I’m mostly writing this just to keep it straight in my head, because, honestly, it’s just so absurd.
On Friday, Dec. 16, a friend of mine was driving my car on I-75. A piece of rebar either fell off of a truck in front of her or was kicked up by the truck and hit my car. Aside from feeling it go under the car, my friend didn’t think anything ended up damaged. The car was still driving fine.
Then, a few minutes later, the car flashes up this warning: “CHECK HYBRID SYSTEM
STOP THE VEHICLE IN A SAFE PLACE IMMEDIATELY.” Which she does and she calls me to tell me about the error.
Not knowing if it’s related to the rebar or a separate service issue, I end up telling her to get it towed to my dealership service, where I go for everything. I call them and they book me the earliest appointment they have, which is that following Monday morning.
Since I didn’t know what exactly was wrong with my car – was it the rebar? Was it just a malfunction? WHO KNOWS! We put off calling insurance companies until we had a diagnosis. In the meantime, I went to my local Enterprise Rent-A-Car and picked up a vehicle to use.
On Monday afternoon, the service place calls me to tell me the story with my car. Apparently, the rebar didn’t just go under my car. It went through my bumper, the grill, the radiator, and the cooling fan! Which explains why the car continued to drive for a little bit after the collision – it kept going until the coolant had drained.
Armed with this information, my friend called her insurance, who explained that because it’s under comprehensive coverage, not driver coverage, my insurance will cover it. I call my agent, give her all of the information – what happened, when it happened, where my car is. She asks a few clarifying questions and tells me she’ll submit it and I should expect a call shortly.
By late Tuesday afternoon, I haven’t heard anything, so I call my agent again. She is surprised that I haven’t heard from an adjuster, so she gives me my claim number, the name of my adjuster, and the number to call.
Which I do. And I promptly get the adjuster’s voicemail, which explains that if I’m calling between 8am-4:30pm, and I’ve reached her voicemail, it’s because she’s on the other line. I’m to leave her a message and she’ll get back to me within (and here’s the kicker!) 24-48 hours. That seems excessive to me, as you know, asking someone waiting on a claim to go for two (business) days before getting information to them can be, at the very least, inconvenient. I mean, I’m fortunate to be in a situation where I can access and afford a rental for a few days, but not everyone is in that situation.
Anyway. I leave her a message with my claim number, contact information, where my car is, and include that I’m in a rental and need to know if that’s covered.
So that’s Tuesday, Dec. 20. I let it go through Wednesday, heeding the warning on the adjuster’s voicemail of 24-48 hours. I hear nothing from insurance on Wednesday. What I do get is a late afternoon car from an Enterprise Rent-A-Car franchise in a different part of town explaining that they received authorization from my insurance to rent me a car and wanted to know when I’d be in to pick it up.
Well, that’s news! I haven’t spoken to a single person at my insurance company and have no idea what’s happening with my claim, but at least the adjuster took the time to call a random car rental place and send them my information … but didn’t tell me she was doing that.
I explain to the Enterprise person that I’m already in a car and have been since Saturday. Luckily, I’m in an Enterprise car, it’s just one from the branch that’s actually in my part of town. She’s very helpful and says she’ll send my insurance information over to that branch and I should be covered.
Still no call from the insurance adjuster, though.
Thursday morning comes and goes. Thursday lunchtime comes and goes. So, I call the adjuster again. This time, I’m put through to a colleague, and I explain everything to her. She offers excuses as to why I haven’t heard anything at all – they’re really busy, lots of claims, it’s the holiday season, whatever – and I just let it go. I mean, she’s not in control of staffing and is clearly trying to head me off before I get angry and that’s fine. At this point, I just want to know what in the hell is going to happen with my car. That’s all.
She tells me that they will send an appraiser out to assess the car’s damage and approve the repairs. In the meantime, she’ll connect with my adjuster and find out what’s going on and get back to me. Cool! Finally!
Then on Friday – a full week after the incident – the adjuster’s colleague calls me. I still have not spoken the adjuster, keep in mind. She tells me that they don’t know where my car is and have some other questions.
I tell her that I gave all of that information to my agent, who passed all of that information on to the adjuster. She asks me if my car is at RANDOM BODYSHOP because sometimes they do work there.
Taking a deep breath, I explain that no, my car is not at RANDOM BODYSHOP, I’ve never even been there, let alone mentioned it to anyone. I don’t know why they’d think it was there. It’s at my service center, and I give her the name, address, and phone number. She thanks me and says I’ll hear something soon.
The Christmas weekend happens, and Monday’s a holiday. On Tuesday, December 27, a post-Christmas miracle occurs, and I get a call from an adjuster.
