The Great Insurance Claim

Published by Sweet Chariot in the blog Sweet Chariot's blog. Views: 205

I thought I would post this Blog to warn others of the pitfalls with Motorhome Insurance claims and to remove some of my stress.
One cold winter night in January 2007 as a result of traffic congestion I took a new route home from work.
At the time I was driving my pride and joy Silver Tribute with 2000 miles on the clock 3 months old.I followed a number of other vehicles until I came to a wooden Drawback bridge which crossed over a canal.At this point I had to slow down due to what can only be described as double parking and one idiot who parked almost on the bridge crossing.
As I crossed the bridge I heard a loud bang Looked up and saw a height Barrier in front of me. I stopped my Van got out and saw a second height barrier which I had already collided with. I was now left with two options go forward to the next bar and collide with that or reverse and collide with the first one again.
By now I was met by a nice lady from the vehicle behind me who asked if I intended to shift my Van or not. The lady was asked if she would like to swim back to her car.I then drove the van slowly forward crunching the remainder of the roof.:cry:

I then went to the first height bar which was a metal girder which was dirty rusty and the height just visible. ( thats a later story) Anyway I drove home where I contacted my Insurance company I explained what had happened and that I was concerned that due to the fact the Van was now open to the weather due to both Skylights being smashed and heavy rain forcasted over night could any thing be done.
No problem I was told a Recovery Truck will collect the vehicle, they will ring you in the next 30 minutes.
You start to get that bad feeling after 45 minutes and no call don't you.? Rang the Insurance back spoke to another Call Taker explained to her the situation where she then informed me they do not supply any such service. Why did the other person tell me you do,? She is new and does not know the system. I explain to her this vehicle is going to get damp inside which is not good for Motorhomes, sorry you will have to sort it until tomorrow.
For the remainder of the evening Wife and I put anything on the roof we can find.
First thing the next morning I took the vehicle to a Body shop where the owner I knew agreed to store it in his building.

Anyway hear is one bit of advice just because you think you have told somebody about your accident do not take it they have recorded it. I rang the same claims number I had rang the previous evening to be given another number where they stated they had Faxed the details, no they had not and nobody new nothing about it.
Anyway 3 calls later all by me as they never return calls I was asked if I was happy for the Body shop where the vehicle was to carry out the work. Vehicle is undercover and so I agreed. I was further told there was no need for any Engineer to attend as the Body shop would be electronically sending photographs of the damage to them with a quote for repair.
Felt a lot better, later the same day contacted the Body shop asked if they had sent the Photos.? No they want to send an Engineer.
Ring Insurance company back ask for update, We are waiting for the photos,No you are not you are sending an Engineer, Oh yes Hasn't he rang you? I will get him to ring.:Angry:

In the meantime speak with the owner of the Body shop who says in his opinion vehicle should be written off as damaged Motorhome roofs you can never guarantee the repair.

Engineer rings later states he will examine the vehicle sometime in the next 2 days. Don't accept this tell them you want a time and date and you wish to be present which I did to his obvious annoyance.
On the day of the inspection and this was a common theme throughout this claim the Engineer arrived in his smart car with one big item missing,a set of Ladders:Doh:This will become more reasonable later along with another bit of kit.
Anyway our Engineer then goes to climb up the fixed ladder on the rear of the Van which it was obvious the Body shop staff had already used. It was later to be discovered that this ladder is mainly for cosmetic purposes and not suitable for anyone over around 9 stone and besides that would only provide a view of the rear part of the roof.
Anyway he informs me that the roof can be knocked out and the other parts replaced. The Body shop examiner disputes this stating the seals may have been damaged and the interior needs removing for a proper examination and if they are doing the work this removal needs completing by professionals.Now for the Engineers view on Motorhomes and i quote. "It's only a Van and the inside is like a fitted kitchen you just need a screwdriver".
He then asks me to empty the vehicle of my personal belongings as he will arrange for another Body shop to do all the work without any need for sourcing out.
Later the same day the Engineer contacted me and gave me the details of another Body shop some 40 miles away who he had liaised with and could do the work. He informed me they would contact me later. I then asked for his assurance that they could store the vehicle undercover whilst repairing it and they were aware of my concerns about damp. Yes he assured me, they repair Fire engines and police cars all the time.

Anyway 1 hour later my phone goes the new Body shop why have you sent us a Fax for us to repair your Fiat VAN I explain I have not and it is a Fiat Motorhome, what do you mean a Motorhome we have just got a Van, how bloody big is it.I then provided him with the details and was told they would collect it from the other Body shop in the next 2 days.5 days later yes youv'e got it not collected. Ring them up oh yes waiting for a truck big enough. 2 further days later the original Body shop inform me they have been asked to deliver it and yes we told them it needed to go under cover.

For the next 7 days not to bore you I rang and rang the new Repairers for any update with no returned calls.
finally a Receptionist uttered some information,Yes the assessor is outside looking at the vehicle now. What do you mean outside I was assured the vehicle would be stored under cover. We don't have the facilities for that until they are repaired. I looked out of the window it was our 3rd day of snow.

Anyway Wife and I travel to the repairers where we had a covert look around and found the vehicle parked outside along with other damaged vehicles.
We then went into the Reception and asked to speak to the person dealing. After a good 10 minutes a Gentleman appears who offers to take us to the vehicle. We are then taken to a different area from where we saw the vehicle and there it was under a nice covered building.
Do I look an idiot.? No, Then don't try to treat me like one you have just moved that vehicle under cover. He finally admits they do not have the facility for inside storage. He then further informs me that they are not sure they could do all of the repairs as the interior needed to be removed and this may need sourcing out. Well what work have you done? Nothing we are waiting for the Insurance company to authorise any work and would you know where we can get the parts on the roof from.

