CENTRAL NJ, NEW JERSEY -- My car was totaled by a falling tree on our street 3:30 am on 5/12. Car completely crushed from front to back, driver to passenger sides. Police report indicates "vehicle completely crushed." I called Geico first thing that morning to file a claim. It has now been over a week (5/19 afternoon) and Geico has done nothing, except lose records of where my car is and assign to appraisal to two appraisers who are on vacation. Every time I call to check on progress I'm given a different story and assurances that this was just a fluke and my claim will be resolved promptly. After spending most of the day today on the phone with various people I just called to tell them I would be posting their handling of my claim on the web. Let's see if that helps.
A few details:
--5/12/08 Geico agent told me it might take as long as 3-5 business days for an adjuster to appraise my car, and said they wouldn't schedule for the adjuster to look at car until I had the tree removed. After I had tree removed, I called back and explained that this was my only car so I needed to expedite process so I could begin looking for replacement vehicle. I was told that the process would go much faster if I had car towed to auction service in area (IAA) where inspectors were there at least every other day to inspect cars. Scheduled for car to be towed to the recommended IAA location.
--5/13 Car towed to IAA. Called to confirm. Called Geico to confirm that they knew car had been towed and was waiting at IAA for inspection. Told adjuster would be scheduled to look at car soon. Called again and told 'it looks like car is total loss' and appraiser would call me with information on how much for car.
--5/14 Called again, car hadn't been assigned to appraiser yet. Called again, still waiting for appraiser to be assigned.
--5/15 Called again, got name of appraiser assigned to car, confirmed location of car, was told she was waiting to schedule when to see car. Told appraiser three keys for car and info about condition of car and extras (new tires, etc) placed in car for her review.
--5/16 Called again. Appraiser can't see car until Sat at latest.
--5/17 Call appraiser. She tells me she has 'bad news' car is not where her report told her it would be. She'll have her supervisor figure out where car is and reschedule appraisal ASAP. Call Geico, discover their records indicate car is still in my driveway waiting for appraisal to be scheduled! After many holds records are sorted out and apologies about errors and delays. "We now have everything straightened out."
--5/19 Call appraiser, get voicemail saying she is on vacation this week! Call Geico. Apologies. They call back and confirm appraiser is really on vacation. Job assigned to new dispatcher. Call Geico and learn new appraiser assigned by dispatcher is on vacation today! Call supervisor. Tells me new appraiser is on vacation, nothing can be done today, but he'll look at your car later this week. Call again to complain. Told new appraiser will try to look at car tomorrow or maybe Wed. Call again, told Appraiser will be asked to make this a priority.
--5/20 Call new appraiser. He's back from vacation. Hasn't heard anything from dispatcher about appraising my car today, but promised to look at car first thing tomorrow (5/21) and get back to me.
Car was in excellent condition. I need to know how much I will get for car before I can even begin to decide what to do next. We have only one car. I didn't opt for rental car insurance. Now friends who have made claims with Geico tell me they always give you a low estimate and you have to 'go through the process to get fair value.' If it has taken this long and they haven't even given me an estimate I don't know what I'm going to do if I then have to go back an negotiate for fair value of car. I really hope that posting this information can help encourage Geico to give fair service and stop delaying.
--5/21 Called appraiser. He was looking at my car when I called. While appraisal was not as much as I had hoped (not enough to buy equivalent make and mileage car in my immediate area before taxes) it was within the range of what the published NADA value. Appraiser noted that front and back bumpers seemed to be cracked. I explained that car had no significant bumper damage--certainly no cracks. Damage to bumper must be from the forklift they used to open trunk at salvage area. He reduced deduction for prior damage. Was able to view appraisal online by end of day. Title mailed to Geico by overnight mail. I included preaddressed return envelope to expedite receipt of check.
--5/28 received check for totaled car. It was about $1000 less than what I could purchase closest make and model to car I lost in my area, but that's about as good as it gets.
totaled car was appraised and check sent. I do feel that posting this review helped to expedite the claim process and encourage others to be persistent in making sure their claims are processed efficiently.
