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Claim supervisor wanting owner authorization for repairs
(Long Beach, CA USA)
I have a 2001 Honda S2000 with 65,000 miles on it. I was at a complete stop and was rear-ended by a Semi-truck. He was going about 5 to 10 mph when he hit me.
Damage consisted of rear bumper replacement, inner bumper replacement, inner trunk metal needing repair, sub-frame bent causing exhaust to hang low on passenger side (had to be put on frame machine)...body shop said it was over $2000.00 in repairs.
The transmission (6 speed manual) is making a whining noise also due to the accident (body shop still has vehicle and it has not been picked up since the accident). Insurance company sent it over to Honda to have transmission looked at. Honda says they cannot tell if damage was caused by accident or not unless they take it apart. Honda says $1,150.00 to take transmission apart.
Insurance company now wants me to authorize Honda to take apart the transmission and if they or someone says it does not appear to be caused by the accident, then I have to pay the $1,150.00 plus repairs to put it back together.
I am concerned because I don't know who is going to make that call on whether the damage was caused by the accident or not and how do I know they have the correct training to determine that. I do not feel comfortable giving authorization because I feel the insurance company is just going to try and stick me with it.
My question is do I have to owner authorize? I know I could refuse, but then what? Will insurance company just not fix it then? It has to get fixed. I feel like they are pressuring and the accident was not even my fault and I may end up getting stuck with a huge bill.
I should mention the car was in gear and clutch in when the semi hit us causing the my foot to pop off the clutch and instantly pop into gear with the engine running and being hit by the semi truck.
Basically the insurance company is saying that if it is obvious (broken/chipped gear) they will fix, but if it just looks worn or something they won't.
Please help. I have gone to one of the claim agents supervisors and he is giving me the same option and refusing for the insurance company to authorize repairs.
In a word: This sucks!
Remember this: THE COST TO INVESTIGATE A CLAIM RESTS SOLELY ON THE INSURANCE COMPANY!
The insurance company must pay to investigate the claim, not you. Even if the hire help to find out if your damage is "accident related" or "mechanical breakdown", that is their determination and their duty.
What you are doing is turning this into insurance for coverage. You have the burden of showing that the damage did occurred, and you did that with the collision with a semi. Now the burden shifts to the insurance carrier to show that the damage is not covered (Mechanical breakdown is an exclusion on the policy). They must show that, not you.
Consider talking to an attorney. Also, filing a complaint with the office of the insurance commissioner (and or department of insurance) is a good idea.
To answer your specific question, you do have to authorize repairs. You own this car. However, make sure that authorization does not mean responsibility to pay. They are two different things.
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