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Old 07-30-2019, 10:51 AM   #1
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Don't trust your RV insurance

We recently returned from an extended trip and 600 miles from home our tow bar broke and the car then hit the motorhome. Fortunately no serious damage and no one hurt as it broke in rural Mississippi. Had it broken elsewhere I hate to think of the carnage.

The tow bar is long out of warranty but I did what any reasonable person would and contacted my insurance company (State Farm).

They are treating it as two collisions and 2 deductables saying that I can't be liable to myself.

My argument is the car was a trailer at the time and not being driven. Had I been towing a trailer they would treat it as comprehensive.

They read me the wording in the policy (have you examined every word of *your* policy) and they consider anything hitting the RV or the RV hitting anything as a collision. I asked "what about windshields, they get hit all the time and replaced under comprehensive. They said that windshield damage is caused by a missile (rock etc). I argued the car was a missile as it was was not being driven and was launched by the breaking bar etc.

Not only that, they will not pay to replace the tow bar as it is a manufacturing defect. I guess it a tie rod broke they wouldn't pay because it was a manufacturing defect to blame.

If anyone has had this type of claim, I'd certainly like to know how it was handled etc. And if you haven't, better check your policy.

I am still too angry to do much else but share and vent this way but I am seriously considering a lawyer, but the dollar amounts are not that much, probably less than $10,000 and a lawyer won't touch it on contingency as the payout to them is too little and if I have to pay and lose....you know the rest.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:00 AM   #2
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I would contact the Insurance Commissioner in your state, and see what they have to say.


Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:02 AM   #3
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Call them again, calmly imply you are planning on taking this to court (small claims, first for the RV damage, then for the car damage), and you are going to contact the state attorney general and the insurance commission.

Did that once on the 3rd call I'd made to them, and they were suddenly eager to settle the claim. However, I had done my homework, already had gotten two estimates, knew how much I could claim in small claims court (note that they don't want to have to send an executive to court where they can't have a lawyer), had written down much of what I'd say to them before calling.

Now-a-days, you might find they have an arbitration clause in your policy so check for that.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy8321 View Post
We recently returned from an extended trip and 600 miles from home our tow bar broke and the car then hit the motorhome. Fortunately no serious damage and no one hurt as it broke in rural Mississippi. Had it broken elsewhere I hate to think of the carnage.

The tow bar is long out of warranty but I did what any reasonable person would and contacted my insurance company (State Farm).

They are treating it as two collisions and 2 deductables saying that I can't be liable to myself.

My argument is the car was a trailer at the time and not being driven. Had I been towing a trailer they would treat it as comprehensive.

They read me the wording in the policy (have you examined every word of *your* policy) and they consider anything hitting the RV or the RV hitting anything as a collision. I asked "what about windshields, they get hit all the time and replaced under comprehensive. They said that windshield damage is caused by a missile (rock etc). I argued the car was a missile as it was was not being driven and was launched by the breaking bar etc.

Not only that, they will not pay to replace the tow bar as it is a manufacturing defect. I guess it a tie rod broke they wouldn't pay because it was a manufacturing defect to blame.

If anyone has had this type of claim, I'd certainly like to know how it was handled etc. And if you haven't, better check your policy.

I am still too angry to do much else but share and vent this way but I am seriously considering a lawyer, but the dollar amounts are not that much, probably less than $10,000 and a lawyer won't touch it on contingency as the payout to them is too little and if I have to pay and lose....you know the rest.
you have to pay 2 deductables is that the problem?
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:15 AM   #5
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Are you saying they insist on two separate claims, one for the RV, one for the towed car?

If your reading of the policy convinced you they are not following the language of the contract terms, personally I might lawyer up, just to the extent of having my attorney write them and state what his interpretation is (assuming your lawyer agreed with your interpretation). Lots of time a letter from counsel is all it takes to make people realize that you’re serious and then they negotiate.

Bear in mind a couple of hours attorney time will not be free, so you may be just as well off financially to eat the deductible and then shop insurance later.

Most likely your best course of action financially is to focus not on the deductible, but on getting quality repairs to both vehicles at the best shop you can find. Versus the shortcuts they’ll want to take to contain expenses.

Best of luck.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:48 AM   #6
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The tow bar is considered "personal property" and not part of the RV, so no different than any other piece of gear you brought along and got damaged in an accident. However, in this case it caused the accident rather than being a victim of it. If your lawn chair breaks while on a camping trip, the RV insurance doesn't replace it, right? But if the lawn chair was in the RV and got crushed during an RV accident, then it could be covered under the personal property clause of your policy.


