Shark Bite

Okay, so since the title processing company says that the totaling of the vehicle for collision came explicitly off a transmittal form straight from the insurance company, the question becomes who sends those and why was this one sent as collision? Automated system saves the day. In one of the round of new phone calls back to the insurance company or rather to the “helpchoiceclaimcenter”, of which of course there are several, besides the fact of claim or customer service, or is claims customer service or customer service claims and for 21st or Farmers, anyway, this time they were all busy and got the automated which has you put in the claim number, which I have now and wow, up pops another adjuster name and phone number (guess they forgot to delete their automated system), so of course I call him. He’s been moved off the claim, all of the 21st century claims, of course, over to Farmers, and also from office adjuster to field adjuster. Now another thing I’ve learned is that normally that would be a demotion because many insurance use “just anybody” for field adjusters and reserve their “professionals” for office personnel, but Farmers, as I understand has a totally different modality. They tout themselves as using only degreed professionals for field adjusters, who “know what they’re doing”.  This is the order in which this procedure works for those who don’t know; you call in to report a claim and it is taken by a “first report of loss” person (I know, how original) who then turns it over to the office adjuster who assigns it to a field adjuster, who goes out and inspects the damage and does an evaluation, which he then turns into the office adjuster, who reviews it and if it’s a total loss, now sends it to a total loss team, at least for Farmers. Now for 21st the office adjuster himself would send the total loss paperwork for salvage title to the title processing company the insurance company has hired to do such things if that is the case or if not, the person at the insurance company itself. In the case, this means that the adjuster named on the automated system was the one to send this information to the title processing company. However, since he’d been pulled off those claims he no longer had access to that system to be able to see the claim record to know why the vehicle had been totaled. However, to go back again, in this process of finding out where these electronic records are technically “stored” or rather where the main claims center is, I’d been given yet another name for the adjuster and contacted him. He told me that in the claims process either one of the adjusters or the “first report of loss” person pulls a CLUE or ISO report, which would have shown up the collision that was reported that was with the other vehicle. However, that collision didn’t really do much damage, not enough to total the vehicle. But the fact that it wasn’t reported even though it involved another vehicle could be a factor. As I would google as I would wait on hold on these myriad phone calls I ran across sites that said to talk to title people at dealership, etc. because often they would actually know more about the process than the people at the DMV itself. So in my conversations with the title processor herself at the title processing company, which is actually a vehicle auction company, she told me that even though the insurance companies in this state are mandated by law to total a vehicle at a certain threshhold they actually have discretion to do it at a lower level for different reasons, not reporting an accident involving another vehicle being one of them, especially if there’s an issue of them being at fault, which in this case even though, at least supposedly in this case the police report did not find this insured at fault, the other party’s insurance did and was trying to claim damages, although somehow they had obtained this insured’s insurance information but since it was reported it still would show up on the report pulled when she filed this claim and that would not be good. So as part of trying to find out about this report I was told that underwriting would be the ones to handle that after it was pulled in determining the future status of the insurance policy, meaning it could be that the policy was cancelled over this rather than them cancelling it themselves. However, once again this proved to not be the case because it was a 21st century claim so once again we’re routed back to the “helpchoiceclaimscenter”, to the people who had earlier looked at the claim record, which by now of course had been retrieved from archives (remember that?), and told me that  50% had been deducted for prior damage and confirmed that it had indeed been totaled for collision. But the question still remained as to why if only 50% considered prior damage, which would be the collision, leaving 50% for the hail damage, especially since the prior damage on the report would not account for 50% of the total damage to the vehicle. So I then re-contacted the adjuster I’d been given by the automated system to get an explanation of the process. Thus,  the field adjuster himself does not even necessarily go by the report; he actually may not even see that; that possibly only comes into play by the office adjuster who might adjust the field adjuster’s evaluation, which is on further records of the claims record than just the notes that the claims center is able to see. The rest is only accessible by the assigned adjuster on the legacy team. However, I know that there was another “collision”, in quotes because it involved a run-in with a deer, with the deer hitting the car in the driver’s side fender (even though she said door; explain how know later) with those normally not considered collision, with that term usually only used if considered avoidable thereby if not avoided driver considered to be at fault. If considered unavoidable it’s typically processed under comprehensive as well, meaning like hail damage.  So there still should have been no reason for the vehicle to have been totaled under collision. Except that, once again, this incident had not been reported by the insured nor a claim filed on it. If it had been the 50%  deducted would normally have come into play if there had been a prior settlement yet no repairs had been made to the vehicle 50% of that settlement would now be deducted from this one because of that. But  what happens in situations like this is that when you do finally file a claim and a field adjuster comes out they are required to not just make an evaluation on the claim you actually filed on but they are required to also make an evaluation on any prior damages they notice on the vehicle and then either give an estimate for the whole cost of repair or make a determination as to what percentage of the damage is due to prior damage. Then the office would be given the notice that this prior damage had not been reported nor filed on, thus giving reason to close the case under collision rather than comprehensive without even making a determination regarding the incident, simply because it had not been reported but had to be seen by the field adjuster working a later claim. So now, conceding that the vehicle could be deemed to be totaled collision for possibly nothing actually related to the actual percentage of damages to the vehicle we now had to determine those percentages in order to decide what would be deemed to need to be repaired in order to now decide whether to pursue applying to receive a rebuilt title or continue to pursue the hail damage route by challenging the adjuster’s decision, which actually we would not be able to do; that could only be done by the insured, so I suppose I should say, more to the point, to decide whether to continue to pursue trying to see if we could get them to do so,  since we now could not get a good one without that being done. Now we had seen the vehicle and it still did not appear to have 50% damage to the driver’s side fender (or door) from the deer collision, although it did have a dent, so I now contacted the person that we had seen the vehicle from. And he told me his daughter’s boyfriend beat it out. So that does seem to indicate it could have that much damage before, so now we’ll concede that point. Hm, where does that leave us now?  Normally what’s considered a repair involves replacing parts for which you should get a receipt that you have to have to turn in with your application for rebuilt title.  However,  one of the other differences as I understand it  in this state and that one is that you can do the repairs yourself and value your labor, thereby writing a receipt from yourself. However, that’s another question for that local DMV. He also had gotten estimates for the repair from several body shops ranging from about $2400 to $4200, which he was unwilling to pay – amazing the difference, isn’t it? makes you wonder what figures the insurance adjuster uses? according to the discretion I was told they have, I would think it could make a difference as to whether they want to total your vehicle out based on, oh, I don’t know, maybe such things as not reporting prior claims, just saying. However, the title processing company did say the insurance company said the cost to repair was almost the cash value of the car, so of course we’re not sure what figure they used for that. I know it would be valued now at $6K. I do know the insured did try to dispute the totalling but if you have that kind of history with the company I doubt you would get far, which is why I doubt we would really be able to go that route now but we might. However, that’s another story.

