Claims-R-Us

Sometimes I Don’t Know My Own Strength

You’ll recall that by distracting a random-but-extra-hapless automobile driver, I involved the human female in a rear-end collision, which left her beloved little blue car languishing at the autobody shop, waiting for Claims-R-Us to cough up the money for the repairs.  As much as I would like to pretend that all is now well, and as much as I abhor emotions of the ovine variety, I must sheepishly admit that things went from bad to worse…  My little traffic spell sort of snowballed.

To the point that this was the humans’ recent shopping list.

unhappyCRV4

For, lo!  When the repair shop finally got an estimate from Ho-hum Claims-R-Us, they began work on the vehicle. When they opened the rear door, they found a nasty surprise.

unhappyCRV

Turns out that Mr. Highway Sonata had submarined right up under the poor CRV and crumpled up the floor in the cargo area.  See that bulge behind us?  Yeah, that’s supposed to be  _flat_.

Aaaaand, since the car is seventeen years old and worth about what you’d pay for a large popcorn and a soda at the local cinema, the insurance company decided to total it.

unhappyCRV2

The human female had to decide whether to walk away from what was essentially a family member with four round rubber feet or take the money, buy the car back from the insurance company for blue-book value minus salvage, repair it, and always wonder if the collision had damaged the frame so that it wasn’t entirely safe.

After some anguish and far too much whining for my taste, she decided to go talk to:

unhappyCRV3

Who actually had a very nice used CRV at a decent price.  So now, instead of an ancient, bright blue little car, the human female has a slightly newer, boringboringboring silver little car.  She got all choked up when she went to the repair shop to clean out the sad old car.  (I saw to it that she forgot to get the parking hang tag when she did so, so there’s the fun of replacing that to look forward to!)

So she’s moderately happy.

She’d be happier if I hadn’t put my meddling little paws on the situation again.  (Satisfaction is not in my nature, and I couldn’t allow things to be neatly resolved!)  Percy from Claims-R-Us told her there’d be papers to sign so the title of the old car could pass to them.  It was very, very important that she sign the originals and get them back to him promptly!  She waited for the e-mail with the documents.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, an email arrived!  Consisting entirely of instructions on how to sign the back of the title.  Nothing else.  So she contacted Claims-R-Us.  Nope!  That’s it!  Way to obfuscate, Percy.  Now she just has to wait for the check to arrive at Claims-R-Us so that an exchange of hostages (check for title) can proceed.  Oh, and wait for the Honda folks to finish the wheel alignment and detailing they promised to do on the new car.  And wait for the new car’s old owner to drop by the spare keys.

We’ll see how long I can s  t  r  e  t  c  h   this out!   Bets?

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In Not-So-Good Hands

Ehehehe.  Thanks to my machinations, the human female’s little car continues to be a giant blue doorstop in the driveway.  It’s been over a week now, and she’s still trying to get it fixed.  The angst–and the paperwork!–are piling up.  I’ve munched through three batches of popcorn, just sitting here and enjoying the show.

insurancepaperwork

She’s started numbering her notes just so she can keep them straight.  So far, the claims process looks like this:

  1.  Call for a preliminary estimate from Totalprovince  (her carrier.)   This involves
  2.  Downloading an app which requires (all sorts of phone acrobatics) and then
  3.  Taking and uploading photos.

When the estimate comes back the next day, it absolutely is just a preliminary estimate.  There could well be supplemental expenses, since probably not all the damage is visible.  Of course, the humans have questions, so the human female needs to:

4. Call Totalprovince again.  This is when she learns that putting the claim through Allstate will affect the deductible, which at this point, is essentially zero. Even though it wasn’t her fault!  The helpful person on the phone directs her to call the Express Team and something something something about the “Claim Owner.”

5.  Calling the Express Team nets the human female the recommendation that the she take the process through the other party’s insurance carrier, which should be listed on the accident report.  Very well.  The human female instructs her insurance agency to put her claim with them on hold.  The helpful young man on the other end of the phone tells her that it could get marked “closed,” but it wouldn’t really be…

6.  Logging in to the city’s accident report hub gets her a surprise!  She will have to pay for a copy of the accident report.  Insult to injury!

7.  Since she’s too cheap to do that, she looks back at the text she got from the man who rear-ended her and finds his insurance carrier, Ho-hum,  and policy number.  She looks them up online and finds the local phone number.

8. The helpful person at Ho-hum’s local office instructs her to call the main number for the carrier, which is in a different state.

9.  That number rings disconnected. So she calls the local office again, talks to a different person, and gets a different number.

10.  This number works, but the policy number provided by the other party doesn’t match anything.  It’s missing a digit, maybe?  Okay, they’ve managed to find him by his name–he was just  missing a “2.”  Progress!

Well, not so much.  This office can’t do anything, since they outsource all their claims to a third party company, Claims-R-Us.  She needs to call them!

11.  So she does!  She even gets a name for the adjustor handling this case.   Let us call him… Percy.  Of course, Percy is not available, but she does at least have a name now!  She leaves a message.  Wow.  She’s starting to sound a little frayed around the edges.

At this point, she has wasted the better part of the afternoon.  But is she done?  Certainly not!  She still needs to:

12.  Call Totalprovince again and ask them if they can please do what she pays them to do and cut through all red tape.   They promise to try.

13.  Text the guy who hit her and ask him to double check his policy number, just in case she ever gets through to someone who can actually help.

Totalprovince calls back and tells her that she needs to speak to Percy at Claims-R-Us.  If you ever meet the human female, you will recognize her by the flat spot on her forehead from where she bangs it on the desk on days like this.

Huzzah!  The Percy the Adjustor called back!  Of course, he called while she had a student in her office, so she had to ask him to call back.

14.  At last!  Percy calls back, takes her information–which he didn’t have because Mister Guilty Party somehow failed to relay any of it to Claims-R-Us, and promises to have someone drive out to look at her car and draw up an estimate.

She waits.  And waits.

On Thursday, an email from someone who is Not Percy shows up in her inbox.  Attached is an estimate.

estimate

Great Frigga’s hairpins!  That estimate is about $900 more than the estimate from Totalprovince.  Why so much?!

Ah.  Percy has written up the estimate to include replacing the rear hatch, the rear hatch glass, and the little Honda badge.  He also figures in repainting the rear body panel, and a lot of other things.  After puzzling over this, the human female comes up with the idea that perhaps he was including re-affixing some of the wiring on the rear heads-up brake light that is still dangly after the rear windshield was shot out last July.

15. The human female is too honest to let Percy or Claims-R-Us or Ho-hum pay for anything not related to the recent accident, so she writes them a polite email spelling out all the parts of the estimate that really don’t apply.  She ask them to give her an updated estimate.

You’d think the parties involved would jump at the chance to shell out less on this claim, wouldn’t you?  But that was last Thursday.  It’s MONDAY now and no word from Claims-R-Us.

Guess she’s gonna have to make another phone call.

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