Thursday, January 31, 2019

Auto Issues: Protect Yourself

I was in a minor auto accident on Tuesday night. The roads were slick. The Forester was in the shop (again.) So, I was using the Fusion to run orders, which is against my better judgment, but I needed to work. You see, the Forester is built like a tank and it ain't pretty. The Fusion, like most newer cars (yes, I consider 2011 to be a newer car) has a fancy-schmancy bumper which is painted to make it blend in with the rest of the chassis.
The young lady behind me kept going after she braked as her car slid on the ice and collided with mine. It was a very low-speed impact and there were no injuries, except to the paint on the Fusion's bumper. At least, that is how it appears.
I contacted the young lady's insurance company to get the ball rolling on getting the Fusion into the body shop. Had this been the Forester, I probably wouldn't even have bothered, but I care a bit about the Fusion's cosmetic appearance, and I don't want the body to start rusting at the spots not covered by paint.
The insurance company contacted me today, and one of the things the agent told me was that the girl's mother wanted to pay me out of pocket for the damages, which at this point are estimated to be around $400. I told the agent that while I felt bad that these people's insurance might go up because of a very minor incident, I did not feel comfortable doing that, because, from past experience, I knew that there could be more extensive damage than was visible in the photos I sent them, and that would put me in a bad spot.
The agent informed me of something that I didn't previously know: their customer could arrange to make payments to the insurance company for the repairs once they knew the total extent of the damage and thus prevent higher future payments. That made me feel better. It also seemed like good knowledge to pass on to others for future reference.
In a situation like this, I would rather deal with the insurance company than directly with the other party (or the family of the other party) involved in the accident. Doing so actually protects both me and them. It protects me from being short-changed if the damage to the vehicle is more expensive than the $400 quoted in the initial estimate, and it protects the insured from having an unscrupulous person (which I'm not, but if I were) claim that the damage was more expensive than initially estimated.

Safe travels!

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