Twice Victimized

 Posted by at 6:03 am  Nick's Blog
Dec 162009

Summerdale Puddles webIf you see Noah, tell him I’d like to swap a really nice WinnebagoSummerdale Puddles 2 web Ultimate Advantage motorhome for his ark!

It has been raining ever since we got back to Summerdale, and I’m starting to collect two of every critter I see, just in case. Here are a couple of photos of the puddles taken from in front of our motorhome yesterday morning. Everywhere we step, the ground is just saturated.

A lot of blog readers have e-mailed asking me how our insurance company is treating us since we were burglarized and vandalized the evening of December 4th. I have held off on saying much, hoping to keep a spirit of cooperation going. But since that hasn’t done us any good, here is how the situation looks from my point of view. Please excuse the rant, but we feel like we are being victimized for a second time.

We have used PoliSeek (formerly AON) as our insurance agent for most of the ten years we have been on the road. First they placed us with Royal Sun Alliance, and when that company stopped covering RVs, they switched us to National Interstate. In all of that time, we have faithfully paid our premiums on time and have never had a claim.

We are supposed to have a disappearing deductible, which means that for every year that we don’t have a claim, our deductible goes down by 10%. We also pay extra for full replacement coverage of our RV and contents.

So far, I am very unhappy with the response from both PoliSeek and National Interstate. Our crime happened late on a Friday evening. We called the next morning (Saturday), and got a message to call back on Monday. So we were left to fend for ourselves all weekend in 12 degree weather in northern Indiana with an RV with a window busted out. We could not leave the RV parked and unsecured and stay in a motel or everything else in it could have been stolen. Fortunately, Michele Henry from Phoenix Commercial Paint opened her shop up for us so we could get in out of the cold over the weekend.

On Monday, three days after the incident, I talked to the first claims adjuster, and he e-mailed me a Vandalism Affidavit and requested that I fill it out, have it notarized, and return it to him by fax. He also said to send him a list of any items that were stolen. I did so, and called him back an hour or so later to tell him that they had been faxed, and got a message that he was out of the office. As it turns out, he was out of the office for the next week.

We managed to contact a different adjuster, who said she was filling in for him, and she asked me to mail her hard copies of the forms, which we did. When I asked her about specific repairs and what was covered and how to get the repairs done so we could get back on the road and to warmer weather to avoid an incoming blizzard, her answer to every question was “I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to you.” The shop that did the initial repairs so we could get out of cold, snowy Indiana is getting the same run around.

Once our motorhome was drivable again, the second adjuster said to go to Camping World in Robertsdale, Alabama to get an estimate for the repairs that are still needed. I did so and faxed National Interstate that information.

Monday, a week after I spoke to him, the first adjuster called back and wants to start from square one all over again, and when I asked about the repairs still needed, his answer was the standard “I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to you.”

I was told that our disappearing deductible does not apply, because we also kept our bus conversion insured with them until it was sold. As for our total replacement coverage, that apparently only applies to items not physically attached to the RV, and guess what, there’s another deductible that comes into play there too!  When I ask why, the answer is “I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to you.”

Yesterday I called PoliSeek, who is supposed to be my advocate, as I understand it. I was told that nobody there could help me, and was transferred to the original claims adjuster at National Interstate. He told me that “these things take time.”

How much time? It is now twelve days after we were victimized and we still do not know if we are on the hook for the repairs to our RV or if we will be reimbursed for our loss and damages. The shop in Indiana wants paid and has told us that if the insurance company does not pay them in a timely manner for the repairs, we are responsible.

The same claims adjuster called back later yesterday afternoon and told me the claim can take up to 180 days to settle. Then he e-mailed me more paperwork to fill out, more loss claims to have notarized and mailed in, and said he will turn it over to a field adjuster, who is supposed to contact us “soon” to make an appointment to come and talk to us.  

You can bet that I’ll be changing insurance companies and agents very soon! Some readers who use PoliSeek and National Interstate have reported good experiences with them, but they have totally dropped the ball on our claim, in my opinion.

