Transferred to consolidate same topic.
gerardwing Junior Member posted December 12, 2002 07:16 PM
Hello all, this is my first post. Apologies for any mistakes in protocol that I make. I have heard many horror stories about insurance companies paying Westy owners squat for Westys that their owners have paid significantly more for. I thought my recent experiences with an insurance company would be usefull to all Westfalia.org members.
Summary: Don't let the insurance company tell you your vehicle has X amount of Kelley Blue Book Actual Market Value when the actual market all around us places a substantially higher value on your bus!
Several years ago, I was thrilled to buy a well cared for '84 Westy with only 42,000 miles on the clock, a bargain at $6200. A few years later, a young woman ran a red light and struck me in the van. If it were not for my passenger jumping out and IMMEDIATELY writing down the license plate of a witness' car, it would have been difficult to prove that the young woman had in fact run the red light. (Nearby policemen who took a report would not cite the woman, as they themselves did not witness the event, and our star witness suddenly left the scene. My insurance tracked down the fellow's address, and he telephoned in a statement.)
My insurance philosophy: I only carry liability and uninsured motorist insurance. If I'm at fault at an accident, I figure I ought to pay big time. That'll teach me! If they're at fault, I figure they ought to pay.
After being relieved that no-one was hurt, I feared that the woman's insurance would total my Westy and only pay $4000, the vehicle's Actual Market Value as established by the Kelley Blue Book. With such a low sum, it would be impossible for me to fix the damage on the Westy. It also would be impossible for me to buy a similar westy for that sum.
I had read an article on the net titled "Insurance Madness" suggesting that you could argue that the actual market value of your vehicle was more than that established by the Kelley Blue Book. You could do this by showing the adjustor or anyone who would listen that the actual market value was higher, and here are copies of ads to prove it. I figured I had nothing to lose.
Sure enough, the adjustor came, took some photos, looked at the odometer, pushed some buttons on a laptop and offered me $4000. I said I couldn't replace the vehicle for that little. He said, "Okay, I have to transfer the claim to another person. By the way, how much do you think it's worth?" I stated "Not quite twice that much. Between $6 and $7 thousand." the adjustor said "Good luck. I don't know where you're going to find ads like that."
I got onto AutoTrader.com, and I searched vehicles for sale on various Volkswagen websites. I printed out webpage ads for vehicles all over the country. The ads all showed that the $4K figure was too low. I intentionally focused on ads from owners who took exceptional care for their vehicles, and who were asking upwards of $11,900 for a 1983 Westy with less than 12K miles on it.
The second adjustor stated that he would only accept 2 of my ads which were for 1984 Westfalias, and that he would average those ads in with the puported $4K value of my Westy. The Actual Market Value then jumped $2500 to $6500. Just for kicks, I suggested I thought the value was still to low. The adjustor stated "Well, there's nothing I can do then. You'll have to settle with your own insurance company, or else... you'll have to fax in more ads." I answered, "Oh, well, I can do that."
I suppose that was the wrong thing to say. I faxed over another 7 ads for 1984 Westys, some high mileage units with reconditioned engines, Wolfsburg editions, some with elaborate stereo systems, new paint jobs, auxilliary batteries, etc. The adjustor called back and said "I got your ads, but I'm only accepting ads from California." This changed the vehicles whose values he was averaging to two other vehicles, but of similar values. The purported Actual Market Value increased by $100.
I called it quits then. I suppose I could have pressed further, as there was only 47,000 miles on the odometer, but my Westy did have some problems I did not divulge- an intermittent start, a mysterious overheating problem, a broken CB radio, and a broken heater. The first adjustor also mistakenly thought I had automatic transmission and air conditioning. Besides, with taxes, the sum rose to $7350, which was significantly more than what I paid for the vehicle 3 years ago.
Next van camper may be a weekender, maybe a pre-smog westy, may be a Ford Econoline passenger van with a pop top. Who knows. At least I have some money to shop around with.
I'd be happy to discuss others' insurance nightmares and give advice to the extent that a layperson like me can at email@example.com.
Great list, Capt Mike. Hope someone can benefit from my experiences.
This is a good letter. I had not thought about this area as of yet. I have the same thing to go through as in addition to a 82 Westy I also have a bike with a sidecar. Insurance companies do not want to insure my sidecar for the full replacement value either.
