Do I have a case against Geico Auto Insurance?

Last year I was backing out of a parking spot in school, when the very high uneven curb literally ripped off my front bumper. I knew that auto insurance does not cover cosmetic damage, so I did not call them at the time. A couple days later, however, I noticed that my car began to leak fluid. Worried about this, I called Geico, my insurance agency, and they began my claim. I wanted to know if it would go against me on my driving record, but they would not give me an answer. It was a month of hell-they took a month to repair my car and kept switching adjusters on me. Here’s the kicker, they didn’t fix my leak Just the cosmetic damage claiming that my leak was not caused by the event. So what in the world just happened? They screwed up my driving record with dmv and I thought auto insurance did not cover cosmetic damage only-which is what they did. They hussled me to raise my insurance premium. It was so stressful the whole time dealing with them that I even failed my classes.

Asked on April 26, 2016 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Auto insurance does cover cosmetic damage, though it's often not worth submitting a claim due to your deductible and the effect on your rates. If the fluid leak was caused by the accident, they should have paid; if not (such as if it was due to deterioration ovr time--as they presumably claim) they do not. If you feel you could prove it was due to the accident, you could sue them for breach of contract (not paying when the policy, which is a contract, says they should) for the cost to repair. To win, you'd need more than your opinion; you'd need a report and testimony by an "expert", such as an experienced mechanic, who examined your car and came to the conclusion the accident caused the leak. Since you would presumably have to pay him for his time and effort, it may not be economically worthwhile to pursue this claim.

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