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Hit and run...advice


SavannahZ

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Hello all,

Came out of work tonight and saw that my car had been hit in the front driver's fender. I work down of river street here in savannah, georgia, and parking is never fun. Anyhow, there is a full size dodge ram van beside it at a really terrible angle. His fender had white paint on it, my color, and was the same level of the impact. I wrote down his info and called the police. The owner of the van comes down and says he saw a car hit it twenty minutes ago and take off. He couldn't provide any details. The police officer said he thinks the van might be the culprit, but he couldn't cite him...ect. ect. He included the guys info in the report and told him an investigator might come and look at the van.

My deductible is five hundred and the damage is solely to the fender. I've never dealt with anything like this and am thinking that I should skip the insurance, if it indeed is a hit-and-run, and just find a fender to bolt on out of pocket.

The damage isn't all that bad...my poor Z! :hurt: Why are people such cowards and unethical sometimes? Be responsible and own up.

---Jonathan

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I would contact your insurance . The accident was not your fault , let them go after the other guy . they may not but I would ask your agent to see if it will effect your rates. Then make a decision weather on not you will calim the dammages . Gary

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Sorry Gary, but just the fact that you were in an accident is noted on your insurance record, and you DON'T want to contact them with the news, unless you're going to make a claim. (I found this out when I had my house fire. Luckily I hadn't given my name.)

The other reason you wouldn't want to contact the insurance company is that NOBODY was charged nor cited for the accident. With no one to fault and therefore recover from, the insurance company has no one to pursue for payment. They will pay for it, but they'll cite it against your uninsured, or comprehensive coverage. The end result is....it goes on your record.

Those "demerits" are used by them to determine whether you are an "at-risk" driver, and although the insurance is on your car, it is YOU that is actually "graded". Toss in young age and male......ZAPPO.....higher premiums.

Then you have the value issue. Unless your policy has been underwritten with the VALUE of the Z as a Classic, AND the value thereof has been agreed on, they'll resort to their actuarial tables and not the NADA and Blue Book guides. Unless you want to get into a small battle with your insurance company, you might suddenly find your car being totalled by them. Remember they decide to total the car when a given percentage (don't know the number) of it's value in their actuarial tables has been exceeded by the repair amount estimated.

So bottom line, if you CAN fix it and the cost is minimal....fix it and chalk it up to another life experience, or as Forrest Gump would say....Sh!t Happens. And DON'T contact your insurance company at all.

Regarding the deductible and the amount of the repair, two points to offer.

First, raise that deductible. Although a $500 ded. sounds good, in actuality you will always be debating whether to claim or not. You'll be right back here. Make it an even thousand and that way you will know what you will be paying for, and can then approach the damage with the care you'll want to assign to picking the repair parts, time and if necessary body shop.

Secondly, by raising that deductible you will lower your premium considerably. If you do get into an accident that is expensive, that first thousand, although yours to pay, will be a small part of the claim. Remember, the deductible is for damages to YOUR car and not anyone else's car you might damage. Stash the savings into a bank account, and soon you'll have that grand earning YOU interest, and there should you have to use it.

Hope this helps.

Enrique

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Enrique has some great points, and it sounds like he is quite familiar with the system. But here is my limited experience. I have had two separate hit and runs on my ZX.

I carry a fifty dollar deductable COLLISION insurance. In both cases the damage seemed small (to me) but they cost something like 600 each to fix. My rates did not go up after those inci dents (bad pun).

Enrique is definitely right about more extensive damage being considered grounds for declaring the car totaled though.

But I used my insurance because that's what I pay the extorshinist bastards for.

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Thanks for all the advice.

I am just going to look for a fender or see what a body shop will fix it for. I told the insurance rep to close the case and I'll handle it myself.

I am going to see how much raising my deductible to 1,000 will change my premium. All points make sense. It is amazing how many details one must know!

What are the differences between the fenders, if any, between years? Mine is a series one(12/70).

---Jonathan

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On the other hand WTF is up with the Dodge van guy. Is there no way to prove that he hit your car? How about doing your own "CSI"? Take a bunch of pictures of your car and his. Measure the distance from the ground to the damage on your fender compared to his bumper. Go to the scene and find a witness. Build a case. Then go to his house and confront him. "You hit my car, here is the proof, either pay for the damage or I'll take you to small claims court". Just scare the guy. Take someone dressed in a suit pretending to be your lawyer. It's worth a try. :ermm:

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I told the insurance rep to close the case and I'll handle it myself.

If you already reported it, that's all you can do, but I suspect that even with the "case closed" the record of the event will still remain in their files. Businesses don't usually "delete" anything from their files. It may still be used against you when it comes time to renew your policy. The insurance company IS NOT your friend.

JMO (having dealt with several of them over the years),

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...How about doing your own "CSI"? ....Go to the scene and find a witness. Build a case. Then go to his house and confront him. ...Just scare the guy. ...

Ed:

CSI on TV is a nice interesting show. But that's about all it is. Don't be led to believe that it's that easy to prove anything. Even if you could get a mass spectrometer match of the paint on his vehicle and the paint rubbed off on your car, then you would have to find a judge that would accept that as irrefutable proof. Then again, how much do you think this would cost? The $500 deductible will seem C H E A P in the final tally.

As far as finding a witness, that's probably the best suggestion. If you can find a witness that's the way to go, and then maybe the police will file charges. But since the police have not cited him, there technically is "no case" and they won't be pursuing it further.

But the next part is definitely NOT a good idea. In fact, in my opinion, what you're suggesting could lead to big trouble. Don't go confront him. He'll have ample cause to call the police and have you charged with harassment and intimidation. Besides, what if it turns out he meets you at the door with a Doberman and a loaded .45?

As I said before, chalk it up to a life experience. Picking at the "scab" will only result in a long lasting injury and a scar.

2¢

Enrique

P.S.: Thanks for the praise Will, but I must humbly state that all I'm doing is regurgitating the kicks in the a$$ and thumps on the head that I've received over the years. If it helps a fellow Z owner from stepping on the dog poopoo that I smeared before them, then I've done my Scout's Good Deed for the day.

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On the other hand WTF is up with the Dodge van guy

Given the circumstances, I think it would be really hard to prove a case with the van. There were no witnesses. I'm sure people saw it, grimaced, and kept walking. His bumper sustained zero damage besides the paint smudges. It probably was the van, but I can't even say that besides a fishy scenario that he did it either...convenient...but not a 100%.

If you already reported it, that's all you can do, but I suspect that even with the "case closed" the record of the event will still remain in their files. Businesses don't usually "delete" anything from their files. It may still be used against you when it comes time to renew your policy. The insurance company IS NOT your friend.

I don't doubt it for a second. The rep said it was being recorded as a "no fault". Time will tell.

I'm suprised that aftermarket fender is so inexpensive. I would have thought it to be double/triple that amount.

---Jonathan

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I do have comprehensive and they said it would cover it.

The driver of the van is from mexico with so-so english skills. I did ask him and he said no...

The bad thing, is that I have to keep parking there and this is my daily driver. I have been parking in the area for a couple years now with no incidents.

Bubble wrap?

Custom foam cover?

Burly bodyguards with Z's tattooed on their biceps?:)

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Call your insurance company. 2 months after I got my brand new camaro. I had it parked at my girlfriends house and at about midnight one night a car full of drunk mexicans pulled up, and got out and threw a beer bottle right into the side of it. I chased them untill they went around the railroad arms infront of a train, I thought better to live with a scratch then to die! All in all my fender needed to be repaird and repainted and all of the car had to be reclear coated! $857 later it was done. Insurance paid for it all and all was good.

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