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  #1  
Old 12-21-2001, 04:48 PM
ERASE
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E500 owner in trouble! Help Help!

Commerce insurance company is taking me to the cleaners.

I was hit by a reckless kid - tossed into another car and my car was totaled.

1994 E500 Black Pearl, Black interior, with 25K miles Starmarked. I am 38 with a clean driving record- step 11- he is a 21 year old with 35 points on his license.

I am, of course distraught, and feel like the Curator of a Museum that has been vandalized.

The car was perfect. I bought it in January from Foreign Motors West In Natick Mass. It had 23,500 miles on it. I drove it 1500 miles- but the car was in the shop for most of the time I owned it because they scuffed up the trunk doing an oil change (and couldn't fix the damage correctly even the 4th time).

I got the car back on Friday- and everything was done- the delivery was done- the rocker panels were replaced with new ones without any stone chips etc.

I flew back home from California and was driving home Monday might and was hit from behind in the rear driver quarter panel.

The car saved my life. Those extra welds done by hand gave me enough time to move as the car body deformed. I sustained only a back and neck injury. I was going 30mph through Harvard Square. the kid must have been doing 60 at 1:30 in the morning.

My financee was hit by (3) 16 year old girls in a Jeep with the radio blaring last month. Her ML 320 wrecked. It has been a bad year for the both of us.

Anyhow the Insurance company is trying to make me take 39k for a car I paid $48 k (after incidentals starmark etc...it is 52 K).

How can I tell the insurance company that I can not replace the car for 39K? How can I establish the replacement value of the car? I'm not sure any appraiser knows the true value of these cars and would just assume it was a bigger 400E.

This could happen to anyone of us. It is a horrible thing to have to deal with.

Please feel free to offer your advice at e500mercedes@yahoo.com

I want to buy another car- but with this settlement I won't be able to. I'll lose over 10k for a car I drove 1500 miles.

I would appreciate any help from people this holiday season.

a saddened owner of the finest automobile in the world,


John Haines

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  #2  
Old 12-22-2001, 06:04 PM
Michael's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
Don't take it. What will they give you if you keep it? I know an MBZ body shop in RI that can make it new again, BTW.

Does your policy have a "replacment value" clause? If not, drop me an email and perhaps I can help you develop a strategy-been in the claims business for a while.

Glad you're okay!
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1995 E500 street car
1986 Porsche 944 Turbo S track car
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2001, 06:44 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Long Island, NY USA
Posts: 195
John: As long as you are OK, that's the main thing. Cars can be replaced. Don't accept the check from your insurance co. Document the value of the car by looking through local newspapers and finding ads for cars similar to yours if you can. Submit these items to your insurance company as proof that the value of your car is actually more than they offered you.
Good Luck
Gary
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  #4  
Old 12-22-2001, 11:28 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: macon,ga. usa
Posts: 354
Here's a thought....

as an attorney who doesn't do much in the PI business, this has usually gotten their attention.
Just ask them to bring you another one.
Same miles, same history, same condition. And get it here now.
Just let them know that all you want to do is to get back to where you were before their idiot made all this mess. They were on notice that he was a risky driver, as this was obviously not his first problem. Don't be an ass. Just very calmly tell them that the easist thing to do would just be to bring you another car. Just like the one you had.
Patience. This ain't going to get taken care of overnight.
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  #5  
Old 12-23-2001, 12:09 AM
ERASE
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I'm hoping for a resolution- still, 5 months later

MY problem is finding a car with 25k miles in perfect condition. I'm looking all the time.

Unless I want a less popular color than Black pearl, black interior. It is hard to find a low mileage example.

Also I need to have a Starmarked car as I can not have any unexpected repairs. There seem to be very few E500's with low milage for sale at Mercedes Dealers. I could still starmark a car if I found one soon.

I also have always financed through MBCC and I would not be able to get the same degree of financing from another company. I have a perfect record with MBCC- . So I am left with trying to find it through a dealer.

I bought the car for a few reasons. My family has a history of being caretakers for these cars- My mother used to race the 300sl gullwing with her brothers 300sl roadster and my father met my mother when he came to buy the car. He had 2 Gullwings himself. All are gone now...