If you were towing a trailer and the trailer hit something or somebody else and caused damage, your RV liability coverage would handle it. Damage to others, not to yourself or your own property. Any damage to the trailer is not covered at all unless the trailer had its own collision coverage. Your towed car is treated pretty much the same, except that it has its own liability policy for any damage it causes. That's the primary insurance for whatever damage the car causes. However, you can't sue yourself for damages, meaning you cannot be held liable for damages you do to yourself. Ergo, your liability insurance doesn't kick in to cover any damage it did to your own motorhome.


The bottom line is that both vehicles get fixed under their own respective policy, whether it is collision or comprehensive (they both have deductibles). You are on the hook for both deductibles.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:57 AM   #7
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I once hit a small wood table laying in the lane I was in, didn't see it until too late! Late at night on a dark road.

Bang! Did about $1500 damage to front end of our tow vehicle.

Insurance company considered it a "collision". $1000 deductible.

Decided to pay for the repairs myself.....collision on the account racks up points against you during next renewal. Higher premiums result. Pro-rated for 5 years in California. Not sure about other states. No forgiveness policies exist here.

Insurance sucks.
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Old 07-30-2019, 12:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
The tow bar is considered "personal property" and not part of the RV, so no different than any other piece of gear you brought along and got damaged in an accident. However, in this case it caused the accident rather than being a victim of it. If your lawn chair breaks while on a camping trip, the RV insurance doesn't replace it, right? But if the lawn chair was in the RV and got crushed during an RV accident, then it could be covered under the personal property clause of your policy.


If you were towing a trailer and the trailer hit something or somebody else and caused damage, your RV liability coverage would handle it. Damage to others, not to yourself or your own property. Any damage to the trailer is not covered at all unless the trailer had its own collision coverage. Your towed car is treated pretty much the same, except that it has its own liability policy for any damage it causes. That's the primary insurance for whatever damage the car causes. However, you can't sue yourself for damages, meaning you cannot be held liable for damages you do to yourself. Ergo, your liability insurance doesn't kick in to cover any damage it did to your own motorhome.


The bottom line is that both vehicles get fixed under their own respective policy, whether it is collision or comprehensive (they both have deductibles). You are on the hook for both deductibles.
Now this makes perfect sense. I withdraw my earlier comment as not being applicable. Or correct for that matter.
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Old 07-30-2019, 12:18 PM   #9
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They leave themselves lots of loopholes in the fine print to get out of paying a claim!
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Old 07-30-2019, 12:57 PM   #10
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I certainly understand your frustration of finding out how insurance works, literally by accident. Policies are long, complex and required by law. None of that makes reading the details something that most people do. I have had a couple of claims with the same company in which I had questions about how the coverage worked compared to how I expected it to work. My source of clarification has always been my agent, who has been a very long term agent for State Farm. One thing I learned from him, is that a claims adjuster today is usually not the best place to learn how the policy works, but that they tend to just tell you what they are going to do. That tends to make one angry, as it appears to have done in your case. My agent, body shops and adjusters have informed me that in the new age of State Farm structure, your agent is not allowed to become involved in any aspect of resolving your claim, but a good, experienced one can be invaluable toward helping you understand how the process works, even though they might say they are not supposed to talk to you about a claim.

I will try to add some brief notes between the lines, in blue, that clarify how the insurance company interprets things based on my experiences. I can tell you that learning these things didn't make me feel any different than you do, but did help me navigate through the process without the added stress of being angry.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy8321 View Post
We recently returned from an extended trip and 600 miles from home our tow bar broke and the car then hit the motorhome. Fortunately no serious damage and no one hurt as it broke in rural Mississippi. Had it broken elsewhere I hate to think of the carnage.

The tow bar is long out of warranty but I did what any reasonable person would and contacted my insurance company (State Farm).

They are treating it as two collisions and 2 deductables saying that I can't be liable to myself.

My argument is the car was a trailer at the time and not being driven. Had I been towing a trailer they would treat it as comprehensive.

The motorhome and the towed vehicles are both motorized vehicles and licensed and insured as such; neither is a trailer or licensed and insured as a trailer. I understand that a towed car looks like a trailer, but it is a vehicle that is attached to another vehicle by a piece of equipment that is owned by you and is neither licensed or insured. If one vehicle was towing another vehicle with a tow rope and the same accident occurred, it would clearly be two vehicles colliding with one another. State Farm separates all of the puzzle pieces and addresses only the ones that they insure and handle each vehicle based on its own policy coverages, language and limits. A trailer is automatically covered for liability only by the towing vehicles policy. Any further trailer coverage for damage, theft or comprehensive must be obtained by a separate policy for that trailer.

