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Buttercup
2013-Jun-01, 01:10 PM
Our rockwall fence has been repaired, and the insurance company covered $2,000.

There is still a $1,000 deductible to be paid.

Our insurance company is going after the party responsible for the damage to our wall (in December; a kid slammed the family van into it). The parents are covered by their insurance; the kid isn't.

Unfortunately (as I figured) the family is "having trouble" coming up with the $1,000. :mad:

We're not millionaires either, and I'm wondering if the insurance company will insist *WE* pay the deductible.

I've told husband we won't pay a penny. The insurance company will have to absorb the cost. I wanted a vacation to California...not a hole in a fence. :mad:

We can take the family to Small Claims Court (likely will have to).

But I'm wondering if anyone knows what the insurance company might do next. Will they drop us? Insist we pay? Keep after the family and their insurance company?

swampyankee
2013-Jun-01, 01:56 PM
My understanding of "deductible" is that your homeowner's is not responsible for that final $1000; it's a gamble you take to reduce the premium. I also live in a state in the Northeast, so our insurance laws are different (and probably more generous to insurance companies; Connecticut's insurance regulations are notoriously lax).

Follow up with your insurance company and ask to be put in direct contact with their homeowner's: the kid was (almost certainly) a member of the parents' household, in which case, torts that are his(her?) responsibility are covered by the parents' homeowner's policy or he was not, in which case he|she was covered by their car insurance: in the US, the vehicle is insured, not the driver. (if you borrow your parent's car and get into an accident, you are "covered" by the their car insurance)

So:
kid was part of household => covered by the homeowners policy
kid was not part of household => covered by the car insurance.

PetersCreek
2013-Jun-01, 05:09 PM
We're not millionaires either, and I'm wondering if the insurance company will insist *WE* pay the deductible.

I've told husband we won't pay a penny. The insurance company will have to absorb the cost.

I don't think you have a legal basis for that position. IANAL but my take on it is: I assume that the contract for repair of the wall was between you and the contractor, which would make you liable for any amount unpaid by the insurer. If you refuse to pay, the contractor will take action against you, not the insurer and not the other person who caused the damage. They weren't parties to that contract. When you purchased the policy (thereby agreeing with the terms) you assumed the burden of the deductible. In other words, you only bought enough insurance to cover part of your loss. The insurer will pay only what they agreed to pay.


But I'm wondering if anyone knows what the insurance company might do next. Will they drop us?

Depending on the laws in your state, they could drop you if they decide the risk of insuring you is greater than the financial benefit of doing so. I once had a coworker who was, along with his family, involved in a serious car accident due to no fault of his own. The insurer paid on the totaled car and medical bills...then promptly dropped his policy. As homeowner claims go, yours is a small one so I doubt they would drop you for it. But if you become what they see as a problem customer...


Insist we pay?

They won't insist you pay. They'll insist the deductible is your responsibility. Whether you actually pay the contractor or not is up to you. No skin off their nose.


Keep after the family and their insurance company?

If the insurer sues the other party or seeks subrogation through their insurer, it will almost assuredly be solely to mitigate the loss of paying the agreed amount on your claim, not your loss of paying the deductible.

Buttercup
2013-Jun-01, 06:24 PM
Thanks - and especially PetersCreek.

We have paid the contractor. They settled for $2000 - which the insurance company provided. Wall is fixed, contractor paid in full.

I'm concerned about the "$1,000 deductible" issue. We will NOT pay it. I refuse.

And so I'm concerned about our insurance company taking *us* to Small Claims Court or dropping us. :(

PetersCreek
2013-Jun-01, 06:47 PM
Although I'm less clear on the general law in this case, I suppose if your insurer found out that the total cost of repair turned out to be $2000, they could come after you for the deductible. If your state laws provide for that, I think a judge would almost certainly find against you since you signed a contract agreeing to the $1000 deductible. Although you certainly suffered a loss, under the terms of that contact, your insurer is not legally obligated to cover the entire loss. Your beef is with the person who damaged your property.