I left and Rang the Insurance company and informed them of what had happened.They then coughed that they did not even know where the vehicle was as the Engineer had gone on holiday updating nobody.
Next day another call from insurance telling me this was not acceptable and full of apologies would you be happy if the vehicle was taken back to the original repairers.?I told them as long as it went under cover although damage may now have been done I did not care.
Anyway nearly a month later back to first repairers.Do you know the saying frying pan into the fire well this is it.
Everything seems to be going well apart from every time I visit the repairers nobody is working on my vehicle and various excuses are given. Finally after 6 weeks I visit and the Van is missing gone down the road to have the new Roof sprayed. I decide to check on this and find my vehicle parked 15 yards from a burning skip with no windscreen fitted and burning embers flying through the air.(later a number of burn holes are found in the seats and dash). The excuses continue for the slow repair yes 5 months following the accident I give them a deadline for the return. During this time I note the person putting the interior back works in the Body shop and was informed the outside source had walked off the job.
I informed the Insurance company of this and the fact that having looked at some of the repairs they should examine it themselves. Sorry we do not do that if you have any problems take it back.

Finally I collect the vehicle any problems bring it back as you have rushed us into finishing it. A few days after collection it rains and floods in through main sky light. Take it back sealed again.We then had that rather heavy rain and let me tell you where it did not leak would be easier to describe. Interior light on rear door would not turn off and numerous other problems.
Insurance company again contacted telling them i would not sign satisfaction note and please have your Engineer look at the work. Still a firm no.

Vehicle returned for repairs 3 weeks later I have had my fill give them a date I was collecting.On leaving with the vehicle the Foreman stated he would probably see me soon with some more leaks.
Anyway Van taken home where I examined the roof what a mess sealant everywhere, dents in the roof and none of the other jobs put right.By now I had purchased a Damp Detector on using this on a number of areas in the Van it sounded like it had found radioactive particles. It rained that evening and the carpets were soaked the following morning.
I contacted the Insurance Company who told me to take the vehicle back to the repairers which I refused to do on the grounds that I did not agree they were capable of doing the work.Again I asked for a Engineer to examine which was refused.
I decided to obtain my own Independent Engineers report and informed the Insurance company that they would be billed for this which they agreed to.
The Independent Engineer contacted me before attending asking if I had any ladders and he arrived armed with a camera and Damp Detector.
His report confirmed my fears and in fact he further stated the Van should either have been taken back to the Manufacturer or a Specialist in Motorhome repairs the work he stated was the worst he had seen.
I supplied the Insurance company with the report and stated I wanted paying out for a new Van and compensation.
Then they wanted to send their Engineer out, how many times had I asked for this and was refused.?Anyway who do you think they sent, the original Engineer.:Doh:
What did he come with nothing. He then asks me for my ladders at which I asked him what he would have done if I had none, no answer. Anyway he borrows my ladders climbs up and his comment is, "What a bloody mess". I then leave him for a few seconds only to hear a crash I go out to find he has knocked the ladders into a Van door scratching it, oh well in for a penny in for a pound.He states he will get the damage repaired when the Van is repaired again.
He then examines the other areas pointed out by the Independent Engineer and agrees with the report. He then states he will get it repaired again at the same repairers. I inform him the Van is full of damp and did he intend verifying that before he made any decisions. I do not have a Damp Detector they do not provide me with one, so I lent him mine.
He then informs me he agrees with the report but wants a Specialist company to examine the vehicle to see if they can repair it. To remain reasonable I accept this and ask him where it was to be examined, reply Well I don't know any can you or the Independent Engineer suggest somebody.
I then speak to the Independent Engineer who when he stops laughing gives me the name of a Company in Manchester I in turn supply this to the Insurance Engineer.
He then contacted them and without any consultation as to availability arranged that I have the vehicle there at 1130 the next day.

Knowing by now how professional the Engineer was I emailed a copy of the Engineers report to Manchester and also took a copy with me.

On arrival i was met by the Owner who immediately thanked me for sending a copy of the report. I asked what the Engineer had asked for him to examine and he stated he was told I would tell him. He then informed me that had the Engineer provided him with a copy of the report he would not have had me making a wasted journey. He backed this up by naming the Independent Engineer and stating if he states it will not repair it will not he knows his stuff besides the damp. Anyway he stated he would examine the vehicle as that was what the Insurance company wanted.
As expected he stated he could not return the vehicle to it's original condition and added that there were numerous dents in the roof and a cracked Sky light which they had concealed with sealant.He also pointed out that you can not keep taking the furniture out as the screw holes will get bigger and bigger.

I then liaised with the Insurance company who then attempted the following get out moves.

1. Are the repairers on our list of approved repairers.
(A) I don't know why don't you check your list it was your suggestion in the first place they did the work.
2. Have you given the repairer the chance to correct the faults.
(A) Yes twice and anyway you have been informed it is beyond repair.
3. Why did you sign a satisfaction note if you were not happy with the work we have paid them £6000.
(A) Haven't signed any satisfaction note.
(R) Oh **** heads are going to roll.

Anyway 1 month later having been offered £4000 below the cost of the Van they pay me the value of the van plus £1000 compensation.
Two weeks later the van is still on my driveway as they forgot all about it. Had to complain to get it moved.
The moral of the Blog is just because they Insure Motorhomes do not expect them to know a thing about them.
Just because they repair Vans don't expect them to know a thing about Motorhomes.
Interesting update in December I received a letter from a man in Falkirk informing me he had bought my van and so I rang him on the number he provided.He informed me he had bought the vehicle at Auction and was not aware of any of the accident history. When he told me what he had paid for it I was shocked he had got it so cheap under £13000. He again later contacted me to say he had carried out some repairs but not had the roof done and was now selling it to a Trader for £17000.
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