CENTRAL, IOWA -- Full story: http://aviary.info/cardamage
July 8th, 2004
Here's the "story"
There was quite an impressive display of thunder and lightning this morning as a formidable thunderstorm swept through the area. Our power was out for some time and during all of the commotion, I had to get ready to go to work.
It was an uneventful trip until about 5:15 am. I was startled to say the least when my ears were assaulted by one of the loudest cracks and booms of thunder I'd ever heard. Part of the whole effect though, and perhaps the more important effect was the bright white flash. My whole world turned into a loud white flash.
As soon as the light faded, my car started honking at random, the driver's side power seat went all the way down and reclined into the back seat and of course, my car stopped running and I coasted to the shoulder on the side of the road.
Not good. Car won't start. I did manage to get it to stop playing random settings on my dirver's side chair by removing and replacing the power from the battery but that didn't do anything to bring back my computer monitor that usually tells me my MPG, time, temp and such. It's just showing lines and dashes. So, I've just lost a good car... got a spare? :)
It.s important to note that Midstates Ford in Waukee, IA diagnosed several problems as .old age. so now Geico isn.t going to cover those repairs. These are: Cooling fan module/regulator, light amplifier (for automatic headlights). A new problem has been found since the temp has started rising in the area. The air conditioning pump doesn't work when you turn on the air. The little clutch that should lock so the belt turns the pump doesn't lock. Of course, I can't afford another $250 for Midstates Ford to tell me it's also OLD AGE. (they charged me $266 to diagnose the lights and cooling) Midstates described the problem with the light amplifier as a burnt out resistor. WELL that certainly sounds like an electrical surge issue to me. Evidently not.
I.m mad at Geico for not protecting my investment, which is why I purchased the insurance to begin with and I.m very angry at Midstates for handling the issue with a startling amount of incompetence. They didn.t even know how to get the claim to Geico! They wanted me to pay for the repairs then get reimbursed myself.
I haven't had a chance to contact Geico yet about the body damage. Likely they're going to ask why I didn't notice before. Well, I haven't been able to DRIVE THE CAR is why. It was struck almost a YEAR ago (July 2004) and I've JUST NOW gotten it to a point where it's at least drivable as long as I don't go too slow or stop while it's running because it'll over heat. Yah, this is why we have full coverage insurance huh people?
On the photo pages, you'll see pics of my back window. I tried cleaning that off, scraping it off, it doesn't come off. It's part of the window now. I bet money Geico's going to deny it.
So I.ve had the car towed to R&D in Stuart, IA, they towed it to Mid-states ford in Waukee, IA who then had the vehicle in their shop on several different occasions.
The last time I took it to them I gave them this paper as well:
ATTN: Midstates Ford
After getting my car back from Midstates Ford the transmission had begun to fail so I parked the car for a little over a month. I finally sent it to Mitchel Transmission in downtown DM to have the transmission rebuilt. Since getting the car back from them there are the following lingering issues which I think are from the original lightning damage:
Headlights: At first they would shut off when the car was turned off or after the delay setting but the parking lights would remain lit. Now, the headlights just stay on all the time regardless of the auto-lamp settings and delay settings. Midstates reply: Old Age caused the resistor to burst
Alarm: Horn/alarm goes off at random after exiting the vehicle. No combination of locking, keys, keypad, etc prevents it. Midstates reply: That I have an aftermarket alarm installed, which I don.t.
Cilmate Control: Likes to switch itself into a manual fan speed mode out of Automatic periodically and without warning. It has done this 2-3 times an hour. I thought it was just overly sensitive and was switching over bumps but it.s done it on smooth roads as well and once while parked. Midstates reply: Can.t diagnose because the cooling fan isn.t working so they didn.t want to drive it. . Explain to me then why I dropped it off with almost a full tank and pick it up with under a quarter?