Not to be harsh but if I were in your insurer's place and you tried to place such a burden on me outside the terms of the policy, I'd probably drop your policy and consider suing or selling it off to a collection agency.

Buttercup
2013-Jun-01, 07:00 PM
Ah. :( Okay, I see.

Well, there goes the trip to California.

I doubt we'll be able to collect from the kid's parents via Small Claims Court, and will have to endure that hassle besides.

Thanks for the input. :)

PetersCreek
2013-Jun-01, 07:31 PM
I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet. Have you filed a claim against the parents' auto policy? If the driver was clearly at fault, I think it's certainly worth pursuing. If that doesn't pan out (and it could take a while) small claims is probably a viable option. They may not have $1000 in-hand but if the judge finds for you, (s)he could order a payment plan. At the very least, if they don't pay, you might be able to file a lien against their property based on that judgment.

PetersCreek
2013-Jun-01, 07:33 PM
...the above, of course, is contingent upon you actually having to pay the deductible.

Buttercup
2013-Jun-01, 07:56 PM
Okay, thanks again PetersCreek. :D I will mention this to husband.

Buttercup
2013-Jun-01, 09:03 PM
...and there is one consolation in this: Chester. I doubt he'd have found his way into our yard without that hole in the wall. The other 2 rabbits are long gone.

So we've gotten a rabbit, whom I enjoy feeding and taking care of.

I call him "our $3,000 rabbit." :)

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Jun-01, 09:08 PM
I am not an insurance agent, but I would have been surprised that your insurance company didn't file against the driver's auto insurance policy in the first place, since it seemed to be caused by an auto accident he was at fault for.

My question is, does the contractor think he is paid in full? He may have billed for $3000 but would settle for $2000 knowing that most homeowner's insurance policies have deductibles.

Nick

HenrikOlsen
2013-Jun-02, 01:45 AM
From what I understand, those $1000 deductible are money you signed a contract with the insurance company that you'll handle yourself, they're not involved with them.
Which means that you have to pay the contractor and then it's your own responsibility to get the kid's parents(' insurance) to cover it afterwards.

Hornblower
2013-Jun-02, 01:35 PM
As others have pointed out, the insurance company is obligated only to pay the difference between the deductible and what you actually paid the repairman, not what he originally quoted. If I am not mistaken, filing a claim for more than what you actually paid is fraud, a criminal act.

The insurance company is doing you a service by reimbursing you promptly and going after the kid's parents rather than leaving you to fend for yourself, which could be a time-consuming ordeal if the liable parties fight you on it. The insurance company has lawyers who are experts at such tasks, and their service is one of the benefits you get in exchange for your premiums.

Buttercup
2013-Jun-02, 03:25 PM
Thanks everyone. :) Taking a "wait and see" approach without too much fretting.

And in the meantime we've got a chubby black rabbit to amuse us - if not for the accident.

Swift
2013-Jun-02, 07:36 PM
Our insurance company is going after the party responsible for the damage to our wall (in December; a kid slammed the family van into it). The parents are covered by their insurance; the kid isn't.

Unfortunately (as I figured) the family is "having trouble" coming up with the $1,000. :mad:

We're not millionaires either, and I'm wondering if the insurance company will insist *WE* pay the deductible.

I've told husband we won't pay a penny. The insurance company will have to absorb the cost. I wanted a vacation to California...not a hole in a fence. :mad:

We can take the family to Small Claims Court (likely will have to).

I went through something similar with my garage last year (which was driven into by a drunk driver). The driver was not the owner of the car, but was driving (under the influence) with the permission of the owner, who was asleep in the back seat.

The owner's insurance paid for the entire amount of the damages; I had nothing out of pocket. They (Progressive) didn't even fuss about it, they knew they had no grounds to deny anything. I don't know what they did with the policy of the person who owned the car; it wasn't my problem.

