It is with a heavy heart I write this article concerning protection and unexpected consequences. On April 7, 2017, my mother who lives 1,500 miles away was in a car accident. She was driving a vehicle that was about 12 years old. One of the items I thought I would not have to worry about my mother if anything happened to her were her documents, she and I had listed on a sheet of paper where everything was and her insurance coverage as we had set everything up for her with good medical (including long term care policies), good home owners including an umbrella policy and good comprehensive automobile coverage that was coordinated with her umbrella policy.
Of course, life does not always workout as planned. Without letting me know, she decided to save money and dropped the collision on her vehicle assuming the value of the car was no longer worth insuring.
Of course, when the car she drove was hit, it was totaled. What should have been an easy call to the insurance company to handle this accident has turn into a back and forth nightmare. The insurance company did confirm that she dropped her collision coverage and had reduced her personal injury coverage from $250,000 to $100,000 with a maximum coverage of $300,000 from $500,000. The premium difference was $256.00 per annum. The coverage for damage to the other car was reduced to the minimum required by law. Because of this reduction in coverage, I received little or no support from the insurance company. They refused to deal with my mother’s car and pay for any of the towing and storage charges that were incurred (approx. $700 and growing). The other driver’s car was totaled, the driver was injured and is investigating whether it pays to sue my mother’s estate for further damages.
Since my mother’s car was also totaled the insurance company requires receipt of her title before they will process the claim. As you can imagine in a time of crisis, digging through files trying to find a car title was not a top priority. Nor has it been an easy task. To date we have not been able to locate her original title and we spent hours at the DMV in order to obtain a copy of the missing title.
Fortunately, hospital coverage did not change as she was covered by Medicare and had a personal Long Term Care Policy. Unfortunately, my mother, who would have turned 94 on May 8th was hospitalized with multiple fractures to her ribs, left ankle and right forearm. She was in severe pain and could not move on her own because she could not bear weight on either side. Although she was in pain, she soon developed pneumonia and died.