Last Friday, I had to travel down to Virginia to meet my new boss and submit some paperwork to the security office. I had the option to take the metro or drive, but since it was in the early afternoon (with low traffic), I decided to drive. Well, I wish I hadn’t.
I had an uneventful drive down in the Honda Ridgeline until I got close to the office. That’s when I got a little lost, but that’s not the main problem. I finally found the place and the parking garage connected to it. I went in, but couldn’t find a spot so I left and circled around again. I then found another parking garage about 3 blocks away, parked the truck and went to the office.
I was in the office for 2 hours, walked back to my truck, unlocked it remotely, but before I got in, I noticed something. Someone had swiped the driver side of my truck! There was a large, silver SUV or pickup truck with a cap parked next to me when I parked, but of course I didn’t have the foresight to memorize the license plate of the vehicles next to me. I was in a hurry to get into the office.
Luckily the damage is just cosmetic. A minor portion of the rear driver-side door is scuffed down to the base coat, and the raised area above the rear tire (see the stock photo over to the left) is dented and scuffed. It’s all sheet metal, so they can pound out the dents.
So What Did I Do?
I’ve never been involved in a hit and run before, and I didn’t think the police would come to the parking garage given past experience. In the few accidents I’ve had in the past decade, I called the police, but they wouldn’t come out when no one was hurt. So I just drove home, called Allstate and put in a claim.
I’ve put in a few claims so I knew what to expect, but this time I was thrown for a little loop. The operator suggested that I use the uninsured motorist (U/M) coverage in my policy. I knew I had this, but I totally forgot about it. I’m very glad I have it though, and here’s why:
Note: Your policy may differ:
- With the U/M coverage, our deductible goes down from $500 to $250
- With the U/M coverage, it’s an instant “no fault” claim. This is a major bonus because our 3 years from the last accident is up this April. That’s when our premium should go down. I was really worried about the effects on this timeline.
- With the U/M coverage, I can get a rental vehicle even though I don’t have rental coverage on our regular policy
The uninsured motorist coverage has other benefits such as medical and liability coverages, but since the car was unattended and didn’t hit anything else, I didn’t need those extra features.
The Claims Process
So I took the truck into the drive-thru claims office near our home and waited for 30 minutes while the claims adjuster reviewed the damage, looked up quotes and prices and then finally issued an estimate for work. He asked where I would take the truck for repairs and I said I would take it to the Allstate facility (Sterling Auto Body). I’ve used them in the past and they’ve always produced good work.
Now this is something I haven’t done before: He actually cut me a check right there for the amount above the $250 deductible. The final damage was $825, so the check was for $575, made out directly to, wait, ME. I didn’t notice that until just now. I guess I should go cash this check, huh? I could have sworn he told me to give that check to Sterling.
Anywho, I scheduled the repairs for Monday, which I conveniently have off due to the MLK Jr. holiday. I don’t expect the truck to be out of commission for too long, but luckily we have 2 other vehicles if I really needed to drive somewhere.
So the lesson here is to know your coverage. If the Allstate rep wasn’t on the ball enough to suggest the U/M coverage, I would have been spending hundreds more just for the deductible. And I wish there was some other lesson about driving and parking, but sometimes we just have bad luck.
Oh, and although Allstate charges me higher premiums than I expect I would be paying elsewhere, I’ve been very, very pleased with their claims service every time I used it…and that’s been quite a few times in the last 7 years.
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