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When Your Dream Car Turns Into a Nightmare

Mercedesbenzslr_2 It took a month for you to pick it out.  You looked at every magazine you could find to make sure you were making the right choice.  Consumer Reports solidified your decision.  You ventured to the dealership and let them know you would like the new Limited Edition Mercedes SLK55 AMG.

You ask the new car salesman if the car can be equipped with all the amenities you can think of.  Don’t forget those special order 17” rims and low profile tires! Finally …you have put together your dream car.  You write the check and the salesman lets you know that the vehicle is on back order and you can expect to have yours in 30-40 days.

So you wait. Then the call comes, telling you your car is in. You make arrangements to pick it up over lunch.  Do you call your agent? Or do you make the general assumption that everything is covered?

Then, just a few days later you wake up, look out your front window and someone is getting into your new car.  You rub your eyes one more time and see the car being backed out of your driveway.  What’s going on?

You call 911 and they tell you to call the police.  Can you ever find the number to the police station when you need it?

What is going to happen next?  You call your insurance company and report the claim.  You need a car; you are late for a very important business meeting across town.  Your insurance company sends over a Ford Focus with no power steering and a manual transmission.  This is not anything like your dream car! 

Your rental reimbursement coverage is $25 a day for a max of 30 days with a max payout of $750 and they did not want to exceed your limit of coverage.  A question to discuss with your agent will be about your rental coverage and the limits you currently have.

The insurance adjuster assigned to your case lets you know that a stolen car usually turns up in a chop shop or is found in a few days. 

Then you get a call saying they found your car, however, it has been in a police chase and has hit a telephone pole.  The adjuster says they can fix your car and things will be O.K.  You feel relieved - until you see your car.  Pictures reveal that the telephone pole was actually pushed back as far as your dashboard. 

In your mind, there’s no way they can fix the car. But the adjuster explains that due to the value of the car they have to fix it.   Of course this leads to many phone calls and discussions with your agent. 

What next?  You never dreamed this could happen.  You call your agent and explain that the rental car company has picked up your car because coverage has run out on your policy.  Your agent explains you only have rental car coverage for 30 days and the rest is out of your pocket.  The agent also lets you know that those rims and tires on the car were not insured and the front two need to be replaced.   Confused yet? 

In the same conversation your agent lets you know that he heard through the grapevine that your car may take a little while to get fixed.  Months go by and you have now been making your car payment as well as a rental car payment of $45 a day because you wanted a car more comparable to your dream car.  And there’s no word on when your car will be repaired.  What is going on?

Remember that your Limited Edition vehicle was on back order to begin with.   So where do you think your auto repair shop and insurance company are going to find parts when the auto manufacturer is still in the production phase of vehicles?  They won’t be able to.

Oh – and don’t forget about your deductible.  Are things starting to add up for you? 

This is a very short rendition of a very long, drawn out claim.  And it doesn’t end when your car is returned to you. What if you don’t like the way your car handles after it is fixed?  What if you have further damage that the insurance company did not find until you start driving it?

Whether this is a company car or a personal car, the claim could be very similar. Or it might even be worse if it is a corporate car and it’s needed for the operation of your business.

There are many things to consider when you purchase a new car. Don’t take for granted that the car is adequately covered by your insurance carrier.

Photo from Creative Commons

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