On Friday July 25th 2014 my wife got into an accident on the Garden State Parkway. My two young children were in the car and she was at fault. I was not in the car when it happened but her account of the accident goes as follows:
“I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was there, checked my mirrors, put on my directional and started to move over. Then I heard a crunch sound and was pushed back into the center lane by the force of the impact. I assumed that I ran over some debris and that the tire had blown out.”
My oldest daughter says “What was that!”, my youngest says “Mommy just ran over some rumples, no big deal!” That kid is funny! She starts to pull over to the side of the road and notices that someone is following her. Her first instinct is that it is a Good Samaritan that is pulling over to help her with her tire. Come to find out, it is the person that she hit!
My gut tells me the person she hit was probably weaving in and out of traffic and driving erratically, especially knowing that the guy was very nervous while waiting for the police. She probably didn’t notice the behavior occurring behind her and he probably wasn’t there when she looked. She got a ticket because she could not prove that he was driving erratically, and we’ll never know if he really was or not. Either way, the most important thing is that no one was injured and everyone is fine, including the person she hit.
My wife received a ticket for improper lane change or something along those lines. However, the NJ State Police were very friendly and helpful while my wife was going through this. Keeping two kids calm while she’s trying not to get too upset is difficult enough, but the State Trooper was extremely helpful and friendly. He even assured her that the truck was drivable and that she had nothing to worry about. That is obvious to us car people, but to someone who just had an accident at highway speed, they might not be too sure.
Needless to say, I had to call the insurance company when I got home. We use Geico, and they were also very friendly and considerate of the situation. They took down all of the information over the phone, spoke with my wife for the details of the accident, and then explained to me what my options were. They were even ready to setup an appointment to have the truck repairs estimated on the spot. I was not quite ready to make that decision, so the representative guided me to the website where I could make the appointment when I was ready.
After some discussion on what our course of action would be, we decided to make the appointment. The hardest part about this was finding time in my schedule to get the car there and meet with the Geico representative. I finally settled on Thursday July 31, 2014. I dropped the truck off at 8:30AM and the Geico Representative went over the truck and assessed the damage. He also went around the truck and marked all the previous damage that was there. It was all minor stuff, little nicks and scratches, but I was surprised by how much previous damage there was.
At 1:30PM, I received a call from my Geico representative and he went over the damages, what the price of the repairs were going to be, what my out of pocket expenses were, and the date I could expect to get my vehicle back. My out of pocket expenses are $1000.00 since that it what my deductable is. The total cost of the repair was $2791.21. Because we went with a Geico approved shop, the shop warranties the repair for life and the job is moved to the top of the shops priority list. When I first heard this on the phone with the original representative, I just ignored it and thought that they just say that to get you to use their shop. But my treatment at the shop was excellent and they expect to have the repairs done by Monday August 4th 2014. That’s just 5 days, including the day I dropped it off!
Also on July 31st 2014, I was able to purchase the accident report on Buycrash.com. This seemed a little like a scam, but it was only $5.00 for the report and it saved me the hassle of going to the police station for it. It was also in a digital format so I was then able to upload the accident report to the Geico claims website to complete my reporting for the insurance company. It was very convenient!
The truck ended up not being completely done on August 4th 2014 but I was called the following morning, Tuesday August 5th 2014 to state that the truck was ready and that I could pick it up anytime. I went to pay the $1000 that I owed (my deductable), went over the repairs, and got my keys. The repairs looked pretty good and I was surprised that the bumper was not replaced but repaired. It really looks as if it never happened. They did an outstanding job on the repair and messaging out the dents in the quarter panel.
Overall, my experience with the Geico insurance company and the recommendations that they provided were top notch. They recommended using Branning Auto Body on Rt. 18 in East Brunswick NJ, because they are Geico approved, and they did a very good job. As stated earlier, it looks like it never happened!
Below is all the pictures that were associated with this repair. All of the pictures that look “normal” are the after repair pictures. The pictures with the markings and where the car is completely apart are from the Geico Representative when they did the estimate. The before pictures of the damage I took before taking it in.