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Old 08-30-2016, 07:00 PM   #1
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Motorhome Accident Insurance Advice

Unfortunately today after 18 years of driving various motorhomes I was involved in my first accident ever in my 2006 Fleetwood Discovery and I was rear-ended on Rt. 80 in New Jersey while heading to a campgrounds in Pennsylvania.

I was in stop and go traffic and not sure how fast the woman was going but she hit my left rear end and the front of her car was actually pinned under my motorhome until I was able to pull over on the shoulder. The lower half of my rear fiberglass cap is damaged pretty badly along with the rear driver's side utility compartment. The fiberglass housing around the radiator is also damaged badly. Also looks like the frame for the hitch may also be slightly bent as well. Not sure about any other possible structural damage to the motorhome.

I am meticulous with my motorhome and it looks brand new so needless to say this incident is upsetting to me to say the least. My question is has anyone been in an accident with their motorhome? If so, any tips/advice you can provide me about dealing with the insurance company as well as finding a place to do quality collision/body work would be appreciated. Not sure what my parameters will be with my insurance company as to where I can go to get a quality repair job done. My insurance carrier is National Interstate.

Appreciate any assistance you can provide me.

Mike R.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:27 PM   #2
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I had an accident earlier in the year while traveling to Tucson (someone didn't see my RV in the lane next to them???). The insurance company sent an adjuster out where I was staying in Tucson and I stated I wouldn't get it repaired until I returned the RV back home. They were fine with that.

Once home, there is a great local shop that specializes in RV repairs and they have a first class shop setup. They managed the cost differences in the adjusters quote versus the actual cost (around 50% higher) and worked with the insurance company at that level. When I came to pick up the RV, it looked immaculate (better than when I first purchased it 3 years ago) and everything that was done met all my expectations.

My advice would be to make sure you go check out whatever shop you want to have it serviced at, talk to them and make sure they will work with your insurance company. What I was told was the adjusters are not getting deep enough into damage issues while quoting it and things are discovered while the repairs are being made. The shop has to be able to work with the insurance company to manage those differences.

And your insurance company will likely only work with certain shops so that's another challenge you have to deal with. Fortunately the ones I chose to do the work were OK with my insurance company.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:56 PM   #3
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And your insurance company will likely only work with certain shops so that's another challenge you have to deal with. Fortunately the ones I chose to do the work were OK with my insurance company.
My experience with automobile insurance has been that the other driver's insurance company cannot require you to use specific repair facilities even though they may act as if they do. If the shop you choose is a "standard" body shop and not some sort of customizing shop I don't think they have any right to object.

Remember, their insured caused the accident and they have a requirement to repair your vehicle to your satisfaction. If they don't want to agree to do what you ask you can always let your insurance pay for the repair (minus your deductible) and then have them (your insurance company) reclaim the money from the other company through the process known as subrogation.

A couple of years ago one of my vehicles was rear-ended by a driver who tried to waffle on her story when reporting the accident to her insurance company. I wanted my vehicle repaired and didn't want to wait while she fooled around with her company since the "case"was pretty straightforward. I told my insurance company that I was going to use my coverage to pay for the repairs and let them deal with the other company. They said "no problem" and, in the end, I received exactly the same payment I would have received if the other company had handled it from the beginning.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:05 PM   #4
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Motor Home accident

Sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you find a fabulous repair shop. May your dealings with the ins co. go smoothly.
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Old 08-31-2016, 03:56 AM   #5
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I really appreciate everyone's responses to my post.

This accident was clearly the other individuals fault and the police report will state that the driver was 100% at fault and the driver admitted it.

As far as finding a quality collision repair shop I'm not aware of any collision repair shops located in New Jersey that can handle and specialize in motorhomes. In searching the internet it seems like many of the reputable repair shops are located out in the Indiana area. I'm going to wait for my insurance adjuster to come out and see what they have to say about finding a qualified a repair shop. I'm inclined to go to a collision repair shop out in Indiana that specializes in motorhome repairs and am wondering if insurance will pickup all expenses related to travel to/from the facility as well.

My other concern is exactly what Bokobird stated, the visible damage for the most part is evident but what other deeper underlying damage might there also be that I am unaware of. I need a collision repair shop that will thoroughly check my coach out for underlying damage as well.

Again than you very much for everyone's comments.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:10 AM   #6
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First it is not up to your insurance company....

The commercials lately are funny....about getting hit by some other party and having towing coverage...It is other parties problem...

You can request that the unit be driven to the factory for repair as locating a shop with the ability to repair locally would be difficult.

If rear cap is damaged you can insist on replacement of cap as it is a servicable part like a fender.

Your trailer hitch saved your butt!

The Jeep Cherokee had issue regarding rear end impacts and gas tank so recall was to add trailer hitches for structural protection.

Got rear ended in a work f150 on freeway by moron texting and no damage to us but hitch stamp on his bumper.

Hitch to be replaced with factory new regardless of what it looks like as it may be damaged.

You are the "victum" so insist it be repaired only by properly trained and certified folks.

Their insurance adjuster may insist on using some "inside compsny" that they have a contract with but understand you are NOT their customer so are NOT under their contract rules...those would apply to their customers using their coverage for their damsge...not the damage they cause.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike R View Post
Unfortunately today after 18 years of driving various motorhomes I was involved in my first accident ever in my 2006 Fleetwood Discovery and I was rear-ended on Rt. 80 in New Jersey while heading to a campgrounds in Pennsylvania.