I initially talked with my insurance company (Allstate), but they told me if I went through them, I would have to pay my Allstate deductible, so I just did all my claims with Progressive.

I'm not sure what you mean by "the kid wasn't covered by their insurance". How old is this kid? Was he driving uninsured (either his own policy or named on his parent's auto insurance)? If that is the case, but his parent's had insurance on the car, I suspect their auto insurance is still responsible. If not, I suspect they are personally responsible. And yes, you could file a claim against them in Small Claims Court; if the court rules against them, even if they don't have the $1000, you could have a lien put against them, and collect a little at a time (so much per month, for example).

But if all of this was filed through your insurance, I don't think you have a case for not being responsible for your deductible.

Taeolas
2013-Jun-03, 12:03 PM
The rest of the advice is good to follow.

I just want to suggest another option.

File in Small Claims court and then apply for People's Court or Judge Judy. That sounds like a case they would love to handle (especially if you have nice pictures and drawings of the accident).

Even if the family can't pay, the show will cover the ruling, and you're well within their limits.

If it does go that far though, make sure you're cleared up with the insurance company (as in pay back the deductible), or you could end up blowing up your case. Do that even if you don't get on the show but just go to normal Small Claims court.

(Bonus for going on Judge Judy, you still get your trip to California. :) )

Cougar
2013-Jun-03, 12:42 PM
I suspect their auto insurance is still responsible.

I would agree. I doubt your homeowners insurance company should even be involved, unless it's to help you collect from the kid's parents' car insurance company, where there's no deductible for you.

BTW, one claim on a homeowners policy should not raise your premiums. Two claims within 3 years, though, look out! In general, make sure your claims are significant. Small recoveries aren't worth using homeowners insurance for.

Fazor
2013-Jun-03, 01:56 PM
*sniffs the air* Ah, smell that insurance! One of the few things I'm qualified in. Here's the deal: It's going to be up to your insurance company whether or not they pursue the deductible from you. Two things: First, because it was settled under your policy pending subrogation through the at-fault party, your policy is a legal contract stating that you're responsible for the deductible.

But, the contract also says you're entitled to reimbursement equal to the value of the property you lost. So if the insurance adjuster looked at the damage and said, "Okay, you've suffered a $3,000 loss. Our responsibility in this loss is $2,000" and the contractor agrees to fix it for less, everyone's held up their end of the bargain. You're "out" $1000 value -- but the contractor agreed to cover that for you.

Most cases, you'll be fine. My company, for instance, doesn't re-evaluate the loss and charge back the deductible. They don't write a check to a contractor until they agree that's the amount they're going to pay.

The best thing to do is the honest thing -- talk to your insurance company and let them know what's going on. Hiding it can only make things bad for you if they find out and want to settle a different way.

ETA: I'd also call your State's BMV and find out about filing against the kid as an Uninsured Motorist. It may be too late, I know Ohio has a time limit. We file a form for our insureds in these situations that goes to the State, and the state suspends the driver's license until they've paid full restitution to the damaged party. Maybe I'm "mean," but I can't let people get away with these things knowing that these drivers are the ones making insurance more expensive for us doing the legal thing.

SeanF
2013-Jun-03, 02:35 PM
Interesting. My wife was involved in an auto accident a little over a year ago. The other driver was at fault (ran a red light), but was uninsured. Our insurance company covered the repairs to our vehicle, minus the deductible which we paid out-of-pocket (luckily, there was no medical care necessary).

Our insurance company is continuing to try to collect from the other driver through a collection agency (IMHO, however, it isn't very likely to happen), but they have told us that if they do collect, they will reimburse us the deductible we paid.

Swift
2013-Jun-03, 02:55 PM
I am absolutely not a tax attorney, nor accountant, but if worst comes to worst and you have to pay the deductible, I believe you can take that as a tax deduction (http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc515.html). But I also think, if you do that, and then get the deductible reimbursed (such as from a court settlement), that you would have to report that $1000 as income.

