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Just under one month ago, I took delivery of a brand new factory ordered Jeep. The other day, I was in a wreck. I have not been involved in a multiple car accident in about 17 years, and have an excellent driving record. This sucks! Without going into too much detail, he hit my right front wheel area at a 90 degree angle perpendicular to my Jeep. He hit me with a Nissan SUV (Armada I think). Fortunately, a witness came forward and said he ran a red light, which I had already believed as I stood there in shock of what had just happened. Most importantly, no one was hurt. One of the first things I thought of was......damn this thing is built like a tank!

I am worried that it might be totaled. The entire front portion of the Jeep (forward of the windshield) looks as though it has shifted a few inches to one side. He hit me hard. I can see that the front axle is bent, among other things. I am worried about the frame being either bent or cracked. I am convinced that he was in the wrong, as I researched the state traffic laws last night. I am hoping my insurance company takes care of everything, and goes after his insurance company as well, since I believe he was at fault. If not, I may ge a lawyer. I would think that having a witness will benefit my case, but am not really sure. I hope it can be fixed, but am concerned about it not being safe, and having more problems later popping up as a result of the original damage. And if it is totaled, I am concerned as to what I may have to go through to get a new Jeep.

Regardless, I am looking for any advice, comments, or suggestions from anyone who has experience in this area. Has anyone ever totaled their Jeep? Has anyone ever had major damage repaired? If so, are there any residual effects on the vehicle? Has anyone had any good experiences with insurance companies regarding accidents? I really don't know what to expect. Any help is appreciated. Pics to follow. Thanks!
 

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Sorry, man. But glad to hear no one was hurt. :beer:

I never have been involved in anything this serious, but make sure you have a way to record the witness' testimony, and be able produce the witness later if needed.
 

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I was involved in a similar collision 2 yrs ago. The other driver ran an intersection and hit me in the front driver side- driving a Crown Victoria. They hit me hard enough to do roughly $15,000 worth of damage to my Jeep. A lot of that cost was in modifications. Took out front control arms, shocks, front drive side qtr panel, tie-rod, axle, transfer case, oil pan, skid plate, drive side knuckle, front drive shaft, etc, etc.

They were at fault and I also had a witness. First action was to get checked out at the ER- for a swollen left leg. Next was to contact her insurance company with the claim number and send them a copy of the police report- showing that SHE was at fault.

Your insurance company should not be handling this accident if the other driver was cited.....UNLESS the other drivers insurance company is dragging their heels, or if the accident was your fault. If you use yours, you will have to also pay a deductible, that will be reimbursed to you when the other ins company pays out.

In Texas, the adjuster/ agent has up to 5 weeks to complete their investigation and subsequent settlement.

The other drivers insurance company will take your statement of what happened- usually recorded with your approval. If you decide due to injury, to seek a lawyer, then I don't advise giving them any statement without your attys advisement to do so.

Eventually, the other drivers ins company will decide/ offer to either total it out (depending upon damage vs cost to repair), or to repair it, or to let you buy it back (salvaged title). Also they will consider what is owed on the vehicle and the extra costs involved- modifications, rental vehicle, towing, storage, etc.

The injury and property damage should I believe be handled under 2 different claims, and possibly 2 different adjusters.

It's been a while, but I believe these are the basics. Of course the laws in your state will likely differ. Best of luck.

*Also as stated- please make sure that the witness will be avail to give a statement at a later date.
 

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Lots of good info StubEXrube! I can add just a couple of things, as in the course of my business I occasionally deal with accident claims. First off I'm glad that there weren't any injuries. If you're involved in an accident without injury there are a few things you can do that will help you out down the road.

The first point I'll address is photos. I know its over with now and I don't know if you took pics at the scene, but to anyone else reading this: Document Your Accident. Pics of your damage, their damage, and any other damage like street signs or whatever. A photo is worth a thousand words, and adjusters love them. Our insurer issues disposable cameras to all our drivers and they are required to document incidents involving any kind of property damage.

The second point is modifications. Anticipate difficulty in receiving replacement value on your after-market parts. If you're going to be totalled do a little salvage before they take possession if at all possible. Assuming you were towed from the scene it will be helpful to have a good working relationship with whoever owns the body shop you were towed to. Hunt for receipts indicating the purchase cost of any after-market parts that were damaged in the accident, they will help you establish value.

The third point..... gap insurance. If you are totalled you will receive market value for your vehicle claim. It doesn't matter what you owe, only what it's worth. If like myself you financed your Jeep then the market value may not pay the vehicle off. This is where your gap insurance comes into play- it insures the value of your loan in excess of the value of your vehicle, i.e. the gap. Check your policy. We don't deal with gap in my industry so I don't know anything about filing the claim, but I imagine it's pretty straightforward. I know that gap comes into play when you're at fault, and I assume it applies when the other driver is at fault as well. If I'm mistaken on this point I'm sure someone will chime in.

And finally..... I understand the point about dealing with the other driver's insurance company. However remember that your agent is your advocate. They should be notified within 24 hours of the event. Notifying them doesn't mean you file a claim, it just means that you give them a heads up and an initial statement. You will need to have done this if it turns out you are at fault, or if the other driver's insurance co refuses to play nice.

Best of luck in getting this issue resolved. One last bit of advice: an even temper and a little tact will serve you very well... don't get rolled over but stay professional and remember what you want-- your Jeep back JUST like it was before that idiot ran into it!
 

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As to the structural integrity of the Jeep itself...it is compromised. Shops can only straighten frames to a certain degree of precision. Usually, the result is less than 'perfect'. You can have alignment issues, body panels that do not line up right, suspension noise, etc. The metal itself will be weakened after bending in the direction of the hit and it will not have the same strength.

