Some Bonehead Just Hit My Car!

While walking through the parking garage, I noticed someone pulling out directly across from my car. CRUNCH.

Some bonehead backed right into it as I stood ten feet away. She got out and looked and started heading back to her driver’s door when I said “that’s my car.”

I tried to draw a diagram but I have no skills in that area. The way the parking lot is set up is that if she goes straight back to exit her space, it will hit my car right on the side. Which is what happened. She went straight back and hit my passenger side door and front panel by the wheel.

She gave me her insurance card which I went in my office and copied. She said my damage wasn’t that bad and maybe she and I could “pull out the dents”. Yes, I’ll be getting right on top of that.

I wasn’t particular upset and just shrugged it off as the fender bender it was. However, when I was on the phone with her insurance company opening a claim, my assistant rushed in waving her business card and saying she doesn’t want me to report it. Too late.

My question is, since none of this was my fault, should her insurance have to pay for not only my damage but a rental car for as long as it is a body shop? What else should I be aware of in this situation? I just want my car fixed and to be inconvenienced as little as possible. Thanks for any words of wisdom.

Leave it to your insurance company to deal with. They’ll subrogate it with her insurance company.

When I phone my insurance company, they advised me to phone HER insurance company so I don’t even have a claim opened with my own.

Yep, it was her fault, so it makes sense to deal with her insurance company exclusively.

A tip from a guy who has been there:

Don’t let them beat around the bush. They will pay for your rental while your car is being repaired. If they say they won’t, just remind them that you might just claim lost wages instead.

You did not say what company she was insured with, but unless they are a real fly by night operation I doubt you will have much of a beef about a rental car.
One word of warning, however. They will not be renting you a brand new Mercedes. Most likely they will pay for a bottom of a line or one step up from the bottom of the line car.

Thanks Rick. It is Travelers so hopefully they will be okay. The rep came out to my work this morning and took pictures. I was a little ticked this morning when I tried to open my passenger side door and it wouldn’t open. The damage was worse than I thought.

Now I need to call the dealer and arrange to have it fixed. A friend told me that the dealership sometimes does the leg work regarding arranging to have a rental car. I’ll ask. That would be terrific if I could just drop off the car and have the rental waiting.

Crud. I was hoping this was going to be easy but apparently not. The adjuster just called and said they are sending me a check for 900 dollars and I need to get it fixed for this. Also, they want me to drop off the car early on a monday morning so it will be done fast because they only want to pay one day of a car. If I don’t like it I was told to go through my own insurance.

All I want is my car fixed. Geez. I don’t need a hassle nor a fight. Hopefully the dealership can work with these people.

Don’t accept a $900 check. You can’t control how long or how much it costs to get fixed. You need to get estimates from several body shops, and don’t settle for any less.

I’d tell the adjuster to go fly a kite, and tell her you want all further communication faxed or e-mailed to you so you have documentation. Tell her you’ll be getting estimates and will e-mail them to her and you’ll expect them to reimburse you fully, including a rental for the time your car is in the shop. If she balks, ask to speak with her supervisor. They are trying to get you to settle on the cheap.

Good luck.


Even the paint job is going to be more than that.

My friend’s insurance only paid a set amount a day and the rental company (supposedly) only had more expensive cars available. She had to pay the overage.

And yeah, $900 won’t fix the damage you described. Sorry you have to keep dealing with this.

Call your insurance company. Deal with them in getting your car fixed, and then let them go after the other insurance company. I had a similar situation and my company handled everything, down to starting litigation when the other insurance company would not act.

I got more than 900 when I had a tiny fender bender where literally the only damage was to my front left turn signal and fender.

When my scooter got backed into I got $765.

I’d be asking them where their adjuster get that figure.

One of the only good things I got out of being married to an insurance adjuster was learning how to deal with that system.

Well, great. I’ll take all the help I can get!

I know when my car was hit last time…(same parking lot) but this one was a hit and run, it cost me 1500 and that was a scratch down the side and a paint job. No replacement quarter panel!

Why do they have to make this so hard? I am considering calling the person who hit me to get on top of this as their customer. An interesting twist is my company does business with hers and I am sure she doesn’t want to alienate a client. Hate to play that card though.

Don’t call the other insured. Just call the insurance company. I’ve found the best tack is to talk to them like they have already agreed to it and you are just clearing up the details. Be matter of fact and and firm but not jerkish. Try to develop a rapport with the adjuster, get the quotes lined up and in order and off to them promptly.

This can be a real problem if you’re tall like me. Trying to get them to understand that you don’t want a better car so much as a bigger one into which you can actually fit can be an exercise in frustration.

Another thought: don’t you have to tell your insurers of the accident? You do in the U.K.; the form of words often being, “I am no currently making a claim on my policy but reserve the right to do so.”

Do not cash the check from the other person’s insurance company. Amongst other things there is most likely a “release of liability” form there, by cashing the check you are agreeing that that $900 is the final settlement…so if the body shop says it’s, say, $1200, you are SOL. When my pickup got hit from behind, resulting in minor dents on the step and tailgate, the insurance estimates were anywhere from $1800 to $4000 to fix it. Most of that was labor associated with repainting; it can be surprisingly expensive.

Get three written estimates from places you trust. Don’t just ask them to look at the dent, have them check the vehicle for damage that you may not have noticed.

I don’t know the laws in Florida but in California if there’s an accident and it involves more than $750 in damages then an accident form must be filed with the DMV. I would check with your DMV and local PD and get all the paperwork filled out properly. This will help establish who did what - you don’t want her claiming a week later that she never hit you or something. It’s not an unpleasant task, you’re just obeying the law (and watching out for yourself).

In my case I went through my insurance company (after getting yanked around by the guilty party’s insurer, that’s another story). They sent an adjuster out to give me an estimate and they recommended a body shop. I got two other estimates, both of which were substantially higher (what a shock), and the middle-of-the-road one explained in great detail what he was going to do and why, where he’d use OEM parts, etc. I notified my insurance company that that’s who I’d go with. The other insurer said they’d have to send an adjuster out to examine the vehicle as well (she arrived at an estimate larger than the body shop did).

At this point, once my insurance company agreed that everything looked kosher and they’d handle the paperwork I got it in writing to proceed and had the bodywork done.

My insurer paid the body shop, less my deductible which I had to pay out of pocket. They then filed a subrogation with the other insurer, saying “You owe us $X and you owe Valgard $500 for his deductible”. They are supposed to send a check to my insurer who will then reimburse me for my deductible. Since the whole mess was not my fault my insurance rates have not gone up.

Going through your insurance company adds a layer of bureaucracy and potentially annoyance to the process, but they are more likely to be able to get their money back from the other person’s insurance without yelling and screaming. If you deal directly with her insurance keep in mind that their mindset is “Settle this for as little as possible” and you may feel pressured (or stonewalled) by them to settle for far less than you should. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Get EVERYTHING in writing. Keep a log of any calls you make (date, time, who you talked to and what was said). You will be glad that you did.