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This is a discussion on Insurance and Mods within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; This is a very unsettling story... I had a caliper failure and got a tow to Fitzgerald Subaru, 'cause I ...

  1. #1
    Registered User JPinMD's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Insurance and Mods

    This is a very unsettling story...

    I had a caliper failure and got a tow to Fitzgerald Subaru, 'cause I figured they would have the part. Well, they didn't, so the car had to stay for a couple of nights. Now my insurance, Geico, agreed to pick up half the tab under "Mechanical Breakdown," which it was. However, when Geico talked to the service guy at Fitzgerald (we'll call him "Josh," 'cause thats his name), he tells them in detail every modificiation he can identify - even though they have nothing to do with the claim. He even names one that came with the car (turbo gauge)! So then Geico calls me up, tells me all this stuff I have on my car - they want pictures, top to bottom. So I will have to comply...

    When I look at my policy, all it says about Mods is "coverage for customization may cause an increase in your premium."

    Isn't this an invasion of privacy or something? Does anyone know about the dealerships and insurers being in bed together? And - does anyone out there have mod-friendly insurance?

    And by the way - stay away from Fitzgerald's if you value your privacy!

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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    Which is why I always have things towed to my house and I fix them. You coulda had Geico come out to your house and take a look and avoided the whole mess, or just sent them 3 quotes from shops around the area to fix.
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    Registered User JPinMD's Avatar
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    Gee Thanks - I already know what a dumb-a$$ I am! Hmm, maybe next time I can tow to your house...

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    Come on dude how much is a caliper anyway? Do you have a deductable for this? It seems kind of silly to have insurance cover a wear item. Who knows maybe if you were nice to the dealership they could have covered it.

    I see no invasion of privacy at all. You have no idea how the conversation went your insurance company could have asked "Josh" are there any mods to the vehicle. If he answered no that puts him in a bad spot.
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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPinMD View Post
    maybe next time I can tow to your house...
    I'll take a free rex anytime. Specially if all it needs is a $80 caliper from kragen. Hell i might even splurge for Hawk pads.

    edit:

    You'll do well here if you avoid personal attacks/agressive responses. In your OP you put 0% of the blame on yourself and 100% of the blame on the dealership.

    Your caliper for $80. Really worth deductable and hassle? 30 min install back on the road same day.

    http://www.partsamerica.com/ProductL...rchFor=Caliper
    Last edited by 06wrx4me; 04-11-2007 at 03:23 PM.
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    +1 to the above, why would you report something like that to your insurance? I do not see the point as you would probably have to pay a higher deductible and your rates will probably go up
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    It has never made any sense to me as to why people get upset when they take their modified vehicle to the dealer for repairs and things do not go their way because said vehicle is modified, whether or not it was related directly or indirectly to the root-cause of failed part.

    If you choose to modify your vehicle you need to accept the risk of getting pinged for it in smog inspections, getting pulled-over by police, insurance claims & adjuster inspections/inquiries, and dealer service/repairs (especially for warranty items).

    Accept it, learn from it and move-on.

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    Registered User JPinMD's Avatar
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    Hey, I didn't know it was just the caliper when I had it towed to the dealer! I lost brake pressure while driving (scary and dangerous), had a lot of noise from the left rear, pulled over and saw the caliper was dislodged and impacting the rim. I couldn't diagnose it beyond that, and it wasn't safe to drive. So I call Geico for the tow. Fitzgerald quoted me $650 to fix it - I'm not kidding - and I have a $250 deductable. Geico was already in it - they opened a claim when I got the tow. Now maybe I should have had it towed again - I certainly regret leaving it there, so that would have been a better choice, despite the hassle, and I should have paid out of pocket blah blah blah. But that is all hindsight. The total cost came in at just over $500.

    My problem is that it seemed they went out of their way to find mods on my vehicle. It would be like there was a joint in the glove box, they find it and call the cops. .

