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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    3

    Angry Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    My question involves insurance law for the state of: California

    Hi people,
    I sure hope someone can offer some guidance. My car was involved in a 3-car accident while parked in front of my house. It was hit from the left-rear and there was damage to my bumper, and after driving the car I noticed a shift in the alignment. I'm going through my car insurance first, because the driver who hit the two cars has limited coverage (for damage to other vehicles) of up to $10,000. Well, the appraiser (from my insurance co.) went out to inspect my car and said he can't include the damage to the alignment because it could be due to wear & tear.

    I strongly disagree and I'm trying to dispute this assessment. I'm not sure if he saw the damage to the other cars, but they were both totaled - I have no idea at what speed the car hit mine. At the time of the accident, my car was a little over 9 months old and had less than 8,900 miles on it. And prior to the accident I NEVER had issues with the alignment. Mechanically, it was in near-perfect condition. How can I successfully dispute the appraiser's conclusion? What course of action do I have to take? I would much rather avoid a lawsuit, if at all possible. I've never had to file a lawsuit and I wouldn't know where to start. Nor do I have the money for the legal fees.

    I'm just confused as to why my insurance company would refuse these repairs if the other person's insurance company is going to be paying for it, eventually. And though it's limited to the $10,000.00, the repairs to my bumper came to less then $2,500 and the other car was totaled and has a KBB value of less than $3,500. I feel like my insurance company is trying to rip me off.

    Thanks in advance for your help - It's much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    went out to inspect my car and said he can't include the damage to the alignment because it could be due to wear & tear.

    I strongly disagree and I'm trying to dispute this assessment.
    if the alignment issue is due to the accident, it will become obvious to the mechanic as the car will be bent. It will not be due to a misalignment caused by simple aging of the components.


    I'm just confused as to why my insurance company would refuse these repairs if the other person's insurance company is going to be paying for it, eventually

    so why are you claiming through your insurance? At one point you say because the drives insurance likely wouldn't cover all the damages and then you say it clearly will.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    Thanks, JK

    Since the girl's insurance coverage is limited to $10K, her insurance company said I'd have to go through my insurance company. They would then compile the total cost of damages before paying out. But believe me, I'd much rather deal directly with her insurance company at this point.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    Pay the $70 for an alignment and get a written statement from the mechanic it was due to the accident. You will likely find, unless there is hidden structural damages, you will not get that statement and will be out the alignment expense.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    3,661

    Default Re: Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    I have never seen a vehicle get hit in the rear and suffer alignment damage unless it was pushed of a cliff.

    I call wear and tear. Sorry.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.......

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    View Post
    I have never seen a vehicle get hit in the rear and suffer alignment damage unless it was pushed of a cliff.

    I call wear and tear. Sorry.
    It is physically possible, if a tire was pushed into a pothole or curb, when hit. Collectable is a different animal entirely.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    View Post
    I have never seen a vehicle get hit in the rear and suffer alignment damage unless it was pushed of a cliff.

    I call wear and tear. Sorry.
    I have but it was obviously different that what would be seen with wear and tear alignment issues.

    Dang, I've got a car in my yard right now that was in an accident that is misaligned and it surely didn't go off a cliff. The damage is likely worse than the OP's but in the accident, the rear tire was hit so it bent the strut, shifted the mounting points of the strut, and maybe bent the spindle. It's actually driveable as it is but that wheel is definitely misaligned.

    Cars can get bent by some of the most presumably light hits with what appears to be a minimal amount of damage. The mechanic doing an alignment check should be able to figure out if it is normal wear and tear alignment issues or body damage issues.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    3,661

    Default Re: Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    I have but it was obviously different that what would be seen with wear and tear alignment issues.

    Dang, I've got a car in my yard right now that was in an accident that is misaligned and it surely didn't go off a cliff. The damage is likely worse than the OP's but in the accident, the rear tire was hit so it bent the strut, shifted the mounting points of the strut, and maybe bent the spindle. It's actually driveable as it is but that wheel is definitely misaligned.

    Cars can get bent by some of the most presumably light hits with what appears to be a minimal amount of damage. The mechanic doing an alignment check should be able to figure out if it is normal wear and tear alignment issues or body damage issues.
    I was under the assumption that his vehicle was struck in the rear and now has front-end alignment issues.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.......

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    View Post
    I was under the assumption that his vehicle was struck in the rear and now has front-end alignment issues.
    cars can get tweaked diagonally which could cause a front end alignment problem.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Auto Insurance Company Won't Cover Alignment Damage to My Vehicle

    an update for anyone who might be interested.

    after reading JK's response, i spoke to the mechanic and he said the only way to know whether the alignment issue was due to the accident is to do a diagnostic test. however, my insurance company wouldn't request it. i had to insist that my mechanic do it, even though it was going to cost me $100 if it turned out the damage was in fact due to wear and tear.

    after the bumper repair, the mechanic took my car for a test drive and he could feel it was still off. he put the car on some machine and sure enough the alignment damage was to the left rear side (where the car was hit). anyway, the insurance company came out and approved for repairs. they have to replace 4 parts, including the rear suspension, and possibly the knuckle (not sure what that is). suffice to say my car must've been hit pretty effing hard.

    the thing that gets me is that the insurance company didn't order the diagnostic test, even though it was part of my complaint. the appraiser's reasoning was that he didn't see scuffs on the left-rear tire indicating possible alignment damage. i understand that people out there try to take advantage of any situation where they might get something they don't deserve for free, but to me, dismissing it altogether is completely negligent. i don't know very much about cars, but i know enough to say that the alignment should be checked after an accident... yes, even after a minor fender bender.

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