Transferred to consolidate same topic.
mlamb Junior Member posted January 30, 2003 11:55 PM
Can anyone recommend a premium extended warranty program that they at least feel is legitimate & might be around in 10 years? Our dealer is selling Warrantech & 1SourceAutoWarranty.com is touted online. (With much trepidation I am inclined to try this since we will probably log about 100K miles in 10 yrs on our 2002 Eurovan Weekender, and our 1984 Vanagon Westy sure had expensive & endless repairs!)
Has your ability to get a VW Extended Warranty expired? Many manufacturer's allow a full year to add their extended warranty. It doesn't cost anything to ask VW. Dealers try to sell aftermarket warranties over manufacturer's because they have higher profit margins. They are, after all, insurance and the 'commission' varies greatly between brands.
I tried to go through American Collectors Insurance (through their tie-in with the Auto Club of SoCal). I got their written materials, visited their web site, and called several times to confirm the requirements. I sent in all the info and a picturem, as well as a check for $69. I thought $69 was cheap!
Within a week I received a rejection. My value was too low, the mileage was too high, and the bus had some surface rust.
My regular insurance is with Wawanesa, so I called them. Guess what? I now have full coverage insurance with much higher liability limits and no mileage restrictions. My net cost for the bus - $55. No inspection necessary. They asked me what it was worth and that is what they isured it for.
My purpose of this: check out your regular policy before trying the exotic carriers.
Larry in OB
Larry in OB
'69 Westy with rust
[Caution: American Collectors is what I consider 3rd tier as compared to Taylor, Hagerty or Grundy. First, they are not licensed in all states. In NC, they'll write my comprehensive & collision, but are not licensed for liability. I attended one of their seminars and they bad-mouthed the others and gave out false information. Their coverage has more personal use restrictions than most. And their premium for just the collision & comp wasn't competative. By forcing me back into street car insurance for liability, I'd be paying 3+ times what I pay Grundy. Street insurance charges by the car; some antique underwriters charge per driver, regardless of how many cars. Hey, you can only drive one at a time! All antique policies have limits. Be sure you understand yours. You'd hate to be driving home from a meet, get creamed when you stopped for donuts & coffee, and find out no coverage due to unauthorized use. -- Westy Tech.]
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 05-11-2010 at 07:29 PM.
Larry in OB
'69 Westy with rust
I just helped Mom through an insurance claim on her Vanagon with Montgomery Insurance, a member of Liberty Mutual Group. We dealt with the Charlotte NC office.
I hate being lied to. I don't argue the repairs on Mom's Vanagon would border on the totaling criteria (75% of replacement value), and we sure weren't going to battle that route when a brand new Jetta TDI sat in the drive. But . . .
The adjusters came and -- though they didn't have the courtesy to tell me -- came up with a reasonable repair cost and didn't try to bad-mouth the shop I do business with in favor of the typical insurance company's 'recommended' bondo/chop special joint.
But, to justify totaling, they wanted to deduct every other nick & scratch as a major repair. The come up with $1,200 dollars on a parking lot dent Dent Wizard would have taken out for $75 and a bumper cover refurbish that I'd already priced for $100. Another $200 in a super detailing and she'd have sold for a good grand above the NADA.
Which brings me to big lie #2. The 'adjuster' who didn't know a door ding from a door, tried to tell me that Mom's insurance policy required the NADA book would be the absolute only value accepted.
It took a little spouting of the applicable law, other guides like Old Car Price Guide, market price listings, auction prices, copies of the many ads (including this site) and some major threats to bring her bosses and the Insurance Commission into the act before she finally agreed to the conservative value I was willing to recommend Mom settle for. Perhaps she decided she had overstepped a little when I told her to go get the actual policy -- that showed was lying when she said the policy stated NADA value. It didn't -- it stated "replacement value" and I wanted to talk to her boss.
"Out of the office until Monday" and 'I'd really like to settle this before he gets back!' So that she could get in the last word, we let her "beat us down" $22 from what I recommended day 1.
We also got one last laugh. The Salvage Co. she contracted with, SADISCO, made and then failed to show up for their appointment (and didn't call). As a result, the had to tow a locked vehicle and left the keys behind. For a vehicle that was fully driveable and will probably be sold for repairing, dumb move.
