Insurance Claim and "betterment" - Mercedes-Benz Forum
 
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#1 (permalink) Old 11-29-2010, 03:39 PM
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Insurance Claim and "betterment"

Someone slashed the top on my SL500 10 days ago, then tried to jimmy open the center console and -- not the brightest bulb in the fixture -- the passenger-side airbag compartment. I'm insured by Wawanesa, a Canadian company that also insures in California and Oregon. I got the third-party-adjustor damage assessment over the weekend.

It lists removal and replacement of the four damaged items (top, liner, and two interior parts). After each item listing with cost there's a second line labeled "Betterment" with the number 50% and, in the price column, half the part cost, listed as a deduction. In other words, the appraisal is proposing to deduct from what the insurance company will pay half the cost of each item. Combined with the deductible, that will leave me paying more to repair the damage than the insurance company does.

The notes to the appraisal refer me to the policy itself, where I'm told, "If a repair or a replacement results in better than like kind of quality, we will not pay for the amount of the betterment."

I'm just a simple guy, but this sure smells like a scam to me. I never heard of betterment; it's never come up on any of my infrequent claims before. And we're talking about a top and two pieces of the interior, all existing OEM parts to be replaced by OEM parts. This isn't a tire with 20k miles on it being replaced by a new one, or a 5 year old battery by a new one.

Clearly I need to fight this. But I sure could use some input/knowledge/thoughts from others who may know more about this than me or have experience with this.

Thanks!

Best,
Alan
Berkeley, CA
1996 SL500
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#2 (permalink) Old 11-29-2010, 07:46 PM
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Looks like we are almost neighbors? Dealing with warranties is not easy issue. Hopefully somebody with good qualifications will give you solid advice.
I just got stiffed by water heater warranty today. The "12 years warranty" WH blow the tank in 7th year. The GE is giving me new water heater with my labor for R&R. Sounds good?
NOT>>>> the original price 7 years ago was $312, today it is $648. Warranty is not paying for "codes upgrade" .
I had to eat the difference.
Good luck to you.
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#3 (permalink) Old 11-29-2010, 08:29 PM
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Wow, I have never heard of that before...Sounds like typical insurance BS! So does that mean if you are in a fender bender they only pay half your paint 'cause it might end up shinier where you got hit? I think I would have my lawyer send them a nice little "F*ck you" letter.

Any part you replace on your car is going to make it better, you are driving car that is now used. I have heard something similar to Betterment whereas the insurance will not go above and beyond the said damage, like my paint example, if only a fender is damaged, only that fender gets paint. So if the rest of the car is faded or scratched they will not make the rest of it look shiny and new to match. This situation just sounds underhanded and dirty.

Good luck,
Marc
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#4 (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 05:53 PM
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I guess we don't get insurance-savvy folks in this corner of our world; ah, well. In any case, it required a bunch of pushback and some work to get to know the adjustor, but the "betterment" appears to have largely gone away, getting me back close to my deductible as the cost of this assault.

Bottom line: Never accept without at least a discussion, if not a fight, what an insurance company initially offers. That's just the start of negotiations. But you can't be impatient; the faster you push for settlement, the more it's gonna cost you. Which is one of the reasons one should always buy rental car availability as an insurance option.

Best,
Alan
Berkeley, CA
1996 SL500
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#5 (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 07:03 PM
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Glad to hear that you are making some headway with this. I've heard horror stories, a former co-worker of mine's sister was in an accident that messed up her back and neck, blew her college b-ball dreams down the tubes and it took 6-7yrs to get a resolution. It's an unfair way to treat people, especially at the rates we get nailed for.
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#6 (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 08:01 PM
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If you drive a MERC...

You need to insure with FARMERS

The finest example of automobile engineering in the world
Floats like a CADI
Stings like a BMR
Stingy as a Prius
and.... all Mercedes Benz.
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#7 (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 10:39 PM
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The Insurance Adjuster's job is to see that YOU get as little as possible.

In the majority of cases Now-a-days the I.C. (Insuror) first trys to blow you off.
(Your car was insured by us, but in another dimension...)
Then they try these Idiot Schemes [that wouldn't fool a 4th grader].

There is a legal term of "Undue Enrichment",BUT that's not what was happening.

And those Wankers sure sound like they were trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

How did we ever allow the auto insurance companies such slimy business practices?
[50 separate state insurance commissioners.]

The solution is "Stated Value" insurance...You and the I.C. agree In writing
before issuance of the policy what the value of the car is.

Location: 32(degrees) North by 81(degrees) West

Last edited by compress ignite; 12-09-2010 at 10:42 PM.
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#8 (permalink) Old 12-10-2010, 09:37 AM
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We all have different experience.
My wife was badly rear ended by driver carrying Ensurance policy.
While they gave fair estimate for totaling the car and send the check in few days only, the body damage claim took almost 2 years with several doctors involved.
Bottom line -Ensurance spend estimated $80,000 on doctors and lawyers trying to lower the $35,000 claim.
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