A completely different adjuster than I had been given information for, but, still! An adjuster!
Who has no details on my case and was just assigned this out of the blue. He didn’t know it’d been more than a week since my car was damaged. He didn’t know where it was or what happened or in what stage of insurance wrangling I was in.
He explains to me that the person who is assigned claims in my area is on vacation and the appraisers they have aren’t available either. I’ll be getting a call from an appraiser they’re contracting with, who will go look at my car and approve the repairs. But, before that happens, I need to tell him where my car is.
Because of course.
The appraisers call me later that afternoon and I give them all of the information I’ve now given to 4,000 other people. She takes it all down and tells me she’ll get back to me soon.
In shocking twist, she actually calls me the next day (Wednesday) to say they looked at the car and approved the repairs and I should hear something soon.
The service center calls me on Thursday to say everything is sorted with the car, they’ve ordered the parts and I can probably get my car on Monday. YAY!
The weekend passes. Monday comes. And the service place calls me to tell me my car is done! And they’re happy to have me come get it … as soon as they get the check from the insurance company. Would I, by chance, have said check?
No, by chance, I do not. I haven’t heard a peep from my new adjuster nor have I received a check for the cost of the repairs. The service person asks me to call my insurance adjuster to find out where the payment is because he can’t release my car to me until they’ve been paid.
I get that. And I call my adjuster, who is out of the office for the new year holiday. I leave a voicemail explaining that my car is fixed and I need to know where the payment is so I can pick it up. I ask him to call me back ASAP.
So, yesterday, I wait for a return call. And I wait. Morning passes, lunchtime passes, early afternoon passes. I call the adjuster back.
He’s glad I called and was just getting ready to call me. But, can I hang on for a minute? He needs to find my paperwork and refresh his memory on the situation.
He comes back and our conversation goes like this:
Him: “We had assigned this out to an independent appraiser. Have they not called you yet? They should have called you last week!”
Me: “They did and approved everything. My car’s repaired. I need to know where the check is, so they can release my car.”
Him: “Oh! Let me see here … I don’t have any messages or information on that. We have a new system, so maybe it’s stuck in there. We’ve had some issues. Can you give them the name and number of where your car is and I’ll call them.”
Me: “Sure. Here you go. Again.”
Him: “I’m really sorry about this. You know we had to contract out the appraisal because people were on vacation and the holidays. And we have this new system. I’m not sure what happened. I’ll also call my supervisor and talk to him. I’ll get back to you ASAP.”
Me: “Sounds good.”
So, of course, I hear nothing by the end of the business day and make a mental note to call him again today. I get home, take my kid to tumbling, eat dinner, and begin the nightly routine of arguing with my child about getting ready for and getting into bed.
Then, surprise! My phone rings at 8:30pm! It’s the adjuster! He found information and wanted to let me know!
Apparently, the appraisers sent their approval and all of the paperwork necessary for payment to the local adjuster who is on vacation.So my (non-local) adjuster never received anything and the next steps didn’t get triggered because all of the paperwork was sitting, unread, in the other guy’s inbox.
The adjuster tells me everything is approved and he has all he needs. He’s going to call the service place tomorrow (i.e. today!) and get it all taken care of so I can get my car! HALLELUJAH!
Then, this morning, I get a call from the service center. My service guy says everything’s done, he’s exchanged messages with the adjuster, and wanted to see if I had information about how the insurance company would be relaying the payment. I, of course, have no clue, but the service guy seems unfazed and says he’ll talk to the adjuster and let me know.
However, while he has me on the phone, he wanted to let me know that the techs noted there were some scuffs and whatnot on my car and he wanted to know if fixing those was supposed to be part of the repairs, because if so, they may need their body shop to come in. I tell him that if they’re minor, I’m not worried about it and we leave it at that.
Less than five minutes later, that service guy calls me back to tell me he went to inspect the car and LO AND BEHOLD! THE DAMAGED FRONT BUMPER AND GRILL WERE NOT FIXED AS HE HAD BEEN LED TO BELIEVE. The tech who repaired/replaced the cooling system turned in the paperwork saying the job was done, so the service supervisor thought it was and called me to tell me so. The truth was the mechanical job was done, but the body job wasn’t.
In fact, the parts aren’t even ordered! And all of that was supposed to be fixed before I got my car back, because going through the bumper and the grill was how the rebar impaled my cooling system!
So, now, they need to move my car to the body shop and order the parts and get those fixed. He thinks I should be able to get my car back on Friday. Maybe.
And he’s still waiting to hear from insurance.
And I’m left mulling over what I should set as the over/under on my car actually being fixed and released before the end of this month.