Rear ended by GEICO policyholder, her policy lapsed after the claim, no $$
On Sept. 29, 2009, I was hit in the rearend by a woman driving a 2008 Nissan Versa. She was going approximately 25 mph when she hit me, I was at a complete stop. She pushed me into the car in front of me. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, though I did end up with whiplash. I called GEICO the day after the accident (9/20/2009) to start the claims process. I was given the name of an adjuster (a/k/a adjuster #1), along with her extension. I called and left a detailed message with my cell number to call me back on. I didn't hear from anyone for over a week but received a letter in the mail from adjuster #1, stating that she had been trying to get into contact with me. I called again several times, rather than leaving a message until she finally answered, on 10/9/2009 and I finally was able to get an appointment with the GEICO adjuster to get an estimate done on my vehicle, scheduled for almost a week later (10/14/2009), 15 days after the accident. The day before I was to go have my car estimated, I received a message from the man I hit. His message was that he was supposed to go that day to pick up his check to pay for his vehicle and was told there was a problem with the policy, and it was being reviewed and until resolved, there would be no payment. I went to my appointment the next day and was told by the estimator that he wasn't authorized to make payment at that time. He indicated that there was possibly a problem with the property damage coverage, that perhaps the policyholder only had $10,000 property damage coverage, and since there were multiple vehicles, we may not get full payment, depending on both our estimates. My estimate ended up being $6,700 After I left the estimator, I called the person that I hit after being hit, and he said his estimate was for $5,200, thereby putting us roughly $2,000 over what was possibly her coverage limit. At that time, I tried to contact adjuster #1, but as usual, got only her voicemail. Her voicemail gave an alternative extension to try if she was unavailable. I then called that person, a/k/a adjuster #2, and was told by him that upon his review of the file, he didn't see any problems and would send the estimator an email and payment should be available within 30 minutes. I called the estimator, who said he would be in touch shortly, hopefully with a check. 10 minutes later, the estimator called me to let me know that upon talking to adjuster #2, there was still issues on paying the claim, and there would be no payment yet. I called adjuster #2 again, and he said there should be a decision by the end of the week. I called adjuster #2 that Friday 10/16/2009, he still didn't have any information. At that time, I called the person I hit, and he said he had tried calling adjuster #1 the day before, and since it was after hours, had reached someone else, who told him that it appeared that perhaps the policy had lapsed the day of the accident and that they were reviewing the circumstances. I attempted to contact both adjuster #1 and #2 repeatedly for nearly a week, and finally called after hours that next Thursday 10/22/2009, and talked to a woman who, upon reviewing the file, said she didn't see any reason that they weren't paying the claims, according to the notes she had. She gave me the extension for the direct supervisor of adjuster #1 to call the next day, a/k/a adjuster #3. I called adjuster #3 on Friday, 10/23/2009, didn't reach him and left a message pretty much begging him to call me back. He didn't, so on Saturday, 10/24/2009 I called and reached another after hours person, who also reviewed the file, and said the only problem she could see was the property damage limits. I told her at that time that I, as well as the guy I had hit, were both aware that this may happen and wanted at least something, even if not full payment. She took the information, gave me adjuster #3s direct supervisor, a/k/a adjuster/supervisor #4s extension to call on Monday 10/26/2009 if I still didn't hear from anyone. Today, the 26th, I was still waiting to hear from someone when the guy I hit called me to tell me he heard from adjuster #1 (shocker!) and they were denying the claim, with no further explanation to him at the time. I called aduster/supervisor #4, whose voicemail indicated she was out of town for this week, and left adjuster #5s extension if there were problems. I actually got in touch with adjuster #5, who initially said he saw that payments had already been made to the policyholder on her claim and he didn't see any reason we weren't being paid. However, as he kept reading the file he came to the part where they were denying the claim. Apparently, on September 25th, the policyholder received notice that her policy was going to lapse if payment wasn't made within 15 days. According to adjuster #5, the policyholder sent in the premium within the 15 days in the form of a check. After the accident, and apparently after GEICO paid her $13,000 for her vehicle, the check she sent in was returned. According to him, the policy than was considered lapsed as of Sept. 25, 4 days prior to the accident. Now neither of us are getting paid; however, the person that caused the accident has had her vehicle repaired. Is it legal for GEICO to go back and backlapse a policy because of a bounced check on a premium? Is there any recourse for us, other than taking the owner/driver to court? It seems that if the policy was reinstated when she paid the premium, even if after the accident, a check was returned by the bank, the policy should have been in force at the time. Does anyone have any suggestions? We do live in Florida, and neither of us had collision coverage on our policys.