Thought For The Day – Friendship isn’t a big thing. It’s a million little things.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  31 Responses to “Twice Victimized”

  1. Typical insurance company BS. When my daughter’s house was robbed, she fought with them for months to get a settlement. They stalled and ran her around forever and finally gave her about 60 cents on the dollar even though she had full replacement coverage.

  2. Man I’m glad i read this! I was all set to sign up with PoliSeek after talking to their guy at an RV rally a few months ago. I even have the papers filled out! I just ran them through the shredder! Can anyone recomend a good company to insure fulltimer RVers?

  3. Wait just a freakin minute! Why are you even having to deal with YOUR insurance company? Didn’t this happen at the shop that made the repairs? Wasn’t the RV under their care, custody and control when they parked it outside at the end of the day in their unsecured lot? It seems to me that THEIR insurance company is the one who should be picking up the tab, not yours!

  4. I’ll be calling around today to find an insurance company to replace Natonal Interstate and an agent to replace PoliSeek. I won’t wait until I’m in trouble and have a claim so they can screw me too!

  5. Unless you signed a waiver stating the RV repair company was not responsible for any theft or vandalizm when parking there over night, I think they must assume some responsibility. They furnish the hookups for their customers so must have some kind of liability insurance to cover incidents such as yours. They also have security cameras which indicates they know the area may not be safe. Don’t let them bully you for payment. Tell them you need the name of their insurance company. Of course, none of this would be necessary if your insurance company wasn’t a bunch of crooks. I’m going to let some friends know about your company as I think they insure with them too. Unfortunately if all your subscribers who have the insurance cancel, it won’t be enough to put them out of business. But, word will spread and they could certainly be damaged — not that that helps you two.

  6. Insurance is a strange business. I had a tree fall on my van while it was parked at my apartment complex. Despite the fact that the complex had just trimmed dangerous trees, and it was clearly their parking lot and their tree, they wouldn’t pay a dime. Their insurance company sent a guy out to look at the space and tree, and still concluded they weren’t responsible.

    On the other hand, my car insurance (Farmers) paid for all the damage to be repaired — new roof, new windshield, new hood, new right door. And this was despite the fact that the book value of the van was less than the repair cost. It has a wheelchair lift which increased the value, and they took that into account, even though I don’t think my policy had anything about that.

    You can never tell.

  7. Insurance claims do take time but you should be getting better service then you are. Insurance Adjusters are frequently overworked and with the holidays, they are likely short handed. This is not a good scenario for you. You should be persistent with the adjuster until he gives you some answers. Since it’s been assigned to a field adjuster you may be finally getting some action. Good luck.

  8. Good luck w/the insurance stuff. It’s bad enough you’re under stress from the theft and vandalism and to be put under more stress while you’re trying to move on stinks. Maybe the insurance adjusters should walk a mile in your shoes.

    As far as the rain in this part of Alabama, we are part of a group of RV Care-A-Vanners working w/the Mobile Habitat affiliate and it’s been quite the challenge to work around the rain the past several weeks. We just learned that Mobile holds the record for the most rainfall in the US (Seattle is #24) and they may be breaking a record this month – oh joy….

    Hope you start getting good news from the insurance company – good luck.
    Lu & Larry Tillotson

  9. You are most definately getting a run around. Contact the Texas Department of Insurance ( and file a complaint. I would, also, contact the Better Business Bureau.

    We use Miller Insurance and have Progressive Insurance policies. They have settled both of our claims quickly with no hassles. The first claim was after I dropped the fifthwheel on the back of the truck and the second claim was when a blowout did damage to the fifthwheel. I notified Progressive Insurance and on both claims they had an adjuster on site the very next day. Within a week the truck was repaired and they mailed me a settlement check the very next day for the damage to the RV after the blowout.

    I never had to mail or fax them any notirized documents nor did Progressive give me any run arounds what so ever.

    I have used Miller Insurance since we started fulltiming and have had nothing but great service from them. Their agent even “played” with me when deciding which state to use as our domicile by giving me premium quotes from four different states. We purchased both our auto insurance for the truck and fulltimer’s insurance on the fifthwheel from them.

