February 26, 2013 at 12:26 am #606601
I’m hoping to get some advice on what to do…
This afternoon I was in a store parking lot parked in a spot finishing up a conversation on the phone and a truck pulled up next to me turned off the engine and the passanger was getting out of the car and the door swung into the side of mine. With all the wind we have been having lately it left a 3.5 inch crease on the side.
I’ve never been in this situation before so the first thought was to call the police and exchange information with the other car. The other party and I started talking and were pleasant with one another while I attempted to get my boyfriend on the phone to find out what he thought to do since he is the main policy holder. After looking at the photo my boyfriend determined that we need to collect their information because it looked pretty bad. So I went back in my car to get all the information and my license and the other party got back in their truck. I went back to their car and the driver informed me that we shouldn’t go through insurance and we can handle it out of pocket because it will be cheaper for us all. I said well I still would like both of your driver license information and the driver wouldn’t give his and suddenly the story changed to this wasn’t actually his truck and in fact it was his aunt’s and it was not insured. I just became very untrustworthy of the situation so I decided to still call the police to make a report because I wanted proof of what happened. The officer said that this was more of a civil matter, but he will go through the formalities of writing a report.
I have the passengers information that actually swung the door open and a police report number. When I called our insurance company apparently we don’t have coverage for this type of incident. They offered to do a background check on the plate of the other party to see if it is indeed insured as a courtesy. At this point I’m not sure what to do. The woman admitted she did it unintentionally and myself in one witness saw it, but I don’t know how to collect on getting this repaired. I am going tomorrow to get estimates at 3 different body shops, but after that I don’t know if we should call her with these estimates or seek someone from the legal field to contact her with the estimates etc?
Any suggestions?February 26, 2013 at 12:32 am #785191
Interesting post! I would say that if the person is credible and willing to work with you, it should probably be cheaper to not use insurance, so just go this way and have them pay cash to fix it for you. It was probably smart for you to document with the cops, because unfortunately people flake on their commitments all the time! But I wouldn’t see you needing to involve them again unless the responsible party skips out on paying you direct to fix.February 26, 2013 at 12:45 am #785192
It’s best when they give you their number to call it when they give it to you and see if their phone rings. If it doesn’t, I’d start asking questions. But if you’re fairly certain that you have the person’s real contact info, don’t be afraid to deal with it that way. I did this once when I accidentally took out someone’s tail light and it all worked out alright.February 26, 2013 at 1:12 am #785193
This would be un/underinsured motorist insurance coverage. typically, most people have this even on a minimally insured car. I’d check the policy to make sure.February 26, 2013 at 4:36 am #785194
I would first see if the individuals in this case actually pays up first before contacting lawyer. If your insurance company won’t act as your representation and you have to seek out a third party its best to just work it out directly with the offender if possible.
As to contacting the police. My assumption would be that the offending party was probably not present and a citation wasn’t issued (because this occurred on private property) when the police finally arrived. In terms of proving guilt etc. The police report doesn’t actually do anything (which is why the cop stated that it was a civil matter).February 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm #785195
Thank you for all your feedback!!
We will call Allstate back today to find out about our policy again. If our insurance company won’t act on our behalf then we will first contact her by phone. My fear is that this will not be an easy situation mainly because she was annoyed I called the police. When they started to change the story from this is my husband’s work truck to it’s not our truck and oh wait we don’t have insurance… it causes a person to naturally doubt them.
I’m somewhat disappointed/frustrated with the police officer as well. I find it very strange that when the officer came to the scene he did not take all parties drivers licenses and go back to his car to do a scan/background check etc. I’m not an expert by any means, but I thought this was standard protocol??? Also, when they are sitting there and admitting to me that they are driving without insurance why would the officer not check this and issue a citation if this is found to be true?February 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm #785196
I see your frustration but here is the thing. They dented your car, you want it fixed. The easiest way to do this might be to avoid police and insurance. Have you had an honest conversation about whether they are willing to pay after you get estimates? Because if this costs 500 bucks, even if they had insurance, they likely wouldn’t use it for this (as cheap as deductible on most coverage). So I would focus on the relationship and trying to get this cash commitment out of them. If they baulk, then go to other means necessary.February 26, 2013 at 5:05 pm #785197
2pups, I don’t know about checking the licenses, but it may be for the same reason he couldn’t cite them for driving without insurance. He didn’t see them driving. Each could claim the other was driving, or claim it was a third party who had gone somewhere else by then. The only proof he had was your word against theirs.February 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm #785198
Police won’t get involved in automobile collisions on private property, unless there are injuries. Parking lots are private property. Happened to me once, too! Hope you can get this worked out ok.February 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm #785199
About a year ago, I accidentally bumped someones bumper, while parking. I got out checked and there was no damage to either vehicle. The woman checked her car and said no damage. We went our separate ways. About 10 days later I got a nasty letter from her insurance company claiming I did $600.00 dollar damage to her car. My insurance company paid 50/50 for fault. But they said when in doubt take photos of both cars at the time.February 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm #785200
If I may ask, why didn’t you challenge this? I am assuming it likely caused your insurance rates to go up since your insurance paid it? Also, was your deductible not higher than the actual cost? I am curious because I feel like this happens often and want to know why people go through insurance for minor damage like this. Did you settle because you didn’t have any “proof” that there was no damage?February 27, 2013 at 4:59 am #785201
@2pupsfulloflove, insurance is required for operating a vehicle on a public roadway. The Officer could not have cited them in a private parking lot. Same goes for vehicle accidents. Unless there is an injury or the offending vehicle flees the scene its considered a ‘civil matter’. I am actually surprised SPD bothered to respond. Several police departments have a standing policy not to respond to these types of situations.February 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm #785202
I didn’t have proof, but a photo would have cinched that. Also my insurance only paid 50%, and no my rates didn’t go up. I had a knock on wood perfect driving record for 30 plus years!February 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm #785203
Check out Dent Wizard. I had an “oops” in a parking lot and they were able to pop it out without any paint buckling or any evidence it had ever happened, for about $100. http://www.bellevuedentwizard.com/
The caveat is that you have to get the car in there within something like 48 hours before the dent “sets” because the longer it goes, the harder to pop it back into place. (their words, don’t know whether it’s true)
Anyway, they were incredibly nice, helpful, and best of all, CHEAP. They used a device that looked like a massive hair dryer to heat the spot, and it popped riht back into its original position and shape. It’s worth giving them a call – at some point your time and aggravation will outweigh just getting it fixed and sending the person the bill. And they’ll likely be thrilled it’s only a hundred bucks.February 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm #785204
I went to four different auto repair shops that are GM/Cadillac certified. I thought it was going to be a simple “pop” out, but she creased the flair above the Escalade’s tire. Basically the frame is ruined. All the estimates were around $1,100. Amazing how something so small can add up fast! Still waiting to hear back from Allstate about whether the other party does in fact have insurance. Police report is not ready yet either. This is the first “accident” that has happened to the car which is why I think I’m taking it so hard :( I know it’s just a car, but when you take care of your things and make the extra effort to park away from other people it’s just frustrating! Ok I’m done venting!! The sun is out and I’m going to take my 2 pups out before we get the rain :)
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