Fazor
2013-Jun-03, 04:45 PM
Interesting. My wife was involved in an auto accident a little over a year ago. The other driver was at fault (ran a red light), but was uninsured. Our insurance company covered the repairs to our vehicle, minus the deductible which we paid out-of-pocket (luckily, there was no medical care necessary).

Our insurance company is continuing to try to collect from the other driver through a collection agency (IMHO, however, it isn't very likely to happen), but they have told us that if they do collect, they will reimburse us the deductible we paid.

That's usually how it goes, and can take years. The insurance companies don't seem to pursue the litigation much in most accidents (cost to sue versus cost of claim.) But in a bad accident, they will. I still like to file with the State, as suits against wages and earnings do no good for people who aren't able/don't work. But taking away a license is something they tend to have to stop ignoring eventually.

SeanF
2013-Jun-03, 06:53 PM
That's usually how it goes, and can take years. The insurance companies don't seem to pursue the litigation much in most accidents (cost to sue versus cost of claim.) But in a bad accident, they will. I still like to file with the State, as suits against wages and earnings do no good for people who aren't able/don't work. But taking away a license is something they tend to have to stop ignoring eventually.
That reminds me - did I mention that the guy who hit my wife had already lost his license? :)

Fazor
2013-Jun-03, 07:25 PM
That reminds me - did I mention that the guy who hit my wife had already lost his license? :)

That's normally how *that* goes too, unfortunately. We just had a man here get arrested for his 13th DUI, and the outcry is, "How did he even have a license?!" Of course, the answer to that is, "He didn't."

SeanF
2013-Jun-03, 07:45 PM
That's normally how *that* goes too, unfortunately. We just had a man here get arrested for his 13th DUI, and the outcry is, "How did he even have a license?!" Of course, the answer to that is, "He didn't."
I know. It seems sometimes like people think that not having that plastic card in your wallet somehow physically prevents you from getting behind the wheel. There's an almost identical dynamic involving another government-issued permit, but I don't think I want to start talking about that one on this board. :)

Fazor
2013-Jun-03, 08:02 PM
. . . but I don't think I want to start talking about that one on this board. :)
Say what you want, but I still think a procreation license is genius! . . . Oh.

HenrikOlsen
2013-Jun-03, 08:40 PM
That's normally how *that* goes too, unfortunately. We just had a man here get arrested for his 13th DUI, and the outcry is, "How did he even have a license?!" Of course, the answer to that is, "He didn't."
The two classical answers to that is confiscate the car (which only works if the car wasn't stolen) and link the fine to income (which only works if they have one).
The latter solution recently led to a Danish athlete being fined $240,000 for DUI. (General reaction in Denmark was: sounds fair)

Swift
2013-Jun-03, 09:20 PM
The two classical answers to that is confiscate the car (which only works if the car wasn't stolen)...
I know there have been cases in the US where a driver was arrested for repeated DUIs and didn't even own a car - usually he was borrowing someone else's (friend, relative); sometimes with permission, sometimes without.

Fazor
2013-Jun-03, 10:56 PM
In Ohio, the law allows the State to take possession of a vehicle that someone knowingly loaned to an uninsured driver, but that's not written into the DUI punishment. Go figure. (The only times I've ever seen anyone actually charged with loaning a vehicle to an uninsured driver was when that uninsured driver was a spouse. Otherwise, it's hard to prove it was knowingly.)

Taeolas
2013-Jun-04, 03:15 PM
The two classical answers to that is confiscate the car (which only works if the car wasn't stolen) and link the fine to income (which only works if they have one).
The latter solution recently led to a Danish athlete being fined $240,000 for DUI. (General reaction in Denmark was: sounds fair)

Isn't Denmark one of those places where the fines are a percentage of your income as opposed to a flat rate? If so, then that fine does sound fair.