Having said that, I do believe that some shops can restore your JK to near perfect condition. The only one to know that anything happened will be you. However, you are looking at the upper echelon of shops that can do this. Basically, you would have to go to a restoration specialist that deals in exotics. The kind of guy that measures gaps in body panels with a micrometer.

It basically boils down to what your definition of 'good enough' is. If it is less than 'perfect', then you might be ok with the repair work. Personally speaking (I'm super anal when it comes to this kind of stuff), once the frame is bent, I'd do what I can to total it and go rebuild another one.
 

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If it gets to the repair stage then Clackey and I can both help you out with any questions you have or help translate the shop's estimate.

That being said...as a fellow Jeeper and JKO friend do you really want a one month old Wrangler that needs pull time on the frame or maybe a new frame? Have you even made a payment on it?? Before that decision is going to be made the handling insurance company will have to write the estimate and given the amount of the estimate, the NADA value on your Jeep and what they can get for it at salvage will determine what happens.

Beware of the insurance companies, especially as a claimant. They are going to try to resolve this as cheaply as possible and don't really give a rats ass about what is best for you! Some companies are better then others but at the end of the day they treat it as a business.
 

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First off I'm glad you weren't hurt.Here in Oregon if the frame gets the slightest bit bent,it's an automatic total.Different states=different laws,which I'm sure your insurance people will or already have made you aware of.Personally,I would opt for the "total" option and get a new ride if at all possible.Frames are routinely straightened but they do loose strength when pulled back into position,or so I have been told.Best of luck bro.:smokin:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I stopped by the body shop today to check on the status of my jeep. They have yet to put it up on a rack, but the mechanic told me that there is most likely frame damage. He said he'll have it up on a rack within the next few days. I asked him if the insurance company (USAA) would be inclined to total it. He said that with a new vehicle, they will probably want it repaired. I was a bit surprised. I guess I'll find out after they get an estimate.

Regardless, if the insurance company decides to repair the vehicle, I'm going to have tons of questions for anyone who knows anything about frame repairs. The mechanic told me there is a possibility of replacing the frame. Again....I was surprised. Does anyone know if I even have a choice in the matter? Is this comletely up to the insurance company? I have reservations about having repairs made to the frame. If I get it fixed, how much will it affect the resale value? Has anyone ever had frame repairs, or even a frame replacement?
 

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It is all math at this point. Lower the value of the vehicle and increase the cost of repairs....that is how USAA will total a new vehicle.

As to resale value...your only recourse to getting anywhere close to book value is to find some suckers. The kind that doesn't look into detailed carfax histories. I think the title will stay clear so you can still advertise that...
 

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Seems to me that if the frame were replaced it really would be just like new. I can't see how that would affect it's resale. If the frame is bent back into shape I understand that it would be weakened by the process. Of course resale doesn't matter one bit unless you actually sell it. Think I'll be hanging on to mine for the long haul ;)
 

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Seems to me that if the frame were replaced it really would be just like new. I can't see how that would affect it's resale
You're crazy to think that. I sure as hell wouldn't buy it after looking at a Carfax report... unless it was dirt cheap! It would GREATLY affect the resale value.
Even if you don't plan to sell it... it's still yours. It would be nice if your new Jeep has never been smashed up.... after spending all that money on it.
 

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.... It would be nice if your new Jeep has never been smashed up.... after spending all that money on it.
It was. Can't change that. And while a shiny new one would be nice, it probably ain't gonna happen... I'd certainly rather a replaced frame than a repaired one.
 

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It was. Can't change that. And while a shiny new one would be nice, it probably ain't gonna happen... I'd certainly rather a replaced frame than a repaired one.
Yeah... that's a bummer. But you're right... if they don't total it a new frame would be much better than a repaired one.
Do they actually do that though? That would be a shit-ton of work that the insurance company would have to pay somebody to do.
Good luck...:)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
When I was in the body shop the other day, the mechanic showed me a brand new frame they will be putting into a Forerunner. So yup.....they replace frames. I was hoping they would just total it, but I honestly don't think I have a say. I will ask once the final decision is made. I'll know more in a few days. I just want it to be safe, and I want it to look and drive like it did pre-accident. Regardless, I plan on being a Jeep owner for a long time. Not only is it fun to drive, but it's also a tank when it comes to safety!
 

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Sorry to hear man, same thing happened to me back 2 years ago. My jeep was 3 months old. Lady was in the left lane and decided to make a right turn. So she did right into my Jeep. I had minor frame damage, but was enough for me to trade in. I lost my shirt trading it in, so don't trade in my payment jumped to $600 a month. In some states you have the right to claim future lost of value due to the frame damage. I use to sell cars and once the dealer runs carfax and sees frame damage you just lost a ton of value. The one thing is you must tell a private buyer or dealership your vehicle had frame damage when you sell it so you don't hey sued. Do some research, see if you can get paid for a loss.
 

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Why not just ask the insurance company if you have to option to have the frame replaced if it is tweaked? Show your concern.....because they certainly are going to do as little as it takes with a claimant that chooses to not ask questions. Be patient, be courteous....but be involved and stay vigilant.

Mine had major damage- although it didn't have any frame damage. It was a blessing in disguise for me....considering that I got a new axle, gears, transfer case, shocks, steering box, etc, etc.

My Jeep is better off than it was before my accident.
 

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I think if I had a basically new jeep and it sustained frame damage from the fault of another I would talk to a lawyer before accepting any settlement without totaling it.
 
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