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Old 08-02-2016, 10:31 AM   #1
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Insurance coverage for for frame damage

Hi all, we recently traveled to Florida in June, while we were in Mississippi we went through some road construction and it shook the heck out of our coach (2000 Winnebago Journey - Pusher), all seemed okay until we were driving a little ways past Pensacola and we felt a shift and the rv felt like it was leaning and we had a hard time controlling it, so we pulled over and saw the right rear was dropped several inches lower than the left rear. Took it to a little shop (not an rv shop) at the nearest exit and they showed us where the frame brackets snapped that support the house on the frame. So they raised the house and put metal blocks under it and everything looked strait again. Well after the trip we looked it over very closely and found the radiator is sitting sideways, the AC ducts were damaged, and the plumbing that runs to the holding tanks has leaks. Pulled the trigger on making an insurance claim, they are still processing, but the latest word is they are reviewing to determine if it is a covered loss, and if it falls under comp or coll. Wondering if I screwed up by having it repaired to get us through our trip. And if anyone has experience with this if you believe this is a covered loss. Our insurance is with national general insurance.
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Old 08-02-2016, 10:50 AM   #2
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The brace failure that initiated all this would not be covered, but the "incidental" damage caused when the "house" clasped down on the frame should be, in my opinion. (Decades as auto claim department employee)

Good luck
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Old 08-02-2016, 11:53 AM   #3
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On a dark, stormy night on I-10 west of Houston, I ran over a whole recap in a Mitsubishi Eclipse. I swear the car went airborne when I hit it. There was no significant damage to the vehicle, but I lost a lot of plastic stuff like wheel wells, plastic covers and the rear bumper fascia was damaged. The insurance covered it under collision. I think you will be covered.
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Old 08-02-2016, 05:46 PM   #4
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I'm thinking that's a pretty tough call, and will predict your success will have a LOT to do with the strength/competency of the dealer you've taken it to. If the dealer's contact person that handles adjusters is unable to make a strong case for coverage, or doesn't believe it should be covered, my experience is it won't be.

You might have a better time suggesting the coach has a design deficiency. It wasn't built well enough to hold up to the abuse on that section of road. OR, it had been previously weakened by other sections of bad road it has been over previously, and finally let go on this one.

I don't believe the emergency repair hurt you at all.

This is not similar to having driven over or into something.
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Old 08-02-2016, 05:53 PM   #5
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I think you need to make sure that you press the point that you hit some (construction area) felt the coach shudder and found the broken support. It needs to be impact damage, not fatigue or alleged maintenance.
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Old 08-02-2016, 06:05 PM   #6
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I couldn't agree more.
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Old 08-03-2016, 07:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
I think you need to make sure that you press the point that you hit some (construction area) felt the coach shudder and found the broken support. It needs to be impact damage, not fatigue or alleged maintenance.
A good thought, but the impact has to be direct to the failed part. To cause that bracket to break, had it not been defective somehow in the first place, would have caused major damage to a tire/wheel, suspension parts.

I think this is a case of the "last straw". There was something wrong with that bracket. As I commented earlier, incidental damage should be covered, but not the broken bracket.
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Old 08-03-2016, 11:00 AM   #8
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Clarification

Thanks for all the repllies, some things aren't fun to hear and some are reassuring. But good to get some feedback none the less.

Just to clarify, if it were one frame bracket, one could argue it was just due to the faulty bracket, however, I failed to mention that it was actually 4 damaged brackets, there are two near the left rear wheels and two near the right rear wheels, the two on the right completely snapped off and actually bent the brackets, those are some very heavy duty pieces of metal we are talking about. And the two on the left were still attached, barely, the welds started to break. The shop rewelded all 4, however the bent brackets on the right required them to put some metal blocks between the frame and house for better support.

I think the photo I attached would lead you to believe it was just the one. My mistake =(

Now knowing that it snapped 4 heavy gauge steel frame peices, would lead you to believe it was one incident, and not wear and tear or a faulty bracket. Am I wrong? This is a 17 year old coach, and I've been unable to find a similar case related to freightliner frame failure due to manufacture defect.

