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Various thoughts on filing claims and police reports - Elizabeth Unexplained
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Various thoughts on filing claims and police reports
Yesterday morning I got in my car and started driving to work. Since this was before my cup of tea it took me a second to notice the dent in the hood of my car. At first I hoped I was imagining it, but sadly the dent did not disappear. It was bad enough that my coworker later asked what had happened, and when I answered that I wasn't sure ventured the opinion that someone had hit the hood of my car with some other person.

That is indeed what the dent looks like. Its long, shallow, S-shaped, and only on the driver's side of the hood. Its very easy to imagine some young male having caused it by wrestling another young male onto the hood of my car.

I suppose it goes without saying that no one left a note or anything.

I filled out a police report yesterday. I was pretty sure that I would have to for the insurance. It seemed like an excercise in futility, going down to the police station and filling in the piece of paper. I knew there was nothing the police could do other than file the report, but it would have been nicer if they had acted a touch more concerned. It would have been nice if I had actually gotten to talk to an actual police officer, for instance, instead of just trying to make myself heard with the receptionist behind the bullet-proof glass. The kicker is that I can't even get a copy of the report (which I do need for the insurance) until Tuesday.

As a side note, the police report form had a space for me to fill out both my race and my ethnicity. Can you say redundant? Because I was in that kind of mood I filled in my ethnicity as Scottish and left my race as an excercise for the reader.

I called the Metlife people this morning. They are a whole lot more pleasant to deal with. Its funny, since its likely going to end up costing them money. They're going to actually send someone out to look at the damage. I suppse it makes more sense that the Metlife folks are more on my side since they get money from me on a monthly basis, but then again, shouldn't the police be on my side too since my taxes pay their salaries? I suppose the receptionist at the police station was helpful enough, but the fact that I had to repeat half my sentence because of the damn glass didn't improve my mood. Also, Metlife was willing to handle everything over the phone and send someone out, whereas the police insisted that I had to physically come in to file a report. The latter would have made sense if they'd asked me for ID or something, but they didn't.

I reported the incident as vandalism. I'm not sure if that's the right word, but it was the closest I could find. The reason I'm not sure if its the best word is that usually I take vandalism to mean deliberate harm to property. I'm not convinced that the harm was deliberate. If my theory about what happened is correct, than I imagine that those involved just plain weren't thinking and didn't mean to damage my car, it was just there when they got rowdy. Of course that doesn't change the fact that the $300 deductable is still coming out of my pocket, so it doesn't really matter so much if it were deliberate or not.

Oh, and this is the second time I've put in a claim on my car, and also the second time I've had to explain to the Metlife people that I'm not exactly sure what happened because I wasn't in the car when it was damaged. I think the record shows that being parked is much more hazardous for my car than being driven around.

Current Mood: aggravated aggravated

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twe From: twe Date: March 17th, 2006 09:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Oof. Was it parked on the street in front of your house when the damage (presumably) happened? (Hmm, does insurance cover vandalism? Even if you're not entirely sure where it happened? Probably not 9 months after the fact though, sigh.)
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: March 17th, 2006 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Yep, it was parked right in front of the house.

Well, you seem to need to file a police report for them to cover vandalism, so 9 months later is probably too late. Then its just the same as any other claim, except I get to pay for the first $300 worth of repairs because that's my deductable. That's what makes it so frustrating. If it was a standard accident with both cars moving then the person who did the damage would have to pay everything, including the $300 deductable.
enugent From: enugent Date: March 17th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it's accident vs. vandalism that makes you have to pay the $300 - I think it's whether the perpetrator is known or unknown. If you were in a hit and run and didn't get the other guy's plate, I think you still have to pay your deductible. The reason you don't in an accident with a known other party is that he (or his insurance, if he has it) has to pay all your damages, whether covered by insurance or not. The part that was not covered (the $300) goes to you, and the rest to the insurance company.

I'm willing to be proven wrong, though. :)
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: March 20th, 2006 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
You are correct, its being about to pin the blame one someone else that would get me out of paying the $300, and that's what I meant. I just assumed that if I were actually *in* my car when it was damaged I would have a much better chance of catching the person who did it, even if that meant getting a partial plate number as they sped away.
countertorque From: countertorque Date: March 17th, 2006 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)
If Met Life is rude, you won't be paying them anymore.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: March 17th, 2006 09:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, that's not entirely clear. My company gets a group discount through them. Still, point taken.
enugent From: enugent Date: March 17th, 2006 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
That is such a pain. At least the police didn't send you on a wild goose chase like they did me one time. When I went out to Worcester to get MA plates for my car, the CA plates were stolen while I was in line. I called the police (from an auto parts store where I went to get new bolts to put on the new plate), and the idiot on the phone said, "well, maybe the DMV removed the plates as a service to you." I pointed out that that was totally ridiculous, and he said, "well, it just seems like such a coincidence, your plates being stolen while you were getting new ones." Hello, can anyone think of a better place to steal plates than to take them off a car in the DMV lot with out-of-state plates? The theives had a much better-than-average chance of me not reporting it by picking the victim they did, and I was sure wishing I hadn't bothered after I spoke with the police. Mr. Rocket Scientist told me I had to go back to the DMV and ask them if they had taken my plates before I could file a report, which I dutifully did. I wish I'd gotten his name so I could have given it to the policeman in the DMV lot that I had to go ask. Maybe someone would have tried to talk some sense into the rookie.

So anyway, that's my very long-winded story on the way to saying, "Sorry - that sucks!" I sympathize.
From: readsalot Date: March 17th, 2006 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry the police were such a pain. When I've filed accident reports, they've generally been indifferent. However, it is better to do so--theodosia's car was stolen by someone who wrecked it. She had to call the police to find it, and then the insurance company to deal with it, etc. She didn't think to file an accident report until the insurance company prompted her, a couple of weeks later, and the person at the police station was actively hostile and suggested that since she'd been so delinquent in filing the report, she might be trying to scam them.

Can't you report the incident as an accident? I think that's what I did when my car had its front fender mostly ripped off while it was peacefully parked in my driveway. Fortunately there happened to be a police officer around when the accident happened, and I could cite him as a witness.
jaedian From: jaedian Date: March 18th, 2006 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)


I had a similar thing happen to my car. I was parked at the Everette shopping plaza (with the Costco and Target etc)

I parked in between the two different store, since I had the stroller I figured it was easier to walk. There was some landscaping going on nearby but I wasn't that close. I came back to find my car hood had been dented and scraped by what look like a truck, something that was just at or above hood height.

my insurance company said to call the police as it was surely more than $1000 in damage. And I waited a long time. I tried asking some of the people tehre if they had seen anything, I can't see how they would miss it.

The policeman was very rude and unhelpful and didn't want to fill out a report at all. I had to ask him several times and tell him my insurance company needed it. I also was hoping he could ask a few more people if they saw anything, since I really didn't want to climb into the construction zone where they were working as I had a baby in a stroller. He seemed really annoyed taht he needed to do it.

And my deductible is $500. Which sucks. You have to pay the deductible if the accident is your fault, or if no-one comes forward. Which is generally the case when something happens and you aren't there. Except for the time someone knocked my mirror clean off the car. (she left a note) but there was no deductible because that counted as "glass damage" But when my mirror was knocked off but not broken or severed from the car, that incurred the deductible.

Honestly, I think the car theft and accidents to the car while parked is the reason the rates were so much higher in Somerville.
twe From: twe Date: March 20th, 2006 08:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Damage to parked cars

Speaking of damagae to parked cars, I never did hear anything from the person who's car we saw get smashed by the UHaul truck on Highland Ave, all those years ago (the one we left the note on).
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