As many of you feel - this is the best Stock Benz ever made- The design is so intuitive and correct- the handling, the balance of performance vs comfort. There is no time you spend in the car that is unpleasant- At night the lights shine bright with no hot spots, in traffic the stereo and auto transmission are comforting, around town on bumpy roads you ride in luxury. On a sunny day with the sunroof open you can go 70+ without everything blowing about in the car.

In a hurry the car has it in spades- and even the auto transmission can be shifted extremely quickly. If you have to carry 4 people- no one- not even 6 foot 3 adults are cramped. The climate control and switches are just right. I even prefer the one wiper which forces me to slow down to under 80 in the rain- built in safety .

I never want to drive another car after owning one of these.

I planned to put only 10K on the car and keep it as an investment- borrowing against if needed as opposing to sell it - I think these will appreciate somewhat. I'll tell you- its hard not to drive these every single day!

As I said before - this car saved my life. I just can't buy a different car after that.

Keep the suggestions coming- I really appreciate the help! Merry X-mas to everyone.
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2001, 01:44 AM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
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ERASE,
Many years ago, about 1974, I had a 1972 454" Corvette that I had bought new which was stolen and I also ended with the same insurance problem that you now have. After three months of haggling we wrote a letter to the Insurance Commisioner of the State of Florida but held back on mailing it. We did send a copy to the insurance company though and they came to us begging as they didn't want a negative report in the state file. This hurts when they try to get approvals for rate hikes if they can't settle their claims properly.

Also had a case where someone hit me and my insurance company said they would pay for the damages and refund me the deductible IF they collected from the other ins. company, and made it sound doubtful. I said forget it and sued the other party myself. They countersued so we both got ins. co. provided lawyers. I won and that ended that except that I then changed my ins. provider, just to be safe!

Just my two cents and nostalgia!

Tobias MB
4 MBs
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  #7  
Old 12-24-2001, 01:49 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 2,633
Give MB of Laguna-Niguel, CA (949-347-3700 ) and Fletcher-Jones MB of Newport Beach, CA, a call.

They both had low mileage StarMarked 500E's for sale a couple of months ago.

They may also can help with establishing & documenting how much a StarMarked 500E will cost.

:-) neil
1988 360TE AMG
1993 500E
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  #8  
Old 12-24-2001, 04:56 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 688
Good idea Neil and that reminds me of two in the NE corridor:

Hatch & Sons in Massachusetts had two, one a 93 with only 39k on it and the other was a 1993 6.0 with only 24k miles on.
They can be reached at 508-358-3500 or at hatchandsons.com.
They also should give you a comparative idea since they deal in many MBs and specials Another thing they do is restorations so they could also give you an estimate.

Tobias MB
4 MBs
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  #9  
Old 12-24-2001, 06:24 PM
bondjamesbond
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Also try Isringhausen Imports (Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Renntech) in Springfield, IL. They sell three times as many cars over the phone as thru the door and can help with a valuation of your car.

bond

1993 500E (rolls)
1995 LR Range Rover (rocks)
1986 190E-16 (Sold)
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  #10  
Old 12-26-2001, 01:12 AM
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Lightbulb

Regarding insurance...my agent told me years ago that I was free to declare a higher replacement value than book, as long as I was willing to pay a higher premium.

That advice saved me big dollars when my highly modified Audi quattro was involved in an accident. The insurance covered the repairs based on my declared value, which added up to just over twice the book value of the car.

I've done the same with my E500. Pay a little more now or a lot more later.
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  #11  
Old 12-26-2001, 01:14 PM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
...sorry to hear of your loss... and the loss of one of the 374 1994 E500's imported to N America.

On the back end- - insurance is simply a contract- in the event that your comprehensive coverage includes 'replacment value'- then your insurance company will need to perform under the terms of the contract.

