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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 27196
Experience:  Lawyer
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I broke down in the middle of the night (11:40 p.m.) I

Customer Question

I broke down in the middle of the night (11:40 p.m.) I called my insurance to get roadside assistance. By 10:45 the NEXT MORNING I still had not gotten a tow truck. I got a motel at my expense, and a cab ride to work ($60.) Three days later, my reward for this horrendous service was that my policy went up by $200! No one could explain it. I am 53 years of age, professional, no claims, tickets, or accidents, and premium current (on auto pay.) I sent in my cab and motel receipts thinking they might reimburse me, but they say "no." What if I had not had the money to get the motel and the cab? What if it had been my wife? Breakdown occurred while passing through high crime area of south Dallas. Would I have any success in small claims to try to recover my last month's premium, my cab, and my (cheap) motel room? It is salt in the wound to get increased by $200 immediately after being left stranded. NOTE: they said I didn't have towing on the policy when I called for help that night--that I would have to pay for the tow before they started trying to get a tow truck to me. I paid it by credit card, then still couldn't get service. I called the next morning to add towing to the policy. I just happened to call a couple of weeks later to confirm towing being on the policy--it STILL wasn't on my policy, even with everything I had gone through and my asking them to be sure it was added. Please advise.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

As a first step, go back and look at a copy of your policy issued before the breakdown occurred. Based on everything else that happened, I'm not sure I trust the insurance company's word that you didn't have towing. And compare your old declarations page with a new one, because someone needs to be able to explain what happened to the price. Insurance policies don't just jump $200 unless they've changed your coverage.

Legally, to get money from someone, you have to be able to establish that they wronged you AND that their wrong is the proximate cause of your injury. Here, the proximate cause of your injury was the original breakdown. You would've wound up paying for a tow truck to help with that even if they'd told you immediately that you didn't have towing. The only way you'd be able to get the insurance company to pay for your motel bill and taxi is if you can establish that you stayed on site, waiting, only because they promised to send a truck and that you wouldn't have needed to get a hotel room if they'd told you that your policy didn't include towing. I can't tell based on what you've said if that's the case. But if you relied on their promises in incurring additional expenses, they have to compensate you.

If they can't explain the $200 to your satisfaction, and if it's not for towing or other services you want, you may want to look into whether your policy allows cancellation so you can go with another insurance company. If you'd prefer to stay with them, try calling to speak with a supervisor. You can also try sending a letter, via certified mail, to their legal department, laying out exactly what you told me, and demanding that they return your policy premium to what it was before, plus the cost of towing, to avoid getting sued for the $200 on top of everything else. They're not acting in good faith here, and an insurance company can be sued for not carrying out the policy in good faith. If you prefer, a local attorney could draft a letter for you.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

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