July 16, 2012

Car Damage Woes

One Saturday morning in March, Shep came into the apartment exclaiming that he'd seen that our car had been hit in the garage while parked, but there was no note left and the garage attendants had no record of the incident on their video footage.  I thought:  "WHAT?!?!  The garage we pay a pretty penny to park in each month???"  Yep, that one.  Shep was, understandably, very upset that the car had been hit.  After all, our beloved CR-V is only 2 years old and we've been so careful with it!  I tried to reassure my hubby that if our car had to be hit the best possible scenario was for it to be hit while parked, with no one inside that could get hurt.  Although I believed what I was saying, I was still pretty annoyed.  What kind of person hits a car and then drives away without leaving a note?!?!  We went down together to survey the damage and saw this...

The first thought that ran through my head was "phew, it could've been a lot worse".  The next thought was "how much is this going to cost to fix" and "uh oh, are we going to have to pay for these repairs since there's no other party to blame"?  And if so, "is our insurance premium going to increase because of this????".

Scared, I attempted to call Geico, our auto insurance company, anonymously to investigate whether or not a hit-and-run-while-parked claim would affect our insurance rates.  Unfortunately, they weren't able to provide a definitive answer without looking into my specific policy.  I thought for sure that as soon as I identified myself that I'd be on-the-hook and would surely be told me new insurance rate would be approximately 1 billion dollars a year.  ;)  To my great surprise, I was advised by my claim specialist that although I would be responsible for our deductible (which is less than ideal since we weren't at fault for our parked car getting hit by a jerk that drove away without taking responsibility for his/her actions), our insurance premium would not increase as a result of this incident.  PHEW.  What a relief that was!  The Geico claim agent walked me through the process, referred me to a local body shop that could do the work, and told me he and his colleagues aimed to provide 10-star service.  I rolled my eyes as I thanked him for his time and hung up the phone.  To be honest, I was expecting to be lied to, ripped off, misled and more.... but let me tell you something -- we did receive 10-star service from the Geico claims rep, the on-site Geico adjuster at the body shop, and the shop personnel they referred us to.  All in all, it was a relatively painless process, given the situation.

Why am I writing this post?  A couple reasons:
  • to recommend Geico.  They really did everything in their power to make the process as simple and convenient for us as possible and we were incredibly satisfied with their service.  In case you're wondering, we gave them the 10 stars they earned on the follow-up survey we received.
  • to provide others that find themselves in a similar situation with some info on what to expect if you're the victim of a hit-and-run-while-parked.  (1) Don't panic.  (2) Snap a quick photo of the damage.  Try to obtain any security footage that may exist of the incident.  (3) Contact your auto insurance agency as soon as possible.  Although there was no time frame within which we had to make the repairs according to the Geico policy, I am sure this varies according to the insurance company so the sooner you look into it the better.
  • to highlight that random accidents happen all the time, and nobody can predict when/if this kind of thing will happen.  Of course, if your names are "Nicole & Shep" chances are higher it will happen to you.  ;)  Take this into consideration when choosing your auto insurance coverage AND deductible.  Yes, you can control your driving, you can take defensive driving courses and measures to keep yourself and your car as safe as possible, but there are no guarantees.  Life happens!  That's what insurance is for.  ;)  Just be sure that you can live with the policy and deductible you choose for yourself.

Well, that's our bad luck story!  Do any readers have any additional advice to share?  Has anyone been the victim of a hit and run, either on the road or while parked?

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