Meeting the GEICO Insurance Adjustor and Another Story
I drove to Elmwood Park, NJ to meet with my assigned GEICO insurance adjustor. He needed to look at my 16-days-old 2011 Audi A5 that was the victim of a hit and run in a ShopRite supermarket parking lot. I arrived for our appointment a bit early, but Mike, the insurance adjustor, was smiling and ready to see me.
We walked out to look at my car. He snapped a photo of the bumper damage. He snapped a photo of the mileage on the odometer. He snapped a photo of my NJ Vehicle Registration Card. Then we walked back to his office where he said it would take him about 20 minutes to process the estimate for the repair.
While Mike crunched the numbers I helped myself to a hot chocolate and talked with Kelly, the receptionist. Kelly’s ex-boyfriend had ordered her a gift over six months ago and it arrived yesterday. He brought it to her apartment, but she was at her parents’ house celebrating Thanksgiving. Kelly received a call from her ex and he asked her to come home immediately as he had something to give her. When she arrived he thrust a cat carrier into her arms and asked her to wait a minute while he got the rest of “his” stuff. Puzzled, Kelly carried the carrier into her apartment and opened the little door.
Out jumped a very young, very excited Vietnamese pot-bellied piglet! No stranger to these little pigs since she’d had one in college, Kelly was still shocked to see one running around her living room with his tail wagging at about ten thousand rotations a minute. Her ex brought in some basic pig supplies then left Kelly with her new little buddy. Her two cats were not immediately amused, according to Kelly. Meanwhile, the little pig jumped on Kelly’s lap, snorted happily and fell fast asleep. This morning Kelly said the little piggy remained fast asleep as she left for work.
At this point in her story, Mike told me he was having some difficulty. He was unable to pull up any estimates or parts number or basically anything on my A5 since it is “too new.” The two of us walked through a laundry list of the options my car has; as we did Mike ticked off the boxes on his computer screen. Honestly, I told him I wasn’t sure what all the option are since I haven’t had a chance to use them all yet. He nodded in understanding. I am not comfortable that the description of my car for GEICO’s record is accurate. That said, Mike wrote up and gave me what appears to be a standard “Estimate of Record.” It indicates the cost to repair and repaint my car’s bumper will be $305.06, less than my $500 deductible. He didn’t write up an estimate to replace the bumper.
I looked at Mike the adjustor. He looked back at me. I shook my head and wryly observed that the car in question is brand new, German made and I anticipate a “repair,” any repair, must make the bumper look like new. . .no ripples, dimples, or other stray mark to remind me that under the paint is a damaged, putty-filled bumper. He said that GEICO is in the business of having satisfied customers and that this Estimate of Record will get the communication going between the repair facility and him and that a “Supplement” can be written, if necessary.
Call me silly, but I don’t think the bumper repair will cost $305.06; in fact, I think it will cost a hell of a lot more, not only in dollars, but in time, aggravation and psychic energy spent. Mine.
I want to smack the person who hit my car and left the scene. I want to smack them really, really hard.
At this moment I have to trust that my car will look like new after it is repaired. I have to trust that the insurance adjustor has my best interests at heart. I have to trust that the when I take my Audi back to the Meadowlands Audi dealership on Tuesday to meet with the repair and collision department manager that he will have my best interests at heart. And I have to trust that the repair will be done expeditiously and well.
I have a hard time trusting anyone or anything. That’s what happens when you’re a middle-age Mom with some history.