Electric cooling fan: This doesn.t seem to be working at all. The car has overheated 3 times. I am pretty sure I.ve now completely messed up the anti-freeze mixture ratio. Midstates reply: Old age
All of these issues have been present since I have been driving the car. I didn.t really notice any of them when I drove it back from Midstates the first time because that the transmission was shot so I disconnected the battery and parked it for over a month.
Last time the car was in to get the climate control replaced the trim around the climate control was broken and is now loose so please be careful this time when removing parts from the car. Midstates reply: None
I.d also like it if you could get the air filter cover bolts replaced. I know this isn.t something you can submit to the insurance company but if you could give me an estimate of what you.d charge to get those stripped bolts off and replaced I think I.d rather just pay you to do it than try and work it out myself. Midstates reply: None
I have another Mark VIII that I can grab parts from to use on my car so if you can tell me the name of the piece that.s causing the anti-lock brake issues I could swap with the parts car and have mine working again hopefully. I might have to swap the new part you installed with the used part from the parts car but either way, I should be able to get ABS working again myself if I knew what the two parts were that were having trouble. Midstates reply: None
In addition to what's listed, I just noticed that the AC doesn't work either. Never had the car when it was warm enough out to notice. It worked before the lightning but doesn't work now. Come to think of it, since it was raining the morning I was struck, odds are great that the AC was on at the time. They claim the following things went bad as of old age. I claim it was bad due to the lightning. I had less than 300 miles on the car from the time I got it back from the tranny shop till the time I dropped it off at Midstates Ford.
Here's the latest email I sent to Mid-states ford 5/16/05: My vehicle was struck by lightning and the shop (Brian at Mid-states) has now started claiming that various items that are broken are now related to .old age. and not the electrical surge from the lightning. This makes no sense because the things that are broken are all electrical. The cooling fan which is tied directly into the A/C is broken as is the A/C, the automatic headlights are also shot.
The A/C was recently noticed when it got warmer out last week. I found out today that the A/C is directly linked to the cooling fan on the vehicle. The odds of the A/C going bad at the same time as the cooling fan are slim. The odds of an electrical surge from lightning causing the damage is pretty good.
Here.s some information on the car and the insurance company/auto shop.s handling of it:
http://www.aviary.info/cardamage I need to have this looked at again. I paid $260+ to have someone open the car to diagnose several issues I was having trouble with and only got responses to two of those. The car was struck by lightning almost a year ago. Since then it.s been in the shop about 5 times, 4 of them at your location. When I finally got the car back the 3rd time, I had a transmission issue that wasn.t there before. Well I paid $1400 to have that fixed and then I noticed I still had other problems. By the time I got Brian on the phone again and brought it in, they evidently decided that it was old age. I don.t know if it.s because Brian is being intimidated by Geico or not but it.s ridiculous to think that these ELECTRICAL problems are not caused by the lightning. This isn.t a case of, well it WAS working and now it.s not. It.s a case of I never had the car to see what was broken or not until recently and these things ARE NOT WORKING. They didn.t go bad over time, they didn.t go bad at different times. they all went bad AT THE SAME TIME.
To top it all off, Midstates has never even mentioned the body damage. I knew of two locations that had physical damage. The grill and the driver.s door. I had the grille fixed at the first shop that looked at the car (the R&D shop in Stuart who eventually brought it to Mid-states). The driver.s door wasn.t a big deal to me because I was sick of dealing with you. Well I got the car back and actually drove it for a bit. I washed it off last week and found what looked like a stain on the back window. I tried washing it off and couldn.t. I then looked closer and found that it was electrical damage. The windshield, driver.s door and back window all have damage. You can see the damage on the photos on the page I listed. http://www.aviary.info/cardamage/hires.htm
Have someone contact me who cares what the general public thinks about your company.
I'm also trying to contact a couple of attorneys in my area. If you know of a good one, let me know. chad at aviary.info
Recently, I contacted someone at the National Lighnint Safety Institure and Richard Kithil, Jr., Founder and CEO took the time to respond to the photos I submitted. Here are his two replies and contact information, reprinted with his permission.
