Help!!!! I need to know if the insurance company is liable??

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:37 pm   Post subject: Help!!!! I need to know if the insurance company is liable??  

The other day my I drove my car into a puddle that flooded the entire two lane street. This resulted in the car seizing up. I had the car towed to the nearest audi repair shop. The mechanic for warned me that they charge a mechanical rate of 110 dollars an hour and that the insurance company would only want to pay 36 dollars of that hourly rate. I called the insurance company (Amica) and explained this situation (which I feel is above my responsibility to begin with) and to my surprise the woman told me that I have nothing to worry about and the insurance company would take care of the full rate regardless of where I brought my car. So believe it or not I received a phone call from the woman who was actually handling my claim saying that they wouldn't be responsible for the labor rate and that I would have to pay the difference (this is after me bringing the car to the audi dealership and its now a problem to get it towed elsewhere). This resulted in an argument of me telling them that they have to pay and her arguing they don't. It ended that they would call for a diagnostic of the engine to see what the damage is and we would take it from there.

Being that its now a week later and nothings substantial has happened, I received a phone call from the mechanic today saying that he had used up the allotted insurance time and I would need to give the go ahead to perform a basic tune up to further figure out whats wrong with the car. He also informed me that he needs to check the engine oil but a piece of broken dipstick is lodge in the tube that houses the actual dipstick. So in order to check the oil, a necessary step in further diagnosing the problem they need to drop the pan to get this broken piece out and this is going to cost around $520 dollars. Being that the dipstick breaking wasn't incurred by the accident I need to know whether or not it's the insurance company to pay for what ever has to be done in order to fix the car to its original state????

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:38 pm   Post subject:   

My guess here is if it was broken before the car went through the puddle you will first have to pay for that problem to be corrected before you can go any further on the insurance claim. They will not pay for any damages not incurred from the accident and if this has to be fixed first it will be up to you to do so. I can not believe a garage is charging that much for removing the dipstick. All he should have to do is replace the tube and put in a new dipstick. Neither tend to be expensive and if he is charging you an outrageous price you need to go buy these parts used from a salvage yard and take them to him. What year and make is your vehicle? You may also be able to get your insurance company to step up to bat for you and ask him what he used all the alotted money for. Do you trust the garage its at? Have you been there for repairs before? Be careful when it comes to insurance claims and garages. I have seen them take advantage of alot of people and with the economy being as it is they can find innocent people to make extra money. Good Luck. Keep me informed.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:57 pm   Post subject: reply  

Its an Audi a4 and this is the cheaper of the two quotes that ive gotten. the other dealership that i called appraised it for 800. the tube itself is welded to the actual pan hense the reason for dropping the pan to get it out and further more once the pan is dropped you need to replace the gasket the seals it.. i just can believe there isnt a way to stick a something else down there to get it out! Sad

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:03 pm   Post subject:   

First... where in the heck are you that mechanical labor is $110!? Ouch! I think I pay it at $65/hour and the highest charge I've seen a shop list it at is $75/hour.

Usually Amica would send an appraiser out to initially look the vehicle over and speak to the shop about what they are going to do (in other words, both of them would get on the same page about what the carrier would be paying for [lead in for Mike Smile]). Also, a local appraiser would know what the shop charges and what Amica pays so the problem probably would not happen. It was good of the shop to "warn" you of the charge but if someone needs to "warn" you of what their hourly rate is... well. You did the best you could do and you called Amica. I think you should hold someones feet to the fire if they told you the labor would be paid. If nothing else, Amica should have a 'conversation" with the shop to see if they can work it out.

You would need to pay to have the pan dropped as it's not related to the claim. Personally, if it were me... I'd pay a tow charge and have the vehicle moved to a place that charged a little more reasonable rate. Seriously, does someone know what it should cost to drop an oil pan and remove the broken dip stick? Sounds like about 3 hours and perhaps $200?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:24 pm   Post subject:   

Any insurance company should know darn well no reputable dealership is going to work for $36 an hour. $110 is excessive though, but its Audi. Sounds like you hydrolocked the motor or got the distributor wet.

Insurance should cover it in my opinion, but you should look for a cheaper solution in my honest opinion. $520 to drop an oil pan is a ripoff, to say the least. I would question their ethics as well. Where are you located?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:23 pm   Post subject: I have to agree with Diem about the Hydrolockup  

We have a low lying area in a part of my community, and I can guarantee you every mid 90's honda or other cars that goes through a toad strangler rain and runoff on that street, it will suck the water right up into the motor and lock it up. Part of the air intake system on many cars are down below the fender at the bumper level due to design and limitations of tight engine compartments.

As far as the audi dealership having to work for the same rates as a local bodyshop, I don't buy. If a bodyshop sublets mechanical repairs to a dealership, the insurer will always pay the cost of repairs covered in the policy in my neck of the woods for the sublet costs. Better be looking for language in the policy that states there is a limitation or exclusion. Auto policies are not ppo or hmo policies, though insurers are trying their hardest to apply those principles. Basically DRP shops are preferred provider type networks. These types of policies are like comparing apples to paperclips. A cash value policy promises to place you in a position you held prior to the loss. The policy is responsible for paying all costs that are both reasonable and necessary. Who gets to decide that the Audi dealer who has certified trained people has to work for insurer rates? It is not uncommon to see dealership rates for mechanical to be 85 to 110 dollars.

Allowing insurers to suppress rates is why you do not see very many dealership bodyshops anymore. The profit margins for the cost of investing in a bodyshop and required squarefooting make it a no brainer elimating collsion shops when new dealerships are constructed. But I digress (had to get my insurer suppressed rates zinger in for t).

I would tell my insurer, fine if you do not want to pay my repair shop the reasonable hourly charge for mechanical repair, YOU my insurer name one shop that will perform the necessary repairs and accept the liability as well as guarantee those repairs so that I may only be out my deductible and any proven betterment. They should pay any additional towing expenses above your deductible if they choose to move your vehicle.

I have a file cabinent full of bills paid by insurers at rates of 85 or higher for sublet mechancal rates. If it is an older vehicle and it is no longer under warranty and there is a qualified audi repair shop in the area, I personally would elect to use that shop if they warrantied the repair.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:54 pm   Post subject:   

THESE GARAGE FEES ARE UNHEARD OF. Did you have to take it to that shop? I know on my policy they give you a list of garages they support to do the work and you choose which one you want. I am from PA and here we in the country pay $40-50 an hour.

A few years ago I bought a used, fairly new car and the privately run dealership either didn't put the oil plug back in or put it in improperly after doing an oil change (before I bought it). I got it home and it was ticking pretty bad. Well there is a three day return policy, there was also one of the worst snowstorms and it took 3 days just to clean up the roads. Therefore it put me past the three day mark when I took it to my garage to have it looked at. In the end the place that sold me the car agreed to buy an engine if I paid to have it put in. Wasn't too bad of a deal cause I ended up getting a salvage engine with only 18000 miles instead of the 40 000 mile engine that was in it. My garage even went and picked up the engine. By the way my part of the bill was only $250. That was for pulling the engine, putting the new one in and changing the plugs and oil.

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