Ava Rambeau was tired of waiting and skeptical about asking for help.
“Nobody ever responds when you send them that type of stuff,” she said.
The retired teacher says she got into an accident in March. More than two months later, she could still point out the damage caused by the driver who slammed into her car.
“This section, the whole bumper has to come off,” she said.
According to a police report, the other driver involved in the crash was ticketed for “careless driving”, after losing control of her vehicle and slamming into the back, passenger side of Rambeau’s car.
“We were both fine, we couldn’t be replaced,” she said. “The vehicle could.”
The day after the accident, Rambeau called United Automobile Insurance Company – the other driver’s insurance – and was told they first had to see the damage, she said.
“Took my car to them, to one of their service centers,” she said, adding that they looked at the car and gave her an estimate for the repair. When asked what happened next, she said, “The waiting game started.”
Rambeau received several letters from the insurance company acknowledging her claim, but was given different time frames for the investigation. One said it could take up to 60 days, another letter said up to 30.
“You call every day, ok, what are you gonna do? I need to do this so that I can continue to do what I need to do,” she said.
NBC 6 Responds found that Rambeau is not the only one left waiting. In a 17 month period, the state of Florida’s Division of Consumer Services received 243 complaints involving United Automobile Insurance Company. More than half – 52.7% - were from people dealing with a “claim handling delay”.
Rambeau is one of those who filed a complaint with the state. Then she called NBC 6 Responds.
“I was already frustrated,” she said. “I said, ok, I’m gonna try this.”
Days after the NBC 6 Responds team reached out to the company, Rambeau received what she thought was just another letter. Instead, she said, it was a check for $646.36 – the full amount of the estimate for the repairs.
The insurance company told us they had been trying since mid-March to speak to the driver who hit Rambeau, but weren’t able to get her statement until May 1st. Once coverage was confirmed, the company said they mailed the check to Rambeau, adding: “We value our customers and always aim to provide the best claims handling and customer service possible.”
Rambeau, meanwhile, was thankful for the money and couldn’t wait to finally get her car fixed. She was also glad she asked for help.
“If you’re in this situation, take time,” she said. “I’m proof that there are people that care.”
The company also told us they will be reimbursing Rambeau for any rental car charges while the repairs are being done.
In the first quarter of 2017, Florida’s insurance consumer helpline recovered more than $8 million for a wide variety of issues including insurance claim payments and premium refunds. They have a helpline in place dedicated to help consumers with insurance complaints. The number is 1-877-693-5236. You can also file a complaint with them online by clicking here.