From: Richard Kithil Jr.
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2005 6:52 PM
To: Kovac, Chad
Subject: Re: Car struck by lightning
We have two PhDs in electrical engineering, very
experienced with lightning issues, who both have
concluded lightning was the proximate cause of
damage to your car.
Let the insurance company submit their own
outside expert opinion and we will compare
From: Richard Kithil Jr.
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 9:47 AM
To: Kovac, Chad
Subject: Re: Car struck by lightning
Electronics and associated wiring are often
damaged by lightning's high voltages. A
competent examiner should inspect each
component in the car. Yes, use our info.
and have insur. co. contact us if they wish.
See if insur. adjuster knows the term "lichtenberg
figure" as that is what is on your window glass.
Only lightning can create this pattern.
Richard Kithil, Jr., Founder & CEO
National Lightning Safety Institute
891 N. Hoover Ave., Louisville CO 80027
Email: rkithil (at) lightningsafety D0T com
Tel. 303-666-8817; Fax 303-666-8786
A Non-Profit Agency Providing Objective
New Global Lightning Safety Bulletin Board at:
Response from Mid-States Ford:
From: Gary McKnight
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 12:26 PM
To: Richard Kithil
Cc: Kovac, Chad
Subject: CHAD KOVAC VEHICLE
TO RICHARD KITHIL
INREGARDS TO CHAD KOVAC'S VEHICLE. WE ARE THE DEALER THAT FIXED WHAT WAS KNOWN TO BE WRONG WITH THE VEHICLE AT THE TIME
THE VEHICLE WAS HIT BY LIGHTING. WE WILL BE GLAD TO FIX ADDITIONAL
ITEMS ON HIS VEHICLE IF HIS INSURANCE COMPANY IS WILLING TO PAY FOR THESE ITEMS. I BELIEVE THAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY ONLY FEELS RESPONSIBLE FOR A CERTAIN AMOUNT TIME AND THAT TIME MAY HAVE EXPIRED.
VP OF FIXED OPERATIONS
The insurance claim guy came and saw the car this morning. He agreed that the body damage is lightning related and is going to communicate that to Geico.
I'm still screwed when it comes to the other issues on my vehicle.
I have used GEICO auto insurance for many years. Fortunately, I had never needed to file a claim until recently when my 30 year old son was involved in a moderately bad collision with a tree after sliding backwards on a newly stone chipped road. His 2006 Toyota Tacoma sustained damages in excess of $7000. By the grace of God neither he, nor his two passengers were seriously injured.
We contacted GEICO claims at approximately midnight on a Saturday night. The initial claims adjuster listened to all the details, was helpful in explaining the process and reassuring that we would be taken care of. It sounded real good but quite honestly, I was dubious after all, this was a claim and previous dealings with other insurance companies had been painful at times.
The first thing Monday morning we were contacted by the assigned field adjuster. He arranged to have the truck picked up from an inpound lot immediately and towed to the auto body shop of my choice. He authorized a rental vehicle immediately and my son was back on the road on Monday afternoon. He re-explained the process, estimated the damages the following day and authorized repairs. When hidden damages were discovered he re-authorized further repairs. When the repairs and body shop took longer than initially estimated, the adjuster continuously re-authorized extended use of the rental vehicle.
The entire claims process worked as well or better than I had been assured that it would. Frankly, this was a really pleasant surprise as there were no negative outcomes. Following the repairs, I was contacted by an independent company hired by GEICO to evaluate our claims experience. Obviously, I evaluated our GEICO claims experience as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 as it really was outstanding. I do not frequently post on this site and the one time I did a review, it was extremely negative. I feel out of fairness, I should do the same when I receive service and treatment way beyond my expectations.
For any and all of the skeptics reading this post, I assure you I am not affiliated with GEICO other than being a customer, This is absolutely the best insurance claim experience I have ever had.