So if you've got one of the Liberty Mutual Group policies, hold on to your oar; you might have have an upstream battle when you have a claim.
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 11-28-2008 at 12:00 PM.
I realize insurance companies are about 3 floors below telemarketers, but I'm experiencing another insurance company attempt at rip-off. A former foster child of ours was struck by another vehicle. Absolute no question on liability -- the jerk pulled out of a left turn only lane right into her. His insurance company was Allstate. Apparently thinking they had a young kid they could run over, they started spouting all sorts of garbage about what she would have to do in order to file a claim. They were a little taken back when she showed up with counsel (me under PoA). I caught their appraisor in half-dozen lies off the bat including the big one that they we HAD to use their parts vendors.
The vehicle was struck in the LF wheel sufficient to destory the hubcap and knock it out of alignment. It cut the tire, probably from the shattered fender liner. They are refusing to pay for the alignment and tire because "the tire was worn". Even after getting a certified tire tech to examine the tire from the inside and determine it was cut as a result of the accident. The other 3 tires had 40% of tread depth left.
They have dragged their feet on paying, even after acknowleding liability, and given her a royal run-around. 22 days later, still no payment. She had to pay the alignment & tire out of pocket to make the car driveable just to get it to the body shop (her model has the little donut spare). Can't get the repairs started until the check arrives. One of their excuses was the adjuster was on vacation. She's supposed to do without a car until the adjuster gets her butt back to work? I don't think so. I finally got to her boss, which at least started the paperwork.
We're starting the tired old routine. Since she isn't insured by Allstate, I have sent a certified mail, return receipt notice of claim to the policy holder/driver of the liable driver. Monday I'll file formal comlaint with the NC Insurance Commission. I'm quite prepared to take the driver to small claims court for the $185 due, assuming the body repair check finally arrives. On principle, not the money. One nice thing about accident liability, is the driver is the person to proceed against in court, not his insurance company. His insurance is a personal contract between him and his insurance company and the accident victim is not bound by the policy or their interpretation of liability, estimate or their 'rules'. Thus it's his name that will appear on the summons.
Will update as time goes on. In the mean time, if you're insured by Allstate, please don't hit me.
12/02/08: Filed complaint with NC Insurance Commission. Still no pmt. on claim, now 4 weeks.
12/15/08: Found out adjuster wasn't licensed; got all huffy when I asked. Told me to go ahead & sue them. Wish granted, lady!
12/20/08: After the complaint to the Insurance Commission, they agreed to (but did not pay until after the lawsuit was filed) part of the alignment but continue to refuse to pay for the tire. Lawsuit will go on.
12/29/08: Wish granted, Allstate. Suite filed for trial 16 February 2009. Wonder what the defendent will think of Allstate to see a lawsuit that Allstate could have settled for $185? Not to mention lost time from work.
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 03-28-2010 at 09:07 AM. Reason: Update.
Well, the trial was 16 February. Despite bringing in a rather nasty lawyer, conning the defendent into changing his story from the police report, and one of their own appraisors spouting an unsubstantiated 'poor maintenance' plea, they lost. The judge was a little smarter than that. He awarded the alignment, tire & court costs. Thus they paid more than the original invoice! This strikes me as real smart.
The defendent had to take ½ day off work; they lost the services of their hired witness for ½ day, and you wanna even guess what the lawyer is going to charge them? I've got friends who are lawyers and based on the witness count, amount of paperwork and court appearance, most say they couldn't get out for a $1,000 and $2,000 would be closer to the minimum.
So if you're insured by Allsate, please don't hit me!
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 02-17-2009 at 06:00 AM.
new to this world, just bought a 1994 westfalia and live in vancouver. any suggestions who i should insure it through. any help would be appreciated.
ICBC - I mean who else would you insure it with, that paragon of efficiency and wonder! Ha Ha
I get the minimum from ICBC and go private for the rest. You can set an insured value and have it as an RV, pleasure use only ie not work. (Not that it makes a difference)
What can I say ... another Alberta advantage is the insurance companies there ... but on the good side we have spring.
Mike '82 Westy Diesel
[Moderator Note: ICBC = Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.]
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 03-28-2010 at 12:07 PM.