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Old 05-06-2016, 06:40 PM   #1
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Insurance Claim Denial

I'm in dire need of help. About a month ago, I drove my RV into the New Orleans area. The RV is a 1999 36s 37 ft Fleetwood Bounder on a Chevy P30 chassis. The front jacks on my RV are in FRONT of the front wheels.

I came down a bridge. At the bottom of the bridge there was an expansion joint for the bridge. I was going about 35 to 40mph. Speed limit was 50mph. As I got the bottom of the bridge and crossed that expansion joint, the RV acted like I hit a jump. The front end went up, felt like the front wheels came off the ground, but at the very least, the front suspension was expanded to the max!

Behind the front bumper. When the RV came down, it compressed the front suspension to the point the front jacks hit the roadway. After the jacks hit the roadway the RV bounced back up again then slammed back down to the ground. The RV bounced up one more time and slammed to the ground. The front jacks hit a total of 3 times!

When I got the the RV park the first symptom was found. The living room slide wouldn't go out all the way. I was able to get it to go out by pushing on it, but the slide was scraping against the forward wall right behind the drivers seat. By looking at it I could see the slide was not sitting square. Next I found that my front jacks wouldn't hold pressure. They would level the RV, but it would leak down after about 20 minutes or so. The main entry door doesn't open smoothly either. You have to yank on it or push hard depending on what side of the door you are on.

In the daylight I found my front windshield had shifted from the drivers side to the passenger side by about 3/4 of an inch. and it also cracked the passenger window. I also saw the cabinets about the front passenger seat pulled away from the ceiling by about 1/2 to 3/4"!!! There is a about a 1/4 gap between the microwave cabinet and the ceiling too!!

I found a crack in the fiberglass. Of course that crack occurred where the previous own did a repair. I found that I had a flat tire on my tag axle on the passenger side. Come to find out I bent the bead on the rim so it was trash.
I noticed the RV leaned to the right a bit. On the tag axle associated with the wheel the bent, the Mooreryde rubber spring broke.

Of course my steps started acting up. The only thing I can thing of when all the twisting & banging that happened, my steps must have come down and hit the roadway and stripped a gear.

I also found a broken piece of frame that snapped on a support abut the front jacks.

We decided to just live with the slide not going out and went on back to California where we planned to stay at my property there. The RV is registered in Arizona and carries Arizona AAA insurance.

When we got to California, I took the RV down to the Giant RV and started the claims process. AAA assigned an adjuster from Colorado to adjust the claim and did so from photographs only!!! My claim was denied and the adjuster states that the rep at Giant RV said the damage was wear and tear. I talked to that rep and he denies the statement. He went as far as saying its not his place to make such a statement and told the adjuster to talk to the technician who did assessed the damage to my RV. Well, without talking to the technician, my claim was denied.

I"ve been going round and rounds with AAA on this. Can't get the adjusters supervisor to call me back after a week. The supervisor had some other rep call me who knew nothing other that what notes are associated with my claim call. The guy was supposed to call me back the next day, but hasn't. As of the time of this writing, its been 4 days and he still hasn't called!!!

I don't know what to do. My RV is worth about $15k Giant RV doesn't have a cost of repair because their take on this is they believed AAA was going to total out my RV!

I have a hunk of junk now that is apparently ready for the junk pile that has brand new tires on it that are about 6 months old!!!

Does anyone have any words of advice or steps I should take besides reporting this to the Arizona Department of Insurance and hiring an attorney?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 05-06-2016, 06:50 PM   #2
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YES...........

You need to involve the Arizona Dept. of Insurance
https://insurance.freeadvice.com/doi/state/AZ/


Free Advice----Info and Links
https://insurance.freeadvice.com/doi/state/AZ/
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:11 PM   #3
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Wow, so sorry to hear of your problems! I lived in new Orleans for 20 years and can appreciate the rough transitions on/off bridges there. The bridge is on piling so do not sink, where the roadway approaches are not on pilings and therefore sink. This creates an abrupt transition point, which are continually patched, which reduces the abruptness but does not eliminate it.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:14 PM   #4
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Not a lawyer. Not in the insurance field. There are about 100 questions that would need to be answered before coming to a conclusion.

It would seem to me that you should have tried to file a police report in Louisiana . If thousands or tens of thousands of people drive over that same "expansion joint" every day without mishap - "wear and tear" becomes an issue.

Yes, you can file a compliant with the AZ Insurance Commission, but be VERY careful about what you state.

You might consider spending 200-300 bucks to talk to an attorney and have him write a letter to AAA to try and have them make a "down and dirty" settlement offer. Remember, insurance companies have dozens of lawyers on staff that cost them "nothing". You could easily spend 15K before you see a courtroom.