    There is absolutely no excuse for anybody being victimized twice for the same loss. Some insurance companies just need to be put out of business.

  10. Look into USAA. I’ve had them for a few years now for my home insurance, and I was so pleased with them after I had a small claim that I switched everything to them. They didn’t give me any sort of runaround, claims and all the forms were done online. No need for notarized forms, just fill them out and email them back. They’re military only (retired too) and constantly rated number 1 in customer service.

  11. The repair facility is not liable for repairs when your rig is parked outside their building on their lot with you living in it. It was not under their control. If the rig were parked inside their facility and the building were broken into and the rig vandalized that would create some liability on their part. I had a car I took in for service to a dealer. It was stolen from their lot and because it wouldn’t run far (it WAS in for service . . . stupid thieves) they got about a mile from the dealer and torched it. I DID prevail in my action against the dealer (took the second lawyer), but only because the service people had left the key in it and set it outside. I had handed the key to the service man who had placed it in his drawer. Turned out there was a theft ring operating with some help from some of the dealer’s employees. This was in Indiana as well. But the dealer likely has no liability in Nick’s case. Since your insurance company is an Escapees preferred vendor, I think I would contact Escapees and ask if they can put you in contact with someone at the insurance company who will work with you.


  12. Nick and Miss Terry

    We are so glad you both are ok and so sorry you are having so much trouble with the necessary evil of the insurance world.

    Check with Farm& City Insurance Service in Forest City IA (the home of Winnebago). They are an independent agent and so far (knock on wood) we have had good luck with them for windshield claims etc.

    I would also contact Escapees – if you are having so much trouble with one of their preferred vendors – what kind of problems are other folks who are not as persistant having?

    Good luck and lots of hugs

  13. I’ve been an insurance broker for almost 40 years, and what is happening to you is why insurance agents and companies are so despised. Most claims are settled quickly, but all it takes is the rare case like yours and the bad news spreads like wild fire. I’m not an agent for Progressive, but I would highly recommend them. They DO have excellent claims service…..with them your claim would already be a faint memory. I think the later recommendations of contacting Escapees is a good idea.

  14. Had a awning and roof problem. Called National Interstate. Got the run around. Finally got everything straight after 6 weeks. Changed insurance companies the next day.

  15. I’d have to disagree with you Dale. I’m an attorney in Indianapolis and there is a VERY clear case here that since the RV repair shop provides the parking/camping area and parked the RV there, and because they did not provide proper lighting and security, they placed the Russells in a dangerous position. If, Heaven forbid, one of them had ben injured or killed, any jury in the country would have found the shop negligent.

  16. We are FL residents and have had Progressive since our first MH purchase in 2001. Rates are competitive and customer service is very good. We have had two minor claims which we settled promptly although we have never had a claim on the magnitude of yours.

  17. Well, Charlotte, I wish I had known you years ago. But personal injury does change things. I think you would agree with that.

  18. I agree with some of those postings before me. Progressive insurance has treated me well, even though it was only a small claim, the driver side windshield had to be replaced. Also the disapearing deductible happens 20% each year or down to zero after five years.

  19. Nick & Terry

    We also had AON (National Interstate), which we signed up for at an Escapade. We did not have a claim but their premium was getting out of site. We contacted a Progressive agent and bought the same exact coverage for half the price.

  20. Nick,
    We used the Miller Agency and have Progressive Insurance like Darrell Patterson and they have been wonderful. We had an accident on I-5 near Seattle and they responded immediately. Since ours is a bus conversion that John built himself, he wanted to do the repairs. They asked us to send digital photos by email of the damage and an estimate of repair costs, which we did, and a check was in the mail immediately.
    It’s time for your luck to change. You need some good weather.

