Dealing with the insurance company of the party that hit you can be a problem. When my son was in college, he had a vehicle that was in my name. He loaned the car to a family in his church so that they could drive their daughter back to another college after the daughter’s break. Our car was hit head on by an older woman who veered out of her lane. It was entirely this older woman’s fault. Fortunately, nobody was injured. However, our car was declared a total loss. The first problem that occurred was when my son went to get a loaner vehicle to drive. The insurance company agent of the woman who totaled our car said that she didn’t have a police report. My son then got the report and took it to the insurance company. The next excuse that the insurance company made was that the computers were down and it couldn’t do anything that day. The next day my son was told that he was under 25 and that a car couldn’t be rented to anyone under that age. At this point he called me and I asked for the name and telephone number of the insurance person. My son said, “Dad, don’t blow a gasket. What are you going to do?” I replied, “I’ll tell you when I get you a car”.
I had my graduate assistant in the office and I called the insurance company. When I started to get the run around, I told the insurance person that if I had to make the 50 mile trip to straighten out the problem, I would charge for my time. I then signaled my graduate assistant who yelled out, “Dr. Triedaq, you are needed in the lab stat”. I then apologized to the agent and said, “I have an emergency and I’ll call you back”. She replied, “No need. I will order a rental car for your son right now”. I wasn’t lying, as I was needed in the computer lab to help resolve a problem. Twenty minutes later, my son called and said that a rental car was delivered to his door.
The next day, the claims adjuster called from the company and said that our car was totaled and that he would send a check for $3150. I had checked the book price of the car and called the dealer who knew my car. I found that my car was worth between $3900 and $4200. I told the claims adjuster that I would not accept less the $4000 for the car. He replied that he had a computer accurate printout of our car’s market value. I told him that market price was what I would have to pay for a car and I requested that he locate a car equivalent to the car that was totaled and get a guaranteed price from the dealer. I would then either take that car or a check. The adjuster replied indignantly, “I do not go shopping”. I responded, “When I do consulting work I am paid $100 an hour. I will charge you the time it takes me to shop for a car”. He then said “I don’t have to listen to this crap”, and hung up. I figured that I didn’t care how log it took because we had the rental car that the insurance company had furnished. The next day, the claims adjuster called back and said, “We have to get together on this car settlement”. I responded , “Young man, I want two things from you. Number one is an apology for your conduct on the telephone yesterday and number two is a check for $4000 for the 1988 Taurus your insured party destroyed”/ The claims adjuster responded, “I am putting a check for $4000 in the mail today; When you get the check, send back the title to the car”. He then hung up. I got one of the two things I asked for, but decided that the check for $4000 was the better of my two requests.