A smushed bumper doesn't seem like a huge deal, right? Unfortunately, she hit me hard enough that my hitch bent upwards, bending the frame and smashing a lot of pieces & parts on the car that the bumper was the least of anyone's worries.
My car was old. I get it. But it basically ran ok prior to the accident and after the accident, not so good. During all of the back & forth with Claims Adjuster #4 on the trailer, I had another one for the car, Claims Adjuster #5. I sent Enrique off to the body shop initially for a new bumper, hitch replacement and frame work to the tune of $6700. That is SIX THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS for a car that is worth $3800 on KBB. How is this possible, you ask? Why wouldn't they have just totaled it, you ask? The car was 12 years old, had 180k miles on it, and was literally worth $3800 - I had checked not too long before the accident. Who knows why Claims Adjuster #5 said that at $6700, we hadn't met the value of the car to total it.
I questioned this, believe me. A lot. Many times over. Over & over. At this point, it was about 6 or 7 weeks after the accident, a rear end which in the state of CA is an open & shut claim, the one who rear ends is always at fault. I have not one clue how my claim was strung out for so very, very long, but what I do know is that insurance companies do not want to pay you. They want to make the whole process so hard and so frustrating so that you go away.
Claims Adjuster #5 quickly turned into a manager, Claims Adjuster #6. I had received the check for the trailer so at least that was done. Only took 6 weeks. Claims Adjuster #6 seemed like she really wanted to resolve this for me. I was such a sucker, I believed her. Because it had been close to 8 weeks with no information on why my car wasn't totaled, I became pretty irate. I had gone to Tahoe for a work meeting and Enrique did NOT make it up the mountain. It was shuddering like an earthquake and had zero power. After a ton of research and calls to mechanics in Tahoe and many other attempts at figuring out what was going on, I deduced that it was the exhaust system, which would have gotten jammed in the rear end.
Granted, I am no mechanic, so as soon as I got home from Tahoe I took it back to the body shop. In rental car number 3, I waited AAA out again. For 2+ weeks. Claims Adjuster #6 was getting frustrated with me, telling me that there's no way the exhaust issues could be related to the accident. I called bull on that. Of course it could. It's all connected, the exhaust pipe was damaged in the accident and was fixed, yet it wasn't all fixed. I wanted my car to run the same way it did before I was hit. Not too much to ask!
Rental car #3 was a brand spankin' new black Ford Explorer with all the bells & whistles. The body shop could keep Enrique for as long as they wanted while I drove that dream! During this time, I told Claims Adjuster #6 that I refused to talk on the phone any longer because evey time I did, I had to retell my story, then received contradictory information from each and every claims adjuster. From now on, everything would be in writing over email. No more messing around.
AAA didn't bank on dealing with someone who works for herself. If I had been working at an office all day, I wouldn't have had time to deal with their shenanigans and would have just accepted what they offered. Alas, I make my own hours. If I need to spend 2 hours a day dealing with AAA to get what I rightly deserve, then I'll work 2 hours longer into the evening to get my work done.
Claims Adjuster #6 explained to me in an email why my car wasn't totaled at what was now a $7000 body shop bill. She said they used JD Power to do their evals and they're not all the same. Honestly, it had been over 2 months at this point and I didn't care what she had to say. This was ridiculous. I had a car that barely ran, a broken trailer and AAA was giving me the constant run around. I became more difficult and was passed to Claims Adjuster #7 who emailed me constantly saying that a phone call would be easier to explain. I would continually write back: I told all seven of you - email is the ONLY communication vehicle for us now because I'm tired of dealing with this.
Bonus time: Claims Adjuster #7 wrote the value they had placed on my car as $8100. It's actually quite hilarious. If anyone can find me a Craigslist listing of a 2004 Nissan Murano with 180k miles for $8100, I'll take you to lunch. It's just not possible. Lucky for me, they're idiots. I had been fighting this entire time to get my car totaled for $3800. Now they have given me a number of $8100 so why not use that?