As of January 3, 2017 I have had four vehicles rear-ended by another driver who either wasn’t paying attention or was driving recklessly. In all four cases the other driver had insurance at the time of the accident and was confirmed by their insurance company. But in all four cases, by the time the “investigation” was completed, none of these drivers had coverage any more. Sound suspicious? Well it is…
On January 3, 2017 my 2016 Hyundai Tucson was rear-ended in Chico, CA while exiting the freeway. The light at the end of the ramp turned yellow and the driver (not me) stopped. The driver behind my vehicle assumed it would go through the yellow light and did not stop, rear-ending my vehicle. Thankfully nobody was hurt and the other driver was able to exchange contact and insurance information. C.H.P. also started an accident report, however no tickets were issued since both drivers had valid registrations and insurance and the roads were a little slippery. According to the officer, the person who rear-ended my car showed two different forms of insurance coverage which appeared to be valid.
Because the other driver struck my vehicle it was up to his insurance to cover the damages to my vehicle, which they agreed. They contacted their insurance, who then later contacted me to let me know they were processing the claim. The person from Viking Insurance who contacted me was Jessica, who then told me that they were investigating a possible coverage issue with their insured. In the mean time they told their insured everything was fine, that they were covered and that paperwork would be sent out within 15 days.
The next day I got a call from Heather at Viking who asked if I had been contacted previously. When I said I was, I was asked for my mailing address to send information to. As soon as I provided that information, Heather informed me that the other driver did not have coverage. When I asked how he could have coverage previously and not have it now she said that, “Due to privacy laws I cannot discuss those details with you”. I asked for her to confirm that the driver who rear-ended my car did not have coverage with them and she confirmed. She recommended I file a claim with my own insurance company citing that, since I have a newer vehicle, I most likely have coverage for this sort of thing.
Well that’s all fine and good, except in doing so I risk my premiums going up for something that was no fault of mine and the fact is, the other driver should be responsible for the damages since he struck my vehicle. I contacted the C.H.P. officer who filled out the report and told him that the other driver was not insured and asked why he didn’t issue a ticket for no insurance. He assured me that the driver did show two proofs of insurance, one for himself in any vehicle he was driving, and one for the vehicle he was in, which was apparently not his. The officer said they go by what they’re given at the time of the accident and don’t have time to verify the coverage with the company. He suggested I contact the other driver who was very cooperative with the officer.
So I contacted the other driver and he was baffled that his insurance company told me he wasn’t insured because, not only did they confirm his coverage with him on the phone, but he also made his next payment with them. I’m still waiting for a call back to confirm all of this, however in the mean time my insurance company (Farmers) closed my claim citing the other driver was at fault and that his insurance should cover my repairs. When I contacted them and told them he was insured it was put on my to prove the other driver was not insured since as far as everyone else was concerned, he was insured. Of course, now Viking Insurance isn’t returning calls. Go figure.
Famers contacted me to let me know they did get verbal confirmation from Viking Insurance that the other driver is not insured and are now willing to cover my claim. However the email I received once again states the claim is closed. At this point it’s worth mentioning that on my main vehicle when I first got it, I was the victim of a hit-and-run in Marysville, CA. It took a long time to get Farmer’s to agree to cover my vehicle as a hit-and-run due to Marysville Police not having the report done in a timely manner. Once they sorted things out and agreed to it I kept trying to get the confirmation to get the car worked on, but I always got a voice mail or was told they would call me back, but they did not. So that claim was never completed and I was in the middle of selling my home after that, so by the time I got moved the dirt on my vehicle all but covered up the scratches in my paint and I basically gave up. But to date they have not followed up on the claim. Big surprise there.
Farmers sent me another email saying my claim has been closed. Starting to see a pattern here. In the mean time I am filing a claim with the California Department of Insurance against Viking Insurance as I suspect foul play here. I’m still hopeful I can get the current situation with Farmers rectified…eventually.
Just because you pay your auto insurance doesn’t mean that when you need coverage you will get it. Many insurance companies have a reputation for finding ways not to pay. My previous three vehicles were rear-ended by drivers covered by Progressive Insurance. In each case they confirmed coverage of the driver who hit me, but then later cancelled that insurance so they wouldn’t have to pay. Viking Insurance and Dairyland Insurance are part of Sentry Insurance and typically insure high-risk drivers. It appears to me that they will also swindle you on a claim with similar tactics. See the links below for reviews on Viking Insurance and Dairyland Insurance. Note how many people had the same thing happen. If you’ve ever considered Progressive Insurance, read by blog entry on them. It may just change your mind.