One issue to bring up again at this point is that at this time he did not know the issue he would run into if, after having paid for the repairs, had he had that done, if these body shops had not been licensed rebuilders, he still would not have been able to get the vehicle titled in his name. The only way to do that, short of him obtaining his own rebuilders’s license, would be for him to go through an established rebuilder. Now, had he known this situation at the time, he could possibly have presented it to the body shops and they could potentially have pointed in a direction of a rebuilder. But since he didn’t he didn’t and they didn’t. Then he still didn’t know it when they proceeded to repair it themselves. However, when he found out, had he been willing to go back to the body shops he’d talked to and told them what he’d run into they still might have willing to direct him at that point. It would have been better in some ways to have done this before they repaired it, though, because a rebuilder might not be willing to get involved after the repair but that would possibly depend on that particular one; however, true enough, if they didn’t know you, it could present a problem, although possibly that could be overcome with the proper documentation, which, once again, normally would be receipts for replacement parts but in this case could be simply a signed and notarized affidavit for what was done. However, the whole rebuilder aspect is a nonissue for taking it out of state but the documentation of how repaired may not be. But the real issue is that nothing was done so the title has remained in the previous owner’s name with them not realizing that thinking this had long been taken care, wondering now what’s been going on for the last 1-1/2 years.

 Nowfor a whole other aspect of this whole vehicle situation. In addition to all the title issues, this vehicle also had engine issues. Somewhere in all of this process while the insured still had it, whether this was before or after the hail damage and/or collision, it began to develop an engine knock/tap or sorts, meaning going to require major engine work but still driveable for the present. This was known at the time of sale; however, another aspect of this involves who that actually involved, which I won’t get into right now. However, what it does mean is that who actually did physically purchase the vehicle and sign the bill of sale promptly proceeded to finalize the engine demise. At some point then is when it was turned over to the daughter – it was her boyfriend at the time who had done this – and her father, which is who we’d been dealing with. He purchased a new engine and  either this boyfriend or a subsequent one (which would be understandable one, would it not?) , another friend or at least somebody they either knew or somewhat hired helped him rebuild the engine, which is also what she had wanted to have done as well, although I believe she was going to have it professionally done, as she assume that he would have, so she expected it to have long been done and this title issue already taken care of. And had he gone ahead and attempted to do before he took care of the engine issue, which has nothing to do with the title, he would have found this out before he put in all that expense, hence there not being an issue of wanting to be reimbursed so this whole issue could potentially have already been resolved by simply returning the car and getting the refund for what was paid for it but that’s not what was done.  So somewhere in all of this she thought we were only interested in this vehicle for this engine; hence why she didn’t understand why we were needing to obtain all this documentation. However, that was never the case. It was something we considered ourselves with all the issues surrounding this vehicle; however, this engine is not compatible with the vehicle we have so we cannot use just it.

So apparently while I spent the day obtaining the insurance information she contacted the my state DMV and told them she would not be signing any papers pertaining to this vehicle, which in itself is not a problem, since the whole point of all this was to take the vehicle out of state, hence not going through this state’s DMV.  However, it somewhat does cause a problem with the paper I spent all day obtaining from my state’s local DMV office to send out of state because as I said earlier she is the one who technically needs to sign the paper although possibly not necessarily. However, that’s part of what needs to be resolved with the local out of state DMV office.

However, she also she was going to contact the my state DMV again to see what she could do about turning this salvage title into a parts only title so it truly could not be sold so she could ensure that she would be completely eliminated from any involvement with it.  

So  in addition to now back to contacting that local DMV again and telling him what I’ve found out – that, no, turns out it was not totaled for hail damage but for collision but repair has been made and see what now..

will also need to contact my state DMV as well to see what would be involved in that being done and how that would impact what we are trying to do


About donnainthesouth

I'm a transplant, born up north but raised in the middle, now I'm down here where you don't see too many snowflakes; I'll probably post just about as often (here at least)
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