If you look closely at the attached image, you can see the bracket is bent. The rest of the house brackets all look a lot different, very square. Unfortunately I don't have pics of the good ones.
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Old 08-03-2016, 11:07 AM   #9
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Do you have any current weight tickets for the coach? I wonder if they may try to speculate it was grossly overloaded.
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Old 08-03-2016, 11:13 AM   #10
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I don't, but I do travel light, a few suitcases and thats it. Not that it proves anything.
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Old 08-03-2016, 12:16 PM   #11
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Just went back and looked at that pic. Just playing the devil's advocate, maybe looking at it through an adjuster's eyes.

I'm not sure when that pic was taken, but the appearance of rust in it might tell a story - one that would tell you that bracket had been broken for quite a while when that pic was taken.

Other views might prove differently, but the amount of weld visible in that pic would indicate that it was of extremely poor quality, especially in relation to the material thickness. It almost looks as though it was tack welded in place only.

I think it a safe bet that Freightliner had nothing to do with it. Winnebago far more likely the culprit.

There's another issue right above it that doesn't look good either. That hairline crack in the square tubing material above the broken brkt. (sitting right on the frame rail) would have me doing a very careful inspection for other issues. Again, it's very difficult to establish when that might have happened - but it would be unusual to see something like that occur with a single incident. More likely fatigue caused by something that's been going on for a while. A single incident would have deformed the surrounding metal, and possibly look more like a tear.

Last thought, if there's a lot of similar damage, I'd be wondering how many times this coach had been to Alaska and back....
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Old 08-03-2016, 01:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
Just went back and looked at that pic. Just playing the devil's advocate, maybe looking at it through an adjuster's eyes.

I'm not sure when that pic was taken, but the appearance of rust in it might tell a story - one that would tell you that bracket had been broken for quite a while when that pic was taken.

Other views might prove differently, but the amount of weld visible in that pic would indicate that it was of extremely poor quality, especially in relation to the material thickness. It almost looks as though it was tack welded in place only.

I think it a safe bet that Freightliner had nothing to do with it. Winnebago far more likely the culprit.

There's another issue right above it that doesn't look good either. That hairline crack in the square tubing material above the broken brkt. (sitting right on the frame rail) would have me doing a very careful inspection for other issues. Again, it's very difficult to establish when that might have happened - but it would be unusual to see something like that occur with a single incident. More likely fatigue caused by something that's been going on for a while. A single incident would have deformed the surrounding metal, and possibly look more like a tear.

Last thought, if there's a lot of similar damage, I'd be wondering how many times this coach had been to Alaska and back....
The amount of time it takes for rust to appear can be very quick depending on the amount of iron present in the steel.

The welds are actually very thick, it's just that the welds happen to be on the other side of the bracket, out of view in this particular picture. It appears that it was tack welded on the side you can see, then followed up with the final weld on the opposite side.

You have a good eye! There's significant damage to the subframe of the house. The sheet metal siding inside the wheel well is actually bent significantly in several areas.

And lastly, I've come to find out that proving when it happened is a mute point when it comes to the coverage, as my lawyer put it "the date of loss is when you realize the loss".
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:59 PM   #13
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In any case, you should have reported the claim promptly, then notified the insurer that you needed to make temporary repairs to continue on your journey. A police report about a section of road bad enough to cause vehicle damage would also have been helpful (even though the police aren't going to do anything). Most insurers can get a claims agent to you within a day or so, even when traveling. I had one come to the next campground we were visiting (after a close encounter with a tall construction barricade on a bridge).

It's always difficult to assess damage from a "road hazard" vs normal or even accumulated wear & tear, so you don't want to leave any open to question as to when and how it occurred. Especially on a 16 year old chassis, which may have endured any number of rough roads in its life. Pictures and a detailed report of the damage from that little shop would also have helped establish your claim
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