Fender Bender With Police Causes Insurance Headache - NBC Bay Area
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Fender Bender With Police Causes Insurance Headache

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    Fender Bender With Police Causes Insurance Headache

    A peninsula man needed help after a fender bender with a police officer. The accident was minor, but the process was a major headache. Chris Chmura reports. (Published Thursday, July 14, 2016)

    Ryan Felkner was rear-ended by a cop.

    “I was stopped at a turn signal, just minding my own business, and before I knew it, I got rear-ended.” said Felkner.

    The cop accepted fault. Felkner’s Nissan suffered some dents and scratches on the bumper, and Ryan wanted to get the damage fixed using his insurance.

    “When I saw it was a cop, I was thinking, ‘Oh this is nice, it’ll be easily processed and handled quickly,’” said Felkner.

    But Felkner says that’s not what happened. He says his insurance company, Geico, gave him two options: either submit a claim through the police department and deal with a government timetable, or process the claim through Geico and get it moving now. But the second option would put Felkner on the hook for a $500 deductible. He didn’t think that was fair.

    “Even though I did nothing,” said Felkner. “Even though I’m not at fault, my insurance says I’m not at fault, I still have to pay the deductible.”

    The Insurance Information Institute, an industry-supported organization, says Geico did nothing wrong. The Institute says if you’re not at fault in an accident, you should submit a claim through the other driver’s insurance company to avoid paying a deductible. Otherwise, submitting a claim through your insurance will cost you.

    “You’re going to pay the deductible until they get it back,” said Janet Ruiz with the Insurance Information Institute. “And then they would give it back to you.”

    We wanted to confirm that Felkner would get his deductible back, so we called Geico. It said that when it can recover the deductible, it reimburses its customers. But it pointed out that doesn’t always happen.

    After talking with Geico, it sped things along and went ahead and paid Felkner’s deductible before it got reimbursed by the police department. Geico acknowledged that claims against police are a little more complicated, and it wanted to lessen the time Felkner was out-of-pocket his deductible.

    It’s been a long ride for Felkner. He’s happy to have that $500 back in his pocket.

    “That’s quite a bit of money,” said Felkner. “Especially in a very expensive city when you don’t have that much money to spend.”