My Car Was Hit In a Parking Lot and The Insurance Will Not Pay For An Alignment

reader Question
Last sunday as I was looking for a parking space in my 2004 Honda Odyssey a man in a 1989 Ford festiva drove through the parking lot and slammed into my car. He hit the front of the car, on the passenger side, right on the side of the headlight.

The headlight did not shattered but there was damage on the
headlight frame, side of front bumper and fender. After the accident,my car drove funny, to make the van go straight my steering wheel has to be turn to the left. I took the car to Abbra, a shop that does work for Farmers Insurance, the insurance of the other driver. I was told that they will repair the body damages but that there is no way the accident could have caused the problem with the steering wheel as a direct heavy impact on the wheel would have been necessary to cause that.

Their mechanic said that there was no mark on the wheel so that it is impossible that they were hit. I am no mechanic but I am not a liar, my car did not drive like that prior to the accident and the problem showed up right after the accident as I drove out of the parking lot. Is there anyway I can dispute that? I feel like the mechanic just said
that because he tought I was trying to get a free aligment out of the insurance company.

He even said that the rest of the damages were not enough to have caused a disturbance in the alignment. Please help me, I want to dispute what he says because I know the accident did cause it but, how can I support my point? Thanks. vivian


Stand your ground!!! I have seen stranger things from small or what seemed small and minor fender benders. The insurance company is almost conditioned to DISPUTE anything the claimant says, and will listen to the shop that is making the repair.

I would take the vehicle back to the mechanic and ask them to take a test drive with you. Once they feel and see what you are talking about, I would politely demand them call Farmers for you and have them tell Farmers they drove the vehicle and that there IS a problem and a front
end alignment should be done.

When a customer is persistent (but polite about it) most insurance companies I deal with will want the problem to go away…..and will usually do what it takes to get that to happen. They count on most customer taking their word
and leaving them alone….don’t do that.

Did Farmers tell you to take the vehicle to that shop for repair? If they did….I would demand to talk to a district manager at Farmers and tell them you are NOT happy with the work that was done…and you were “coerced” to take the vehicle to that shop and not a dealership that
would have repaired the vehicle properly. Farmers is a good company and in the cases I have dealt with them in my shop…they were good people to work with.

Stand firm, be nice but don’t give in….you want your vehicle returned to “pre-accident” condition. You might want to tell them you want a rental car (at their expense) until this problem is corrected….that might but some heat on the situation.

BTW – you might want to switch the two front tires left to right….I have seen a defective tire, or an UNDER INFLATED tire cause a front end pull. And of course Check the tire pressures!

Keep me posted.

Austin C. Davis

Reader Follow up

Thank you for responding to my Email. I took the car to Midas and they checked the alignment and they told the mechanic from the insurance’s garage that it WAS the alignment but that the strut was bent due to a heavy impact
was their guess. So that mechanic talked to the insurance rep and the insurance ended up paying for it. Thanks again.

Posted in: Front End Problems

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