    And I've been plenty nice to that dealership - bought two cars there, the WRX in '04 and a new Forester in January '07 - cash. Plus I have my car towed there for the repair, right? That's like $45,000 in total niceness?

    Also, I just don't see where I attacked anyone - read my post, it is factual. Then I said I was the a$$hole, so I guess I attacked myself. My bad!

    All I'm getting from you guys is what I could have done if I had known what would happen beforehand - great.

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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    Aside from not patroning that dealership anymore, it sounds like the damage has been done, the money has been spent.

    The reason Geico or any insurance company or warranting body (SOA) would examin your car in the manner they did, is that they are worried about their bottom line.
    Money makes the world go round, and they are trying to keep a little more by dening fradulent claims.
    I'm sure this isn't the first time someone has (not saying you are) submitted a claim and tried to have them cover fradulence or excessive wear/abuse. There are a whole slew of mods not directly connected to the brake system that can have a vast effect on their performance, life span, duty cycle and failure.

    Its a game of statistics, and companies know that if you are stage 2 with hawk pads or crossdrilled rotors, braded lines and blue racing fluid, that you are more likely to be hard on your car and quite possibly might have raced it or tracked it. To them these aren't coverable behaviors because it isn't seen to be within the normal operating scope of the vehicle.

    bottom line:


    Increase in power directly correlates to higher breaking stresses i.e., It takes more force to stop.

    This is why they went over your car with a fine tooth comb, they are trying to keep their expendetures down and in turn their customers rates lower. Pretty standard procedure really.

    As for what are you gonna do? I dunno if there is much you can do, but learn for next time.
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    06wrx4me - thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    My original question is still out there, does anyone know an insurance company that plays well with tuners?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPinMD View Post
    My original question is still out there, does anyone know an insurance company that plays well with tuners?

    That question is like asking which Police Department is friendly to Street Racers.

    Not being mean just the way I see it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPinMD View Post
    06wrx4me - thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    My original question is still out there, does anyone know an insurance company that plays well with tuners?
    How do you know that yours doesnt? Have they cancelled you? Denied your claim? Raised your rates?
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    Registered User 96accord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 302@12psi View Post
    How do you know that yours doesnt? Have they cancelled you? Denied your claim? Raised your rates?
    i guess he will have to wait and see if the rates go up....

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    Registered User JPinMD's Avatar
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    Well, your right, I don't know. Nothing has happened yet. But when Geico calls up and asks for a dozen pictures and the list of mods within two weeks - well I expected the worst.

    So I need to send in photos of the car and explain why it is the way it is. Its a daily driver - not a race car - so I think if I explain the use of the car convincingly, the odds are actually pretty good that things will work out with Geico. BTW - my record is perfect.

    Anyway, check back in a couple of weeks - I'll post the outcome, for better or worse.

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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPinMD View Post
    Well, your right, I don't know. Nothing has happened yet. But when Geico calls up and asks for a dozen pictures and the list of mods within two weeks - well I expected the worst.

    So I need to send in photos of the car and explain why it is the way it is. Its a daily driver - not a race car - so I think if I explain the use of the car convincingly, the odds are actually pretty good that things will work out with Geico. BTW - my record is perfect.

    Anyway, check back in a couple of weeks - I'll post the outcome, for better or worse.
    FYI when I moulded the wide body kit on my old car, I called up my Insurance company (GEICO) and spoke with them about additional coverages. After the conversation was over, I had purchased an additional coverages for $1000 on my stereo system, $1000 on the body kit and $1000 for my wheels. My premium went up by $100 a year, worth it IMO.

    You usually don't get grief from insurance companies about mods unless they are regarding:

    1. additional stereo equipment in which they are very up front that you NEED to purchase additional coverages

    2. Filing a claim on aftermarket wheels that you didn't purchase a policy for

    3. The removal of STD safety equipment such as CRASH BEAMS FMIC PEOPLE

    So IMO Geico is pretty mod friendly, you just can't expect them to cover such things as a $3000 system or $2000 Rims if you didn't purchase additional coverages for them.
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