Automotive

Hit & run - but shop/ICBC says parts of the damage is "unrelated"

  • Last Updated:
  • May 24th, 2019 4:12 pm
[OP]
Newbie
May 23, 2019
8 posts
7 upvotes

Hit & run - but shop/ICBC says parts of the damage is "unrelated"

First-timer dealing with insurance, so bear with me if the matter is too basic (Google wasn't very helpful though).

Well, somebody crashed into my car and left without a note. I have collision coverage, so I filed a claim for the hit & run with ICBC.

The car was swiped on the side. A very minor scratch plus a small dent. Small damages that to be honest I might not even bother to fix. I'm confident I could just wax out the scratches, and certainly live with that almost unnoticeable dent.

However, the car was parked with front wheels turned away from the curb (it's a uphill street), so they hit the wheel directly. There are scratches and paint marks in the rim, which shows that it was hit very hard. First time I turned the engine on after the accident there was shaking and noise from the steering wheel, plus some warning lights in the dashboard. I turned the car off and on again, just to notice I had no power steering anymore. Cars is 2012, has electronic power steering.

All that said, to me it was clear that somebody hit the door/fender/wheel, and the hit to the wheel damaged something inside the steering mechanical/electronic system. I cannot drive without power steering, so this is something that needs to be fixed, and certainly that will cost more than my deductible, so next day I filed a claim with ICBC.

After two weeks my car was towed to the shop for repairs, and that's when things started to go strange.

After 1 week without contact, I went to the shop to be told that the car was sent to the mechanics for checking suspension and steering systems. They even gave me the total value for the repairs, but said that nothing had been done yet.

One week later I got a call from them saying that they're ready to start the repairs in the body. However, the mechanics deemed the damage in the power steering as "unrelated to the accident" (their words), so wouldn't be covered by ICBC.

That was a huge "what?" moment. How come you park your perfectly working car, come back to see it hit on the side and undriveable, and a mechanics states that both issues are "unrelated"?

To be fair, up to that point nobody at ICBC or the shop had asked me any details about the accident. For example, they didn't know the wheels where turned. They didn't know the wheel was hit hard.

So as suggested by my adjuster, I went to the shop with the pictures I took of the accident, and explained how everything happened. They said they would send the info to the mechanics so that they might reconsider their "conclusion" about the repairs. They confirmed at the shop that it made a lot of sense now, even confirmed that they had similar cases before that were covered, however the final say would come from the mechanics.

They also said I shouldn't have talked (and shouldn't do so yet) to my adjuster, and asked me to approve only the repairs to the body. Another "option" would be to tow the car (at my expenses) to a dealer to check the steering, because they would need to do that anyway if the fix was approved (their words), and if the dealer can confirm the steering problem is related to the accident, ICBC would refund me. Another "option" would be to move forward with the body repairs, and file a secondary claim only for the mechanical part, which is ridiculous (why should I pay double deductible for a single accident?). Of course I denied all those nonsensical proposals, but started to wonder what's really going on here.

Now they already missed the deadline for an answer -- which is also ridiculous since we're talking about 1 week after I explained the accident, and it shouldn't take that long for a mechanic to look at some pictures/explanation and reassess a "conclusion".

So (finally) my questions:

1. If they really come back saying that the mechanical problem is "unrelated", is there anything I can do in regard to the shop and/or ICBC (I mean, legally, not yelling or pounding on tables)?

2. If nothing can be done, I guess I will need to pay for the mechanical repairs. In that case, I wouldn't be interested in moving forward with the minor body issues, so would it be possible to drop the claim with ICBC and get my car out of the shop?

3. Is it possible to switch repair shops mid-claim if I'm not satisfied with their service? Would it make sense in a case like this?

4. Anybody have any small idea of what might be going on there?

Thanks for any advice!
3 replies
Sr. Member
Aug 8, 2005
529 posts
151 upvotes
Toronto
These guys clearly only want to fix the body because that’s where their profit is. They probably have to send it out for the steering fix and don’t want to.

They are obviously trying to get you to approve only the body repairs then they will leave you hanging.

Talk to the adjuster and say you want it repaired elsewhere. Don’t sign anything with this shop!

Find a good trusted shop and tow it over for an estimate.
[OP]
Newbie
May 23, 2019
8 posts
7 upvotes
BHA1 wrote: These guys clearly only want to fix the body because that’s where their profit is. They probably have to send it out for the steering fix and don’t want to.
(...)
That's exactly what I thought was happening. Anyway, they came back saying they're unable to relate the issues, suggesting speaking with ICBC, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Thanks for replying.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 1, 2004
6134 posts
4746 upvotes
Shady. Talk to adjuster ASAP.

If you picked the shop, leave ASAP. If ICBC picked the shop, request a change.

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