Never trust a talking lizard trying to sell you insurance.
To recap, while taking my wife on a date, parts from a tiny house being towed hit my brand new car. That should be a simple claim, right? Unfortunately, the party at fault has GEICO for their insurance.
At first, everything seemed okay. Then it went downhill, fast. The following is my #GeicoHorrorStory. Hopefully, you’ll learn from my pain.
NOTE: I am not a lawyer and none of the following is legal advice.
So far, GEICO has reportedly paid the body shop for the physical damage to my brand-new car. GEICO has said they will mail a check to me for reimbursement of the rental car (as of this writing, that hasn’t arrived).
“GEICO isn’t going to cover it”
That’s what my insurance provider told me. In his estimation, they were going to skirt accepting responsibility by claiming my damage was due to “road debris”.
Thankfully, I had a dashcam which recorded the whole thing – including the other party on the side of the road inspecting their tiny home for damage. What sort of damage? The siding had peeled off from one side and the front.
Shortly after I mentioned the dashcam footage to my insurance carrier I got a call from GEICO, who had apparently had a change of heart and would now “accept responsibility for the damage”.
GEICO Preferred Repair Facility
From the very beginning, GEICO schmoozed me – well, they acted like it. They wanted to make this as easy as possible, or so they said. What a great opportunity to entice a person to switch from their insurance provided to GEICO: make the claims process a breeze.
The preferred repair facility was over an hour away from my house, and at least 45 minutes off the path of my daily commute. That’s where GEICO wanted me to go to have their adjustor inspect the damages. That’s where GEICO wanted me to go to have my car fixed. That’s where GEICO wanted me to pick up and return the rental car.
I asked if GEICO would compensate me for my time and mileage to use their preferred location, each time they avoided committing to do so, but offering that I could have the work done at a location of my choosing, but that I might be on the hook for any costs above what they’d cover, and they wouldn’t warranty the repairs, and I’d have to take care of the rental car separately.
They still wouldn’t commit to reimburse me for my extra time and mileage.
- Don’t be pressured into going to their “preferred” facility.
- Don’t feel pressured in making time for their adjustor to inspect the damage, or driving to their location to be inspected. Their client injured you, whatever they want they can do on your timeline, at your location, and at your convenience.
GEICO Preferred Rental Car
GEICO wanted me to rent a car with Enterprise. Unfortunately, the Enterprise rental agreement isn’t compatible with using the car for work – which I do all the time in conjunction with the company I own and operate, and for anyone who drives for Uber or Lyft (I’m a Lyft driver).
I asked if GEICO would rent the car and just hand me the keys. They wouldn’t agree to this.
The next problem was that GEICO didn’t want to rent me a “comparable” car. Their definition of “comparable” essentially boiled down to “the same number of seats”. Sure, that’s one part, but my Chevy Volt gets 70+mpg – their alleged “comparable” would have gotten half that. Every mile driven in that car would further damage me.
Eventually, I was able to convince GEICO of this, but they refused to help me find a rental vehicle with comparable mileage, and they refused to help me find a rental vehicle with comparable usage allowances.
Ultimately, I found a custom solutions provider which could rent me a Volt (albeit a few years earlier, and without quite the same MPG rating), and offered a rental agreement compatible with my use-cases. It took a while to research this and work out the details, but again, GEICO was unwilling to help find a realistically “comparable” rental vehicle.
- First, make sure everyone’s okay.
- Next call the police. WAIT FOR THEM TO ARRIVE.
- Call your insurance company, report the incident.
- Laywer up. Don’t even deal with their insurance company. If they call you, politely advise them who your attorney is, what his phone number is, and that all communication needs to go through him. Period.
GEICO Asks For More Information
I had to go back and forth with GEICO to get them to update their case file so I could log into their website and submit the information they were requesting of me. I had to help troubleshoot this, and they kept pushing back. “Just submit the information at GEICO.com”, they’d say. Yeah, but I can’t log in because it says the information you have on me is incorrect! ARGH! Finally, after a considerable amount of time trying to figure out what information they had wrong, and providing the correct information, I was finally able to log in and submit the documents they needed.
My custom solutions provider (the one who rented me a Volt to replace mine, while mine was getting repaired) gave me a receipt which detailed the item (the car), the number of days rented (9), the daily rate, the total, and that it was “Paid in full”. Apparently, that wasn’t enough for GEICO. They said it had to list the days it was rented, too.
More time talking with the custom solutions provider. More time while they prepared an amended receipt. More time while I uploaded that to GEICO’s website. More time while I discussed this on the phone with their representative. More time being told they’d mail out a check, but my house “was just an empty field”, and “am I sure that’s the correct address”. More time while they tell me they won’t pay for the time they’ve made me put into providing details they shouldn’t really need.
It’s all starting to feel punitive – like GEICO is punishing me for being the victim.
If I want GEICO to pay for the damages their client inflicted on me, I have to put in just a few more hours of work, I have to waste just a few more hours that I could spend making money, spending time with my children, taking my wife on that date which was so rudely interrupted.
- Don’t insure through GEICO. They might have good rates and a talking lizard, but if this experience is indicative of how they do business, anyone that you damage will hate your insurance choice.
- If I am to be compensated for the time and expenses which GEICO ASKED ME TO PROVIDE, my solution is to take their client to court.
Though I have never been a GEICO customer in the past, it’s clear to me now that I will never be a GEICO customer in the future. If you deal with GEICO, perhaps my experience will be relevant when your policy is up for renewal.
Please take a moment and share my #GeicoHorrorStory with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, and your favorite social networks.
All this over the remaining damages – less than $700 – which GEICO refuses to pay.