also have uninsured motorists coverage so my insurance would cover. It depends on the insurance.

Tjat

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2015, 02:43:44 PM »
I have liability but I also have uninsured motorists coverage so my insurance would cover. It depends on the insurance.

This. If you have UM coverage, your insurance company should handle the communication to "dairyland"

use2betrix

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2015, 02:48:13 PM »
Why are you contacting her insurance company?  Make a claim with your own insurance company.  Give them all the information you have about the other driver and let them handle it.

The OP only has liability? If the other driver was at fault there is 0 chance the OP's insurance is responsible for anything at all.

If the OP had full coverage, then it would be in his insurance companies best interest to be involved because if the other driver is uninsured or anything of the sort, the OP's insurance company would be responsible for damage and going after the other driver.

I may be mistaken, but that's how it has seemed in my experience.
I have liability but I also have uninsured motorists coverage so my insurance would cover. It depends on the insurance.

Ah well that's good then! That may be your saving grace.

yourusernamehere

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"8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2015, 03:09:34 PM »
Depending on your policy with your company, you may have to do certain tasks to make a UM claim. Common things would be: provide the police report; send a copy of a denial letter from the insurance company listed on the police report (the expired ID card you mentioned,); put them on notice of a potential UM claim, in writing, within 30 days of the crash; possibly consented to a recorded interview by phone.
Also check to make sure that you have UMPD, not just UM. Not every state's UM covers vehicle damage. (Like in NY where I am. No such thing as UMPD.) If it's UMBI, not UMPD, the your insurance would not be paying anything out and therefore will not have any legal standing to attempt to collect from Dairyland on your behalf.
Good advice above re:keeping all receipts and claiming loss of use. Time from work may be covered even if it wasn't from an injury- best if you have great documentation of everything. Remember the individual claim examiner you work with just wants to close the claim and get it off his/her desk. The easier you make it on them, the faster it's resolved.
Again, good luck, and I'm glad to hear no one was hurt.

(Edited for dumb mistakes)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 03:12:38 PM by yourusernamehere »

Knitwit

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2015, 03:12:00 PM »
Two days before Thanksgiving, a driver ran a red light and plowed into our '06 Scion xB at 45 MPH. People all seem to be OK, but the car, which we've owned exactly eight weeks, was very much undriveable and I expect will be totaled. To add to the fun times, we'd just had the belts replaced three days prior to the wreck.

We have a police report and witnesses all agreeing the other driver ran a red. We only carry liability insurance, thus we immediately called the other driver's insurance company given to us in the crash report, and reported the accident.
 
Next morning I contact them to find out that this insurer no longer covers her (old card in the car I guess?). Call the lady up the next day and she says her insurer is "Dairyland", whom I've never heard of. I immediately call them up and report the incident, and spend four hours trying to get my claim assigned to an adjuster who is not on vacation for the rest of the week (I did not succeed, it happened multiple times). I wind up just setting up a rental out of pocket (Useful lesson learned: Rental companies can give you the insurance rate even if you aren't having an insurer directly pay for it).

Around this point I'm getting suspicious, so I look up this "Dairyland" and find a whole slew of reviews painting them as crooks who will do just about anything to avoid paying the value of a claim, if they don't just try to stall the claim out to avoid paying it at all.

Fortunately I didn't pay an outrageous price for the car (The market value used for property taxes was a few dollars off what I paid less fees). Given how recently we bought the car and how little a 9-year-old vehicle ought to depreciate in eight weeks, it seems reasonable to expect damages of the purchase price + fees / taxes, cost of the belt replacement, and the cost of the rental car (All of which I have documentation for). This total is well below the minimum property damage insurance requirements in my state (North Carolina).

That said, based on what I've found online these guys seem to have have an exceptionally bad reputation. I'm concerned they will somehow try to avoid a conclusion that their client is at fault (Despite mountains of evidence), or that they will go to great lengths to stall or lowball us (again, despite pretty hard evidence). It's a pretty annoying setback if I have to replace the car out of pocket, but I don't NEED settlement money this instant. I'm willing to take the case to court if need be.

Does anyone who's had to deal with this sort of situation have any negotiation advice?
Should I consult a lawyer before or after I hear back from the insurer?
If I have to take this to court should I seek additional damages to have a prayer of making it worth the time?
Am I honestly just worrying to much about the whole thing?

If anyone has had similar experiences or has dealt with Dairyland in the past, please do share them.

As other people have suggested, try contacting your own insurer to see if they can help. Good luck.

Almosthw

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2015, 06:37:18 PM »
So sorry this happened to you, glad to hear there were no injuries.
Re: atty. don't recommend it until absolutely necessary, there's no money in it for them so there's little motivation for them to help you. It doesn't entice an adjuster to offer you more just bcuz an atty is involved.
Do your own research about the value of your vehicle and see what Dairyland offers you- Internet research and hard evidence to support what you think is a good value will increase a disputed value more than yelling or being rude. Put all communication in writing- verbal communication can be deleted or misunderstood,ins companies are required to respond to written correspondence.
I work in the industry and don't think Dairyland is worse than most other ins companies.  Good luck

Alukien

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Re: "8 week old" used car got wrecked. Dealing with scummy insurers?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2015, 10:18:00 PM »
Just wanted to pop in and thank everyone for the suggestions so far.

This seems like some good practical advice, and I'm glad to hear at least someone say that Dairyland isn't worse than the average (I suppose it's like most lists of complaints on the internet, especially given that you don't usually deal with insurers in happy, low-stress situations).

Being stuck waiting over the holiday has given me an opportunity to get less stressed about the situation and do my research, and I beleive I can make a good case for a settlement that will let me replace the vehicle.