Poor to No Service after USAA Insured struck my vehicle
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -- I was 400 miles from home, when an inattentive drive slammed into the rear of my vehicle. This occurred about 4 pm on a Friday. Why waiting for police to arrive, we exchanged insurance information. I took photographs of the vehicles before being moved and afterward, photographs of damaged. The other driver was insured with USAA. I called USAA to verify the coverage was in effect. USAA refused to verify, but took my information. The following Monday, I called USAA to verify and again was refused. USAA asked me to take my vehicle to their service center (vehicle was drivable but heavily damaged) They told me I could take it to their service center I week from Thursday. I explained that I was 400 miles from home and was going back home on Wednesday and asked if there was a service center in my home town. No there was not. I was then told that if I wanted my vehicle repair, I would find a way to get it to their service center. I told them that was not feasible, and the reply was "That's your problem."
I arrive back home and took my vehicle to my body shop. I called USAA (and recorded our conversation) and advised them where the vehicle was, they said they would send someone out, but never did. Three weeks later my vehicle was repaired and I picked it up. USAA, denied the claim, because I did not take it to the center they wanted me to and did not take it to the body shop they use and did not get approval for the repairs. I paid for the repairs $5500 and the rental car ($1000) I then, had my attorney sue both the driver and USAA. The driver was upset at being sued and even more upset and USAA for not protecting him. The driver then contacted his attorney, who sued USAA.
The depositions were fun. USAA hired local counsel, who showed up for depositions. What USAA told him and what my documentation, unanswered letters and recorded phone calls reflected were two different stories. USAA's attorney was pissed that USAA withheld evidence from him. The final result, USAA was assessed by the court and amount equal to my repairs and rental, plus interest (took almost two years to get to court) all my legal fees, and was assessed an additional $20000 in punitive damages, which under the deceptive trade practice law was automatically trebled. Result $6500 in actual losses, $60,000 to me and $26000 to my attorney.
The other driver won his suit against USAA for failing to defend him and breach of contract. I sure that was settled quite handsomely as well, for both the driver and his attorney.
I fail to see the reasoning why USAA preferred to put out in the neighborhood of $100,000 just to deny responsibility for a $6500 claim.