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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: smoghat on February 01, 2018, 09:42:10 AM

Title: How to best deal with USAA insurance payout
Post by: smoghat on February 01, 2018, 09:42:10 AM
My wife hit some guy (who was speeding and came up on her as she was pulling out the driveway… still her fault). His car is being dealt with, it's not our problem.

Her car has damage on the front bumper.

We have collision insurance on that car. We pay $332 a year for collision on that car. Maybe in the future we won't take it, but it's there now, a relic of the days we bought that car on an auto loan. It's not that bad a deal and with our kids entering their teenage years, maybe we should keep it a little longer.

The car is a 2006 BMW 530xi wagon. It's *kind of* a dumb car, but only kind of. A Subaru would maybe make more sense, but we've had this since 2009 (bought it when the dealers were begging to have certified preowned cars leave the lots) and it's been paid off since 2012. The wife wanted a minivan to haul kids around. I can't stand the high center of gravity and have seen enough minivan spills on the roads, I convinced her to get this. Just about nobody makes wagons anymore. Subaru would've been better but was too small. Now she wants an electric car. No! That would require not just a brand new expensive car, it would require redoing our electrical box. Not doing that yet! Especially since we drive around 10k a year on each car. So we are keeping this car for a while.
I don't want complaints about driving around in a total junk heap, so the car needs to get fixed.   

Well, we have collision and insurance is going to go up because they know my wife hit the other guy anyway. Her driving record is good. Last accident which involved insurance was when she was 17 and closed her eyes when driving drunk 33 years ago.

Insurance is USAA. I say this because it is probably well known to some of you and it does do things its own way, usually for the better.

So USAA sent my wife to a Chevy dealer's body shop to get a quote. She did. It came out to over $2,500. Later she went to a BMW dealership, they wanted $1,500. Part of the difference was that the Chevy dealer wanted to replace the fender. I think BMW can tell if the fender needs replacing.

Anyways, we decided to go with BMW. We told USAA and they said they had already issued payment to Chevy. Uhm ok. But they got it back. Alrighht! And they are sending the $2,500 (-500 deductable) to us.


I told my wife to call around some local body shops as well. After all, we are FIRE'd and our job is to keep costs low. So she's going to.

But what do we do with the money? Let's assume Chevy is wrong and we don't need all that expensive crap they padded the estimate with.

Send the extra back to USAA? Maybe we should send the whole amount of the collision back to USAA?     

Title: Re: How to best deal with USAA insurance payout
Post by: smoghat on February 01, 2018, 10:51:35 AM
Oh well, called USAA. They said we should just keep the money no matter what. :/
Title: Re: How to best deal with USAA insurance payout
Post by: rubybeth on February 01, 2018, 11:46:29 AM
I'm confused. There was an accident and you got a payout to pay for the repairs. Take the money, and either get the repairs or don't. What's the question?
Title: Re: How to best deal with USAA insurance payout
Post by: Hvillian on February 01, 2018, 01:07:30 PM
This is pretty common.  My wife was recently hit in a parking lot.  Body shop estimate was about $800.  The other lady's insurance (State Farm) sent us to their adjuster, who wrote us a check for $1,600 to cover the body damage, possible front-end alignment, and 3 days of a replacement rental car, etc.  They didn't care what we did with the money.  We would have had to get some additional documentation only if we thought the repair was going to be more.

Also, FYI, I totaled two cars (mine and the other guys, worth $30k-40k total) a few years ago, and my USAA insurance rates barely changed.  Accident history is only part of the overall underwriting model, I suppose.
Title: Re: How to best deal with USAA insurance payout
Post by: rubybeth on February 02, 2018, 08:09:09 AM
The only thing I'd add is that insurance may want you to fix the vehicle to some standard for them to keep insuring it, or to keep collision coverage on it. I'd ask about that.