I was in stop and go traffic and not sure how fast the woman was going but she hit my left rear end and the front of her car was actually pinned under my motorhome until I was able to pull over on the shoulder. The lower half of my rear fiberglass cap is damaged pretty badly along with the rear driver's side utility compartment. The fiberglass housing around the radiator is also damaged badly. Also looks like the frame for the hitch may also be slightly bent as well. Not sure about any other possible structural damage to the motorhome.

I am meticulous with my motorhome and it looks brand new so needless to say this incident is upsetting to me to say the least. My question is has anyone been in an accident with their motorhome? If so, any tips/advice you can provide me about dealing with the insurance company as well as finding a place to do quality collision/body work would be appreciated. Not sure what my parameters will be with my insurance company as to where I can go to get a quality repair job done. My insurance carrier is National Interstate.

Appreciate any assistance you can provide me.

Mike R.
Hi Mike, sorry about your mishap to your Coach! You did not mention what year it is? I would call the factory and ask about this........parts, and if they can do the repair work...........Never hurts to call and ask.......it was its birth place.
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Old 08-31-2016, 01:00 PM   #8
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When I was at fleetwood, I saw many coaches having body work done. from complete sidewalls to caps. Im pretty sure they can handle it.
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:04 PM   #9
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Palehorse89 my coach is a 2006 Fleetwood Discovery 39S.

I really like the suggestion of going back to the REV Factory service center. The factory service center most closest to me here in New Jersey is Decatur, Indiana which is a 600 mile trip. In looking at their website it looks like they do collision repairs and can also do any other necessary repairs to my coach caused by the accident. Again I am concerned about any hidden damage that I may not be aware of to include the engine and chassis. Big of a drive but really think it's best to go back to the factory service center and it will be one stop shopping for the repairs.

My next question is has anyone ever used the REV Factor Service center for collision repairs and body work or for any other repairs. If so any comments would be appreciated.

Lastly, my insurance company (National Interstate) has been great so far. They informed me that I can go to the repair facility of my choice but I likely won't be reimbursed for travel related expenses if I choose to drive a distance to get my coach repaired as opposed to going to a facility in my immediate area. Sounds like I may be able to go after the insured to possibly cover my travel related expenses but no guarantees the I will get reimbursement.

Thanks again for everyone's assistance.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:51 PM   #10
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Again it is NOT up to your insurance to decide unless you are filing claim against your policy which is a bad idea.

They can act as middle man to assist.

If a local shop is not "certified by the factory" to properly perform repairs and "certify" structure such as where the trailer hitch sub frame is then if the unit can be driven you can offer to drive it with other party covering the mileage rate they should agree.

600 miles at 0.50 a mile is 300 bucks which would be close to their charges for someone to transport it to the different places needed to get the work done.

With our hitch the party that hit us had no insurance and with the dirt still in the hitch and no marks of any kind the company fleet manager refused to spend any money fixing it.

I replied to his email with my chain of command advising we often tow a generator weighing more than 8500 pounds off road in terrible terrain as well as freeway driving and asked everyone to print a copy to file it in case we had a failure of the hitch and had an accident...

Needles to say a very high level desk driver insisted hitch be replaced by dealer to insure "factory"...CYA!

You can do same as the rv is not a standard vehicle and most auto body shops do not have any certified welders let alone licensed mech engineers that can certify the structure so the best way to insure it is factory spec is give it to factory.

Stand your ground and remind your carrier that the other party is paying and that they as your liability coverage provider should insist that your vehicle is repaired to factory certification so less risk of a trailer coming loose...as that would be on them.
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Old 09-01-2016, 03:55 AM   #11
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For such a repair, you shouldn't even think about going to an auto body shop. They're completely different operations--now specializing in parts replacements and painting single fenders--in on Monday, out on Friday.

Many of the larger RV dealers will have body shop facilities specializing in such repairs. You just have to get out there and find a good one. And RV body shops are in every major city.

I just hope your rear cap is fixable. I doubt that such parts are available from the manufacturer for a 10 year old motorhome.

What's so shocking is the price of any RV repair by RV body shops. In an auto body shop, the base labor rate is more like $40 per hour, but great repairman can turn 80 hours per week--by the book. RV body shop labor repairs are more like $110 per hour, and there's no set base rate for repairs. It's by time spent.

And the problem with RV body shops is that they're simply covered up with work--and keep taking in new jobs. It might take'em 3 months to even start the job.

Due to high RV body repair costs, insurance companies are very quick to declare relatively small damaged vehicles a total loss.

I punched a couple of holes in the side of my new fifth wheel trailer in a rather minor accident with a garage roof. It got into my inside cabinetry. The repair cost $17K and took 5 months. And even then, the paint repair was of poor quality and I demanded better work.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:03 AM   #12
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REV Group's fiberglass molding shop (Gold Star) has the molds for about every Fleetwood and American Coach ever built and they will mold a new cap to order. Just don't expect it to happen quickly. Took about 4 months to get a new front cap for my '04 American Tradition (back in 2010). I never did get a new dash area wood cabinet from Rev's cabinet shop, though. We gave up on them after 6 months and has a local cabinet shop rebuild the damaged one.

I gather you are having the repair done under your collision rather than the other guys insurer? Your company will probably recover their costs from them, but you could deal direct if you wanted. You choose the shop, and a good shop will work hard to make sure the insurer doesn't low ball anything. I used Mike's Motorhome Collision in Wilmington, NC, and they did a tremendous job making sure the repair estimate covered everything and that the insurer's rep stayed on target.
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:27 PM   #13
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Another option is Bus repair shops. I had mine repaired (twice) at "ABC Bus" in Faribault MN. They were recommended to me by my insurance adjuster. (He said that wouldn't ever recommend the company where I had previously received an estimate.)

Have a nice day - Darrel
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