Edmonds, WA — One call from Corey Fox’s wife led to eight frustrating months wrangling with insurance companies.
It all started in June of 2020 when a Lowe’s delivery truck backed into their driveway in Edmonds and did this:
“Their bumper hit right up here and it tore off the bumper when they went forward. And they had to replace this quarter panel. Plus the light and a bunch of other parts,” says Corey.
The problem is that, for months, Corey couldn’t get the company to pay up because the truck was a LINO:
Corey says they told him that when he contacted Lowe’s trying to get the insurance claim going.
“That they weren’t responsible. It wasn’t their employee or their truck. But it had their name on the side of the truck,” says Corey.
In an email, Lowe’s says the truck belongs to a third party delivery company, called DSI.
“They want to drag their feet and they may or may not cover it still. I don’t know,” says Corey.
Corey’s insurance repaired the more than $6,000 of damage to his car. But he and his wife want their own costs covered.
“We had to pay our thousand dollar deductible on our insurance to get the car repaired. And then we probably paid about $500 dollars in rental car fees so my wife could continue going to work,” says Corey.
After several months waiting, we asked an industry insider about the delays.
“This is an unusual case,” says Kenton Brine, with the Northwest Insurance Council.
One that’s complicated by multiple companies and insurance policies with different sets of rules.
“Not only were there multiple subcontractors of subcontractors involved, you’re - at the top of it is a self-insured company. And they use third party administrators to administer claims,” says Brine.
And that’s a problem.
“Even if there is an insurance policy that were somehow under the self-insured company, that is likely to be a surplus lines rider and they are not regulated by the Insurance Commissioner either, in the same way that your standard insurance companies are,” says Brine.
What he’s saying is that state-regulated insurance companies are required to operate on a specific timeline to respond to and resolve claims. Companies that draw from their own pools of money to resolve claims - self-insured companies - are not.
So we started making calls and sending emails on Corey’s behalf to Lowe’s and the subcontractor.
Last July, Lowe’s sent us an email that said it “followed up to ensure this customer was reimbursed.”
The Fox family says that was not the case.
“Take responsibility for the people that you hired. Either they don’t have insurance, cover it and go with another company,” says Corey.
Then, eight months after the crash:
“They just called us one day after eight months and asked us where we’d like the check to be mailed to. And how much our personal expenses were,” says Corey.
The Fox family got a check for about $1200. But what they’ll remember is how they were treated by the company. Which Corey says never offered an apology.
“Yeah,” says Corey. “I’m done with Lowe’s.”
We asked Lowe’s for another response. And it sent the very same email this month as it did last July, saying they had “followed up to ensure this customer was reimbursed.”
But this time, the family really got the check.
Tips for a smooth insurance claim
Get all the info
Take down as much information as possible, including the license plate, driver’s license, insurance information, names, and contact information for everyone involved. If it’s a company vehicle that did damage, take down company phone numbers too.
Take photos of the damage to your car. Especially if dealing with a company or commercial vehicle, make sure to take photos of the vehicle that caused the damage. You should also take photos of license plates, registration, and driver’s licenses.
Make sure to get phone numbers and email addresses and follow up regularly. Having photo and email documentation can help move a case along. Especially if there are questions, getting things in writing is important. You may also want to write down the names of people you speak with over the phone.
File a complaint with the insurance commissioner
Even with entities that are not regulated by Washington’s insurance commissioner, filing a complaint can get you in touch with their consumer protection staff. Kenton Brine with the Northwest Insurance Council says they can often help cut through red tape. Here’s the link to file your complaint.