Establishing a 'replacement value' for your car is a simple established process involving- polling the available cars for sale in the marketplace (demographic) with similar characterisitcs as yours. Sources ie. Autotrader.com, Dealers: Ed Keller at Rusnak Mercedes in Pasadena, CA (you can search mercedesshop on Ed Keller for his phone number)-he has info on a as-new '94 E500 original owner car ~40k on the odo Black Pearl on Black ~ $48 asking price, Local periodicals, etc.

In the event that your auto insurance policy limits comprehensive limits to "book value" or some term meaning the same - you're most likely limited to "book value" (kelly/ edmunds/ etc.) as a remedy in the event of total loss.

Insurance on the front end is managing risk. For those wishing to manage this risk by having a "replacement value" remedy in the event of total loss, then one will need to purchase such a policy (more $$$).

From a consumers point of view- standard insurance policies as a product provide a 'reasonable' coverage for a reasonable price. Naturally, those fully featured/ loaded comprehensive insurance policies provide the most/highest amount of remedies in the event of loss but at a higher price (price to coverage ratio).

Hope this helps, good luck, and let us know what turns out. We hope you'll have a new E500 soon.

-fad

Last edited by -fad; 12-27-2001 at 01:03 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2001, 12:46 AM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
I carry replacement value insurance on my MB's. It's worth the additional premium to know that you will be covered.

If I owned something as rare as an E500, especially one in the top echelon of condition range, I would carry "stated value" that would at least cover what I originally paid.

I had a hot-rod Camaro that was worth many times what the book value was. My car was vandalized, and my stated-value policy insured that the $$$ paint job was repaired.

Anyone owning unique/rare/collectible cars needs to find insurance carriers equipped to handle your special needs.

Hope you find a replacement car, and the insurance covers it. If so, change your insurance to properly cover your car. And change agents, as your existing one sold you the wrong coverage on your magnificent beast...
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2001, 07:58 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
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Value question...

fad,
Does it make a difference whether the owner has book or replacment value on his own vehicle if it was the fault of a reckless teenager and will be paid by his insurance company?
In this case does the kid's ins. co. pay the book value and the owners replacment has to make up the difference?
And if the owners insurance has to pay the difference, is that a mark against the owner for being in a no-fault accident? Curious because there is a record against me because my 300SE got vandalized...wrong place at the wrong time! Which did cause my rates to rise at renewal time.

TobiasMB
4 MBs
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2001, 08:23 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Re: Value question...

Quote:
Originally posted by Tobias MB
fad,
Does it make a difference whether the owner has book or replacment value on his own vehicle if it was the fault of a reckless teenager and will be paid by his insurance company?
In this case does the kid's ins. co. pay the book value and the owners replacment has to make up the difference?
And if the owners insurance has to pay the difference, is that a mark against the owner for being in a no-fault accident?
My insurance company would make up the shortfall, and then chase the kid's for the difference. If they didn't get anything, it would be a claim against me. But, in my policy, I get one "freebie" of this type, allowing me to claim against catastrophic loss without paying higher premiums for years (decades...) to come.

Car insurance is an important thing for MB owners, and it pays to spend lots of time buying it carefully...
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2001, 11:59 PM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
Hi Tobias-

once, 'fault'/ 'at-fault'/ 'partial-at-fault' issues have been determined (on a case-by-case basis & taking into account state insurance laws), insurance companies maximum monetary obligations are outlined within the $ limits of coverages (irrespective of "book value" coverage or "replacement value" coverage in this case)

in the event that damages exceed (the kid's) insurance policy limits, the at-fault party(ies) are then liable for the deficiency ie insurance companies are not contracted with a "sky's the limit" financial obligation

it goes unsaid that for any specific scenario/ case, both parties insurance policies would need to be reviewed to ascertain merely the contractual obligations to the insuree (fault/ no fault/ and paritial at fault matters notwithstanding)

in regards to, 'no-fault accidents' or 'no-fault comprehensive claims' being tallied against a policy holder' ($ paid out or not)- the insurance policy itself will state how these will be handled (and it would probably vary by insurance company)

On another vein- we should all know our insurance policies we purchase and spend tons of $$$ on- - to the extent that blackmercedes does!

hope this helps!
-fad

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