posted 09-10-2000 04:25 AM
Harley, sorry I didn't respond earlier. I saw this post just before I went to bed last night and figured I would post a response the next day. Unfortunately it was hit & miss for me getting online, and I actually forgot about this until I saw it in the Classics Forum.
Here's what I have experienced.
Insurance company's look out for themselves, and will do as much as they can to pay as little as possible. Take for instance my 1990 GT 5.0.
I was recently involved in a collision (I got rear-ended) and the other drivers insurance company didn't want to pay for new parts.
Now, I know for a fact that if the car is around 8 years old or less, you as the owner can insist on ONLY new, factory parts. However, if the car is older, they will rarely pay for all new factory parts.
For instance, the driver who hit me, his insurance company adjusted the repair estimate for my car ($4,400.00 dollars) by "disallowing" factory new parts for the hatchback and bumper cover. They were only "willing" to pay for cheapo, non-fitting, ill looking "aftermarket" reproductions. I told 'em to pound sand (nicely of course....I always try the nice path first...then the hardhead path).
I basically "sold" my car verbally, and let them know that I kept my stang in fantastic condition. They agreed with me that they had never seen a cleaner, more taken care of 5.0 ever, but that because my car was 10 years old, they just would not pay for new replacement parts. With that, I proceeded to "sweet talk" them into a compromise. I told them I wanted a quick resolution, as I'm sure they did too, and that I would really hate to see this end up in court. So I "generously" offered to accept a "recycled" hatchback (read: junk yard part in A+ condition) if they would agree to buy a brand new, factory bumper cover.
They agreed (along with a few other minor things) and cut me a check.
Now, one more thing. Hopefully you're able to talk them into covering more than 50% of the replacement for the top. But whatever percentage they decide to cover, go to the MOST expensive place you can find and have them give you an estimate. Then have the insurance cut you a check in YOUR NAME ONLY. Here in California, it's law they have to honor this if you request it.
One time my insurance company tried to tell me "no". I just kept telling them I wouldn't have it any other way. Well, they sent the check out to the repair shop with both my name and the shops on it.
I refused to sign the check, and told the insurance company to reissue the check in my name only, and to send the check to my address. They finally complied.
Anyway, after you get the check issued to you, take your car to someone who will do it for cheaper, and is reputable, who you trust to do the work. Some may think of this as cheating, but it really isn't.
Think about (aboot? Gotcha again, Ian) it. They insure the car against damage. Nowhere does it say you HAVE to have the work done!
You could actually take the money they give you, pocket it and never have the repair done...or just do it yourself with some kind of sealer.
The laws are set up to protect you, because the insurance company sure won't!
Hope that helps.