BETHESDA, MARYLAND -- I am DONE with Geico. They are a multi-billion dollar company that promises auto mobile drivers the best cost on insurance ... i.e. 15 minutes can save you 15%. However, they told me that my upcoming re-instatement period I should see a noticeable reduction in my premium due to being and accident and violation free customer for the last 3 years. My premium actually ended up being the same. I have been with them for 6 years. The last accident I had was on Sept 2005, and yet they say they are not penalizing me for the accident and do not surcharge for activity beyond 3 years. What a CROCK!!!! When I went on an online site that farms out the best quote I didn't put any activity in since I don't have any violations or accidents over the last 3 years. They had the nerve to send me a quote for $340 less than my premium that is coming up. Simple solution: Realize they are crooks and shop your insurance. I went to insurance.com and immediately got an email from a representative with another company saving me $200 instantly over a 6 month premium. Geico wanted to state I did receive a reduction but there was a rate increase in my area. What a bunch of bull!!! Yet they are now trying to encourage me to stay with them and that I will see a drastic reduction on my next term when the accident in 2005 falls off.... YET they don't surcharge for accidents and violations beyond 3 years. RIGHT?????? Don't believe what they tell you.
Also google them and find out how many lawsuits they have against them. I tried to also call and speak with a manager about my experience and disgust with them just so they know they are losing a loyal customer due to their dishonesty and yet I can't even get a manager on the phone!!!!!!! Good riddens GEICO!!!!!!
This company is the biggest rip off. I've had insurance with them for about 8 years and never have filed a claim. I had an accident and the other driver did not have insurance so I filed with Lieco.
No one would believe some of the things they did, but as I'm one to keep very good documentation I have proof of all of it.
My car was (it was totaled) a 2004 Grand Am in perfect condition.
I purchased it from where I work, a very reputable large dealership.
It had only 58,000 miles on it at the time of the accident. Right before my accident I just had new tires put on, new brakes and had it serviced.
The estimator didn't go look at my car for 10 days. Geico had moved it several times.
OK, now you better be sitting down. They told me my car value would be based on two things. Number one, the condition of my car...fair enough and the area where I live...fair.
They sent me a list of what was wrong with my car. Are you ready?
Burn holes, seats and floor stained, headliner tore, scratches on the dashboard, fuel leakage, had been repainted, tire tread 60% gone. Now I'm saving the best for last. THEY SAID MY CAR HAD NICKS, SCRATCHES, AND DENTS!!!! Yes, you read right. They were going to count off for a car that was totaled and had scratches and dents.
Oh it gets better...Then they told me they didn't base the value of a car by Kelly Blue Book at all. They used the Greensheet (personal ads paper) and other personal ads. When I disputed that saying replacement value of a car wasn't cars that no one even knew the condition of. They tell me they will send some from dealerships but they couldn't find any vehicles like mine in the Houston area. (600 square miles)They sent me vehicle prices from all over Texas and other states. I did a little research and found 14 in the Houston area and sent them to them. Of course they were valued at a higher price. This has gone on for 3 months. They offered me $2,000 below what is supposed to be.
My advice is not to get insurance with Geico and if you have it either cancel it or go by and have it estimated every 3 months.
Soon I will have a web-site. I will update this and give it out.
It's funny as heck. One last thing, did anyone ever hear of magical tires? Apparently they exist., because mine grew tire tread when I produced a receipt.
We originally signed up with GEICO for auto insurance six years ago because their policy price was the most reasonable. With each year's renewal, however, the price escalated until we felt it was ridiculous. I called the company that we use for our home owner's insurance and asked for a quote. I was shocked when the agent called me back to tell me that he couldn't give us a quote because our CLUE report score was so bad. I didn't know what a CLUE report was, but I found out fast. A company called Choice Point keeps a claim history on people that they release to insurance companies. The history may include any call made to an insurance company regarding loss, EVEN IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY A DIME!
