What Happens when Insurance Agencies Can't Determine Initial Damage?

Aug 8, 2015

  1. greggains
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    greggains New Member

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    Say a car is grazed causing a scuff and someone else is at fault, and pictures are taken. There are no dents or dings. Just a small scuff where it was grazed.

    What would an insurance agency of the person who was legally at fault do if extra damage is done to the scuff making it impossible for the appraiser to tell what damage was caused by their customer?

    Would the insurance agency even be liable at that point since a completely other process has to be done in order to repair the vehicle? Would that just fall under "too bad so sad stuff happens"?

    What I mean is, what if the scuff is sabotaged in some way. Spray painted over, scratched all the way off, whatever.. Making it impossible to know what it would have cost / took to repair the damage done by the first party.

    How would an insurance company handle that? Just go off of the pictures and pay what they think is fair?

    I'm really curious to this because I don't see insurance agencies just handing over money. I mean, yes they owed money to fix the scuff, but at this point giving them money to fix the scuff is pointless and they aren't liable for the extra damage right?
     
  2. djs
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    djs Super Moderator Moderator

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    Is this just a hypothetical question?
    Most adjusters are very good at looking at what is in front of them, from the vehicle to pictures to statements, sorting it out, and then paying what is correct.

    Of course, scratching over a scuff probably doesn't change the price of the repair a whole lot.

    Dan
     
    djs, Aug 9, 2015
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  3. greggains
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    greggains New Member

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    Yeah, it's hypothetical. I saw a thread on another site that made me curious.

    What I want to know is basically along the lines of this. Say I hit your car. The only damage is a scuff about 6 inches long by 4 inches tall on your back passenger fender. Now my insurance is liable for the scuff. But between the time I hit your car and the time the damage is appraised, your fender is stolen.

    What would my insurance do at that point. Assume we have pictures of the damage. Would my insurance pay what it would have cost to fix the scuff even though it is literally impossible to fix the scuff at this point?

    I made it specific to better explain what I'm asking. The point is, what happens if between the time I hit your car and the damage is appraised something happens, making it impossible to actually appraise the damage by look at the car / an entirely different process has to be done to fix the car instead of the process that would have been done to fix the scuff. Basically it is no longer possible to simply fix the scuff my insurance is liable for.

    Will they just pay out and say do with the money what you want?
     
  4. djs
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    djs Super Moderator Moderator

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    You would be surprised to learn how many times this type of thing actually comes up. Someone can get rear-ended twice within a few days of one another, before the first one is fixed. Or an accident and then the car gets stolen.

    It happens.

    Insurance companies will make adjustments based on the information they have. They will not pay twice for the same damage though, so if you run into me, your insurance company will pay a 'reasonable cost' to repair that damage, but my car was stolen so my insurance company will pay the value of the car, minus my deductible and minus the damage you did to my car.

    Its common sense, not that hard, once you remember there is a total value that won't be exceeded, the insurance company(ies) will not pay twice for the same damage.

    Dan
     
    djs, Aug 10, 2015
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  5. greggains
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    greggains New Member

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    Right... So back to what Im asking.

    What would Bill's insurance Do in the following situation?

    Bill hits Steve's car and scuffs the bumper. Now Bill's insurance must pay to fix this scuff. The night before Bill's insurance can appraise the damage Steve's bumper is stolen by a third party. Now it is literally impossible to fix the scuff Bill's insurance is responsoble fir.

    What would Bill's insurance do at this point. Assume there are photos.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  6. djs
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    djs Super Moderator Moderator

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    Again, its pretty easy, don't over think it.

    Its a scuff, so they will decide what it would cost to fix the scuff area or even to just refurbish the bumper. This isn't hard to do. They write the check.

    Its not literally impossible, its the cost of refurbishing a bumper, at most.

    Steve's insurance company then pays the balance for the stolen bumper, minus the deductible.

    Photos aren't that relevant, but they can go to prove it was scuffed.

    The reason this is easy for an adjuster is because he has paid out 3 other 'scuff' claims already this week and heck, its only Monday. If the bumper is recovered with the scuff still on it, then they can make an adjustment if needed.

    Seriously, you are way over thinking this. Insurance companies know how to write a check and not pay to much. I've seen them adjust personal property in a house that was burned to the ground with most of the contents burned to a crisp. Adjusting a scuff on a bumper is easy, especially since they won't even lose a moments sleep if they are off by $20.

    Dan
     
    djs, Aug 10, 2015
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  7. greggains
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    greggains New Member

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    Right, I understand what you're saying but I think you're not seeing that my main question isn't being answered. I'm really not trying to seem repetitive.

    What would Bill's insurance do in the following situation?

    You told me what Steve's insurance would do, but what about Bill's. Bill's insurance is liable for a scuff on the bumper. Not an entire bumper. What would Bill's insurance do if they literally can't repair the bumper because it was stolen by a third party? (remember, Bill's insurance is only liable for the scuff but the possibility to fix the scuff is gone because the bumper is no where to be found.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  8. TeePee
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    TeePee Super Genius

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    Who the heck steals a bumper?
     
    TeePee, Aug 10, 2015
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  9. greggains
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    greggains New Member

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    Sigh.. The bumper doesn't exist. It's imaginary. The situation was explained the way it was so I can get an answer to my question without people coming along and splitting hairs. But I should have known it was unavoidable.

    Let's stay on topic. I don't need this becoming a circle jerk. If you have an answer share it. If not, please refrain from deterring me from getting an answer.
     
  10. djs
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    djs Super Moderator Moderator

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    I've answerd this several times now.

    Lets put numbers to it.

    Bumper value $2000
    Scuff repair $500
    Deductible $500

    Scuff insurance pays $500
    Bumper insurance company pays $1000 ($2000 value minus $500 paid minus deductible)

    Remember, insurance companies don't repair diddly. They write checks so someone else can repair.

    Just a note though: If this goes beyond 'hypothetical', then you can get into issues of a non-repair payment and using actual cash value rather than replacement in some cases. For a bumper scuff, this is a non-issue, but, not all things translate when you try to apply a hypothetical question to a real claim.

    Second note: I can't keep track of Bill and Steve, sorry, didn't put that much work into this.
     
    djs, Aug 11, 2015
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