Not At Fault: My First Time
Week one: I know I do not have comprehensive car insurance coverage. I have the absolute bare-minimum, legal requirement. For that reason, I assume I am screwed. I call the number on the back of my insurance slip, right at the scene of the accident. I make my first-ever insurance claim. I am not at fault and the other driver fully acknowledges that. The insurance company gathers the information and says they will be in contact with me soon.
Luckily, I have a good friend who lends me her van. She has it parked in my driveway as soon as I get home. I don’t hear back from the insurance company the next day, so I call the impound that the police told me my van would be going to. They have it and tell me when I can come by and get my stuff out of it. When I go, the impound manager is very friendly. I tell him how screwed I think I am. He says everyone he’s spoken to has said that they thought the insurance company treated them quite fairly. I pretend to be reassured by this, but I know he’s probably working for them in a plot to harvest my vehicle for free parts. I call and leave a few more messages for the insurance company. I just want to know when or if I will get my van back and how long it will take to make that decision.
Week two: I receive a call from the medical claims adjuster. We are all fine so I do not need to make a medical claim. He tells me I have 30 days to change my mind. I ask him about my van. He says someone else will be in contact with me regarding physical damage to my van. I continue to call the insurance company and receive no call-backs.
Week three: I start adjusting to life with the van I assume I will be driving from now on. My good friend has said I can keep it indefinitely. I’ve given up calling the insurance company and just assume I’ll get a small cheque in the mail for my old van someday. Then I get a call from the adjuster for physical damages. She says I am covered for a rental car and tells me where to pick it up. I ask her if my van is being written off. She can’t tell me yet but asks me to go to the impound and remove my licence plates. She says an appraiser will be in touch with me shortly and may have some questions. She says my claim is moving forward as not-at- fault.
Week four: An appraiser calls me on a Friday morning. He says they will probably be able to fix my van. He asks me where I want it sent to for repairs. I am surprised, but very happy to hear I will get my van back. That afternoon a second appraiser calls me. He tells me my van is a total write-off. He is rude, pushy and called from a local, unlisted number. He doesn’t know anything about the other appraiser. I tell him I would be calling my adjuster to ask about it. I call her right away. I try to catch her before the long weekend begins, but am unsuccessful. I also call back the other appraiser with no luck. I wonder all weekend if I will be getting my van back.
Week five: I learn the fastest way to get an insurance company to call you back. I call the body shop my van was going to. They tell me they don’t have it, but that it is supposed to be there by now. The first appraiser, the nice one, returns my call. He doesn’t know where my van is either or why this other appraiser had called me. I call the impound where my van was last seen. He does not have the name of the person who picked it up. Some where along the way, someone mentions it may have been stolen. I call my insurance company and get the voicemail as usual. I leave a panicked message, absolutely convinced my van had been stolen by this shady, second appraiser. I say I am going to be calling the police to report the theft, if I did not learn the whereabout of my van soon. Five minutes later, my adjuster calls me back. She says my van is on its way to the body shop I had requested. She says she has no idea why this second appraiser called but ensures me that he does not represent their company. Relief. A few days later I get the call that my van will be fixed and the deductible is waived as I was not at fault.
Week six: I get my van back. My first ever insurance claim is complete. Though it seems to go against everything I believe in, I can say I was treated fairly by this insurance company.