They read me the wording in the policy (have you examined every word of *your* policy) and they consider anything hitting the RV or the RV hitting anything as a collision. I asked "what about windshields, they get hit all the time and replaced under comprehensive. They said that windshield damage is caused by a missile (rock etc). I argued the car was a missile as it was was not being driven and was launched by the breaking bar etc.

Comprehensive coverage, like windshields, fire and theft, are incidents that are caused by other than vehicles and likely don't have a specific owner or policy of liability. That's why we have that coverage to cover things that are not caused and insured by others. Your damage was caused by a piece of equipment that you own, causing a vehicle that you own, to collide with another vehicle that you own. Take the tow bar out of the scenario and this might have been an accident that looked like one of your family members following you in the vehicle you were towing and being unable to stop in time and running into your motorhome. That is how the insurance company sees the accident happening; two of your vehicles colliding and each vehicles policy being applied.

Not only that, they will not pay to replace the tow bar as it is a manufacturing defect. I guess it a tie rod broke they wouldn't pay because it was a manufacturing defect to blame.

Your insurance will not cover property where their is no a policy to do so, unless a current policy extends to specific equipment for liability only, such as trailer liability being covered by the towing vehicle. You are correct about the tie rod. If a tie rod broke, your insurance would cover a resulting crash as outlined in the policy, but would not cover the tie rod repair, as it was not damage as a result of the crash.

If anyone has had this type of claim, I'd certainly like to know how it was handled etc. And if you haven't, better check your policy.

I am still too angry to do much else but share and vent this way but I am seriously considering a lawyer, but the dollar amounts are not that much, probably less than $10,000 and a lawyer won't touch it on contingency as the payout to them is too little and if I have to pay and lose....you know the rest.

I understand the anger and frustration, but adding the cost of a lawyer, threatening a claims adjuster with a lawyer will not reduce the anger and frustration, but rather might just add more. Become informed by your agent. They know what's in your policy and should be able to explain it to you so that you understand. I don't expect you to like all of the answer, I sometimes don't, but having someone explain the insurance companies point of view will go a long way to understand why the settle claims as they do. If your agent can't do this for you, then I would suggest you may have an incompetent agent.

I hope my comments don't add to your frustration, but in some way help to understand how insurance companies unravel the accident story problem in the eyes of the written policy. As others have suggested, focusing on timely and quality repairs will be more productive than being angry and involving others, who will be bound by the written policy. I hope this all gets resolved quickly, with good repair results so that you can go forward with enjoying your RV.

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Old 07-30-2019, 01:10 PM   #11
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So what insurance company are you telling us to avoid?

When I first shopped for insurance for my MH and decided which companyc to go with, when we were doing the "paperwork" they asked if I would be towing a car. I answered "yes" and they recommended they quote for the car insurance as well because if they were both damaged in the same accident there would only be one deductible. Their quote for the car came in lower than what I was currently paying so that got transferred to them as well and they are both still covered by the same company. The only negative was, since the car was on the policy it became a 6 month renewal instead on an annual renewal.

Awww: State Farm. Should have known.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:12 PM   #12
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Sorry to learn of your accident. This brought to mind of a blogger I follow. They had a similar one and they have done a 3-part series of the accident, repairs and the new tow bar they chose. Some of this may help you.

This link is on their repair but if you go to the bottom of Item #3 in her post there are blue highlighted areas of posts related to the accident - under 'Related Posts'. Read them all but in the first one 'Our First Accident' it mentions that they were working with their insurance company, Geico.

These full-timers have now sold their RV and moved to France and she is now blogging on France. However, she is extremely helpful when folks ask specific questions and I know she would be of help to you if you contact her. Go to the top line 'About Me' and her contact info is at the bottom of that page.

NOTE: She also has an excellent campground review section listed by state. You can also find it on the top line. She gives terrific descriptions with pictures for big rigs, especially. Check it out.

https://wheelingit.us/2017/12/01/tlc...downtime-more/
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:21 PM   #13
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It's not a matter of trusting your insurance, it's a matter of reading and understanding your policy
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:30 PM   #14
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Now this makes perfect sense. I withdraw my earlier comment as not being applicable. Or correct for that matter.
And because there were 2 vehicles involved, 2 seperate policies paying, each policy will be surcharged individualy.
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