Last summer, when my car was destroyed in a nasty highway accident, I was forced to deal with competing insurance companies for reimbursement of various out-of-pocket expenses, including a $300 car rental bill to get from North Carolina back to Albany.
The vehicle in front of me – a camper whose bicycles became detached from his rear and landed in the road, crashing into me – was represented by GEICO.
The vehicle behind me – an RV that clobbered me at 70 mph while I was trying to avoid the bicycles – was represented by The Hartford.
A third vehicle – Ford F150 that slammed into my car’s left side and forced me into the guardrail – was represented by USAA.
Now since the GEICO and Hartford drivers were ticketed for the accident, I submitted my expenses and claims – including getting nailed on car rental fees just to get home. GEICO claimed that the Hartford’s insurance should pay me; Hartford claimed that GEICO’s coverage should reimburse me.
Eventually the claim went to insurance arbitration, and I figured – well, the arbitrator will make like King Solomon and make each party pay half. I don’t care who pays me, as long as someone pays me.
Then came some upsetting news.
North Carolina has an insurance rule that states, in arbitration, if a party is knowingly responsible for any part of an accident – as in, “You caused this somehow” – that party gets no money. Bubkis. Nada. And although my insurance carrier – Allstate – reassured me that I was completely blameless for the accident, that I had no way to avoid it and that I had not caused it – there was still that nagging thought that even if somehow, if I was 1% responsible for the crash … that I would have to eat those out-of-pocket expenses like spoiled cabbage.
Then, last Friday night, I received an e-mail from GEICO.
Okay, probably another spam e-mail from Aussie Lizard Caveman Tiki Barber runs a barber shop Insurance Company…
No. Apparently they sent a check of some sort to Allstate, as my subrogee.
Could it be? Had the lizard blinked?
Only one way to find out…
I called the arbitration representative in charge of my claim at Allstate.
And yes … after much arbitration and arguing and wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth and rendering of garments…
GEICO was found 40% liable for the car crash, in that their claimant did not secure the bicycles properly to his vehicle, and the bicycles came detached from the rear of his camper and crashed into me.
The Hartford was found 60% liable for the car crash, in that their claimant followed me at an improperly close distance and at an improper speed and was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident, which destroyed my car.
The USAA claimant was not found liable, in that they were – like me – innocent victims in the vehicular carnage.
One quick phone call to The Hartford. And lo and behold, their representative shared this little tidbit with me.
“We sent our payment for the accident, and since we’re 60% liable for the accident, please forward that car rental bill to us and we will forward you a check for 60% of the reimbursement.”
Which means that GEICO is responsible for the other 40% of the reimbursement. Which was confirmed in another phone call.
As I said before, I don’t care who pays me – as long as Chuck gets paid.
Take that, you stag and lizard.
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and render unto Chuck Miller that which is Chuck Miller’s. So both of you insurance companies – get to rendering.
Besides, I have another car payment to make on Dracourage.
And the least your companies can do is help me get my new ride paid off.