I wonder if eventually if the tech will be cheap enough and reliable enough to use biometrics to keep unlicensed folk from driving. Insert a valid License card + some biometric key to you before the vehicle would start. Lots of other details to work out of course, but it feels (on the surface at least) like the sort of idea to work towards.

Buttercup
2013-Jun-04, 03:21 PM
Thanks again everyone. :) I will refer back to this thread in the future, as the situation unfolds.

I do like the "Judge Judy" suggestion. It'd be great, seeing her scream to that kid, "You're an idiot!"

:lol:

A bit mean of me, I know. :shifty:

Ara Pacis
2013-Jun-04, 04:55 PM
Isn't Denmark one of those places where the fines are a percentage of your income as opposed to a flat rate? If so, then that fine does sound fair.

I wonder if eventually if the tech will be cheap enough and reliable enough to use biometrics to keep unlicensed folk from driving. Insert a valid License card + some biometric key to you before the vehicle would start. Lots of other details to work out of course, but it feels (on the surface at least) like the sort of idea to work towards.

I like that idea of inserting your Drivers License to drive a car. If the car has a black box, that could help establish who was to blame. I recall some situations where people lied about who was driving to cover up a DUI.

Maybe once we have smart cars with AI copilots, even if they can't drive the car themselves, they will be able to look at the GPS and say "Excuse me, Driver, but this car has been sitting outside Bob's Tavern for several hours and it's just after last call... Have you been drinking? I can call you a cab and lock the doors until you return. If you think you're okay to drive, will you please blow into the breathalizer for me?"

Swift
2013-Jun-04, 08:02 PM
I wonder if eventually if the tech will be cheap enough and reliable enough to use biometrics to keep unlicensed folk from driving. Insert a valid License card + some biometric key to you before the vehicle would start. Lots of other details to work out of course, but it feels (on the surface at least) like the sort of idea to work towards.
Wasn't the insert-your-license technology in the cab in Fifth Element.

In the non-fictional world, there are such biometric system already available. I believe there are ones where you have to pass a breath-test to start the car, and I believe some courts in the US have ordered repeat DUI offenders to have such systems installed in order to get their driving priviledges back. Here (http://www.mva.maryland.gov/About-MVA/INFO/26200/26200-14T.htm) is a description of such a system in Maryland.

profloater
2013-Jun-05, 01:15 PM
I wonder if persistent drinkers would dream up the idea of using a surrogate sober person to blow for them? Or of carrying an inflated balloon prepared before the binge? Of course not:rolleyes:

Ara Pacis
2013-Jun-05, 02:24 PM
I wonder if persistent drinkers would dream up the idea of using a surrogate sober person to blow for them? Or of carrying an inflated balloon prepared before the binge? Of course not:rolleyes:

If they get into a collision then perhaps they could be charged with attempted/intentional homicide in addition to DUI.

HenrikOlsen
2013-Jun-06, 07:55 PM
Isn't Denmark one of those places where the fines are a percentage of your income as opposed to a flat rate? If so, then that fine does sound fair.
For some fines it's linked to income, DUI and many other traffic violations are, basically because they're things everyone are equally likely to commit because they aren't done for profit, so the punishment should affect everyone equally, which a flat fine won't do if it's a months earnings for one person and two hours earnings for the other.
I think the guy in my example was fined about a months wages due to the seriousness of the offense.

For other fines, such as those for crimes where the motive is profit, the idea is to counter the profitability of the illegal action by linking the fine to the profit made from the crime. (In fairly vague terms though. I think it should really be that the fine times the chance of getting caught and convicted should be higher than the potential profit, but it's not actually stated quite like that anywhere, which makes that idea not quite work in real life)

Buttercup
2013-Jul-06, 01:09 PM
Good news! :)

Received a letter from a lawyer. She's been hired by our insurance company to collect $1000 (to cover the deductible) from the offending party.

We might have to make a court appearance, to testify. Although considering we were both asleep during the incident, I'm not sure what we could say.

I am VERY glad for this. It means (I presume) we won't have to go through the Small Claims court hassle.