I called Geico and asked them to fax me a copy of the claims against us. Geico had reported four accidents against us that weren't our fault and for which they didn't pay any money--my car was hit in the rear twice and was hit while it was parked in a supermarket parking lot (fortunately, there was a witness); my husband's car was hit by someone who didn't have the right-of-way. Geico also reported a one-time emergency road service call against us (we paid for the service in our policy) and a one-time glass breakage against us (a small pit where the windshield was hit by a stone was repaired). With the exception of the glass breakage and the one-time emergency road service, Geico didn't pay any claims for us, yet GEICO REPORTED WHATEVER IT COULD TO PUT IN OUR CLUE REPORT TO RAISE OUR SCORE SO NO OTHER INSURANCE COMPANY WOULD WANT TO UNDERWRITE A POLICY ON US. When I called Geico to try to discuss the so-called "claims" against us, a snippy woman told me that they did not discuss these "claims," that they were for the use of the insurance company only.
Insurance agents have to pay for CLUE reports, so what most of them do is call to get people's scores. If the score is high, they don't bother getting the report; they don't want to insure you. After I found out what Geico had done, I called our insurance agent back and told him that I'd pay for the CLUE report. I think he was embarrassed, so he got it and called me back later with a quote--almost $500 less than what Geico was charging us.
Someone from Geico called to remind us to send our payment in for renewal. When I said we weren't using Geico anymore, the woman offered to give us a better rate by removing some of our "accidents." If nothing else, the people at Geico have real gall.
I wouldn't be surprised if some other insurance companies have the same dirty practices as Geico. We had an expensive, aggravating lesson.
FLORIDA -- I took out an insurance policy with GEICO, they offered the best price for the coverage I wanted. Five (5) days later, I received a letter for their 'area representative', asking for a copy of the title on the truck I had purchased the day I took the policy out. WITHIN 10 DAYS OF THE DATE OF THE LETTER, dated the day I took out the policy. I had not received registration / title and I contacted the dealer I purchased the truck from. He laughed and told me I would be lucky if I received the title in 30 days, much less 10 days ("unheard of ").
I sent copy of application for title which is almost the same. GEICO informed me they were canceling policy due to lack of documentation. I called GEICO headquarters and told them what was going on. They connected me with the 'department head',he was a head alright. He informed me I had not sent the required document, to which I told him I could not do within the time restraints he gave ( guy sounded like he was from India). All he would say is " you did not send the documentation requested" when I tried to explain he said "you did not send the requested document". I hung up, now I am paying twice the price for same coverage, but I have insurance. NEVER AGAIN GECKO ! BTW this happened in Florida.
HAMDEN, CONNECTICUT -- After noticing that my annual premium rose by $100, I inquired. emails unanswered, I called. They said that it was "due to my age," Thus, the fact that I had not been in an accident or traffic incident of any kind for half a century bore no significance to them. I was arbitrarily and stupidly dumped into a bin. I dumped them back, they lose the income from my account and the new carrier charged me $200 less for the same coverage. This was after over a decade of business with them but to them loyalty is strictly a one-way street.
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- I recently cancelled my policies with GEICO. I had been a relatively satisfied customer for over 15 years! Recently, I was able to lump my homeowners policy, my auto policy and my umbrella policy into one and received a significant discount. I did this before my GEICO policy was to be renewed. I then received a bill from GEICO for $18.08 stating that they had continued my policy when I had already received notices that it was cancelled. Now, they have sent this to a collections agency! What CONS! Find a better policy. Go with your local insurance broker in your own communities! That's what I did.
I backed into a piece of property when I was with another insurance service provider. I smashed my rear windshield. The property was OK. I called the insurance company to ask them if they would cover anything. I did not have comprehensive insurance, so they did not. I did not technically want to "file a claim" but they did that anyway. This incident is _not_ on my driving record. The landlord did not want any money, I paid $1000 towards my windshield and the insurance company did not have to pay or do anything. They did not hike my insurance up.
Now when I switched over to Geico, they quoted me an amount, and then hiked that amount up $500 as soon as I gave them my account number with the previous company and they discovered this "incident".
Why should Geico hike up my insurance when no insurance company had to pay anything for this and it is not on my driving record? It looks like they pounce on any chance to rip you off.