I wish you the best of luck.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:24 PM   #5
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A police report would do absolutely nothing. I am a retired cop with special training in accident investigation. All a police report would do would be just another piece of paper with my statement on it.

Not to mention a report after the fact of driving from a location would negate it anyways. Since my RV wasn't completely incapacitated at the scene and need a wrecker to haul it away.

Besides Lousiana DOT told my insurance company that no other claims were made that day. So the insurance company is using that against me. How many vehicles with my configuration drive that bridge daily. Well considering rv's are not built with the jacks behind the front wheels, this problem would probably not have happened on another RV.
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by redxrrider View Post
A police report would do absolutely nothing. I am a retired cop with special training in accident investigation. All a police report would do would be just another piece of paper with my statement on it.

Not to mention a report after the fact of driving from a location would negate it anyways. Since my RV wasn't completely incapacitated at the scene and need a wrecker to haul it away.

Besides Lousiana DOT told my insurance company that no other claims were made that day. So the insurance company is using that against me. How many vehicles with my configuration drive that bridge daily. Well considering rv's are not built with the jacks behind the front wheels, this problem would probably not have happened on another RV.
Well, you obviously have more far expertise than I do. I wish you the best of luck.
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:38 PM   #7
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How much do you want for the tires..... you were driving too fast if you were doing 40 on New Orleans streets. Don't think you can sue the city.... they are broke anyway with streets collapsing.
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:47 PM   #8
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Brings a whole new meaning to the Bounder model. There go them Duke Boys!!
Really not funny. Wish you the best getting your coach repaired.
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:29 PM   #9
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insurance claim denial

I would write up your story and send it into the action help colum at Trailer Life magazine. Maybe the insurance co. would like the free publicity. What have you got to loose? Maybe a stamp/envelope.
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Old 05-07-2016, 05:37 AM   #10
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I think the insurance company has a right to deny your claim. How do they know you even damaged your RV on that bridge? I would have at least pulled over after the contact and done a quick damage assessment, taken pictures of the RV as well as the bridge and roadway.
For all the insurance company knows you and some buddies could have gotten liquored up and gone off roading and had a mishap. At least with a Police report you would have some record of where and possibly how the RV got damaged.
The time lapse between the "accident" and your reporting it to the insurance company is going to play against you. I would have been on the phone to the insurance company moments after the incident happened. Most insurance companies have a time limit set to report an accident.
I believe your best bet is to chalk this up to experience, cut your losses and look for another RV. It would probably be cheaper than hiring an attorney who will drain you dry and be able to do nothing for you.
Sorry for your loss.
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:24 AM   #11
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The insurance commissioner is your best option. If you can get an attorney to take the case with a contingent fee, do it. If they want you to pay attorneys fees up front, run. Like the previous poster said, you could spend 15K on the attorney and still not collect from your insurance.

P.S. It sounds like your shock absorbers were worn out. That should not negate your insurance but a good set of shocks would probably have avoided this.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:57 PM   #12
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That is a lot of damage from "bottoming " out.
Someone here recommended a police report to show place of accident. The insurance company may have a hard time believing this amount of damage resulted in bottoming out on the road and attributed it to something else. Maybe we the police report it would have substantiated your claim.
Im very surprised that this much damaged was caused, the insurance company may feel the same.
Good luck, don't AAA still have agents or are the call center environment? Maybe if you have an agent . They denied your claim for any specific?
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:56 PM   #13
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as an agent, and a full time rv'r, I can feel your pain, and, at the same time, understand maybe where the insurer is coming from in denying your claim.

Most auto/vehicle/motorcycle/motorhome policy read the same way:
"road rash, road surface imperfections, road potholes, etc. 'accidents' are not considered insurable under a policy because they are part of everyday driving hazards that we, as policyholders, are in control of." or similar contract jargon...

For instance, hitting a pothole and ruining your front suspension is not considered an auto insurance policy claimable accident. On the other hand, a rock thrown from the roadway or another vehicle that breaks your windshield IS a claimable accident, because that is 'beyond your driving control'.

In your case, it sounds as if they are denying your claim under the 'pothole' scenerio. No matter what was 'damaged' by this action, nothing may be claimable since it's up to the driver to control their vehicle, drive a safe speed for the road conditions, and generally be aware of road conditions that might cause damage.
Maybe this might be said as 'wear and tear', but not really.

Having said all that, it certainly does not mean that you will be less aggravated by this explanation, but maybe just more understanding of the insurance side of the equation...
or you could go after the city or state DOT who is in charge of the road.
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redxrrider View Post
Well considering rv's are not built with the jacks behind the front wheels, this problem would probably not have happened on another RV.
Actually a lot of them are built with the jacks behind the front axle. Both our '00 and '02 Dutch Stars were.
And as Mister_T above said, those conditions are road hazards and aren't covered by you normal insurance.
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