What I feared the worst happened - Ole Red, my 1991 Jeep Cherokee got hit with a total loss from the douchebag that hit me from behind. The frame horn on the right side had more damage and that pushed it into the "your fucked" category. I wasn't surprised considering my Jeep was pushing 18 years old and the odometer was 190,000 miles - but Red still had a lot of miles left and looked great for his age. The adjuster broke the bad news and told me he would be submitting the paperwork to the loss department. That meant I was going to be slapped with a salvage title. Once you get that, the vehicle cannot be driven until the repairs have been made. Giving up the Jeep wasn't an option as it was my only source of transportation, plus Jeep owners can't part with them. So I hoped the settlement would be enough to make the repairs.
I tried to stay upbeat and drove over to the body shop. Bill the manager showed me the damage to the right side of the frame where the trailer hitch got twisted. He told me it was a shame that my Jeep got hit with the loss, because it was in great shape. He informed me the damage to the frame wasn't that severe and it was fixable. I told him the trailer hitch didn't have a hook-up for to run lights and I never used it. As for the hatch, the crack in the fiberglass was at the bottom and so insufficient that most people wouldn't even notice it. The smudge marks could be easily buffed out and I wasn't going to make a big deal over that. We crunch some numbers and got it down to $830.00 to pull the frame back to factory specs and replace the bumper.
The next morning I recieved a call from Safeco's loss department. They gave me the information on what I was entitled to. They claimed the Jeep was worth $1313.00 in the Cleveland and surrounding area and that's what I would get for all my troubles. These days $1300 doesn't buy you a decent beater. The other option was if I kept it, the payment would be $853.00 because they deducted the salvage loss. I told the guy that $853.00 wasn't enough to cover the repairs. I've heard all of the horror stories of insurance companies stonewalling and playing hardball. As expected he started to make excuses and I knew most of the insurance people you talk to don't have permission to wipe their asses. So I started working up the ladder and I was ready to use my trump card - call a lawyer. I explained to the manager that I wasn't responsible for the accident and I wasn't going to fork over the money to make the repairs. I wasn't asking for a lot of money, just to be fairly compensated. The guy tells me if I can prove that I took care of the vehicle, that might boost the value of it. I faxed over several repair statements of the work I got done over the year. A couple of hours later, I got a call and what he said next left me speechless - they were going to give me $970.00 and who said insurance companies are a bunch of heartless pricks.
Maybe the guy was a Jeep owner........