  21. Insurance is the biggest racket there is. Companies are more than happy to take your premium payments, but when it’s time for them to pay up they make it as difficult as they can, hoping you’ll just give up & forget the claim. Some are worse than others. I’ve been through it after damage to a car. Don’t sign anything until you get what you’ve been paying for. If they won’t come through, have a chat with the Insurance Commissioner in the state the company is headquartered in. A chat with the AG of that state might not hurt either. Inform the company of your intentions. Maybe mention that awful word, “lawyer.” It’s just too bad you have to go through all this hassle. Being burglarized & vandalized is bad enough, but getting the runaround from those you have been paying to help you is just too much.

  22. Nick,
    I wonder if its all about December…several years ago my normally very prompt and responsive insurance company took almost 5 weeks to cut my depreciated value check for my 3 year old new when purchased auto that got T-Boned by a Red Light Runner in early Dec and was promptly totaled (that decision only took 3 days). Fortunately, they did not hassle me and paid me a more than fair price for my car, when they finally managed to do so. Due to the Holidays, and maybe a busy time of year for accidents (?). I got to speak to several claims folks over that month…They were apologetic as they claim 10 days or so is normal…They did a LOT better on my recent new RV roof claim – no more than a week or so as I recall!
    PS, my insurance company now serves all Veterans.

  23. Progressive has been good to us. Immediate attention and resolution over the 14 years we’ve had them for our RVs. No hassle. In fact sometimes it all seems TOO simple.

    Another thought… you talked about the unnecessary damage that normally wouldn’t have taken place during a “normal” burglary. It came to my mind that this (these) guys were angry. Very angry. Do you suppose they could have been disgruntled employees or past employees of the repair shop? Just a thought.

  24. The best advice among the comments so far is to contact your state insurance commissioner or department. While many facets of govt get much criticism many are strong advocates for the consumer. Usually state insurance regulators are very responsive to policy holder complaints and insurance companies are very likely to get very responsive when they get a call from these agencies in reference to why they are not paying claims of policies that are in force.

    There is no need to make a claim against anyone else such as the firm where your were parked. That is the duty of your insurance company to subrogate the claim you filed if the feel another party contributed to your loss. Your claim should be settled promptly. You should read your policy which defines what property and such are covered and for what amount of value per the policy terms. Inurance policies are boring but not difficult to read or decipher.

    Again, call the appropriate state insurance board in your home state of residence or the state of issue of the policy. There is room for compromise or any claim but much of your total loss should at least be partially paid while unresolved or questionable items are discussed with you the claimant.

  25. Ditto on M ODonnell. In a past life I was an independent adjuster. My father was in the insurance business first as an agent for 26 years and then an independent broker. Insurance ran in our family.

    What M ODonnell said is 100% right on. Exactly what I was going to write.

    In my experience, the mention of contacting the commissioner tells the company that you are a savvy client and will not take their abuse.

    Good Luck!!

  26. I will add to the comments about Progressive as a part-timer their service was excellent the only time we needed it. I lost 2 tires on the same side of my trailer. We were on I77 N of Charlotte SC. The SC emergency road service showed up changed the tire and took us to a tire dealer to get a new tire, there was substantial damage to the trailer, tore up the floor under the sink, wiring, plumbing and the siding. The next day we went into a dealer to get repairs done, the claim adjustor showed up and they agreed to the estimate on the spot. I could not ask for better service

  27. so sorry about the weather in Alabama–you can’t control mother nature….but I have to add my 2 cents…you should have taken us up on our offer of free camping in central florida…we have been having beautiful 80 degree days here in Lake Wales…no rain..and our lot is all concrete and the park is all blacktop roads…but I have to tell you it is supposed to get cooler this weekend high 64. so it all evens out…

  28. After reading all of this, we also started making calls today and found an agent who could get us coverage with Progressive with a much better rate that we have been paying with Poliseek and National Interstate. We have a meeting scheduled with her Friday and will be telling Poliseek and National Interstate so long. If they pull this crap with you, with all of your connections in the RV industry, and your huge reader audience, what are they going to do to poor slobs like us if we ever have a claim? We’re not waitng to find out!

  29. I think PoliSeek really shot themselves in the foot with this one. Obviously all they want to do is sell policies, not stand behind their customers when they have a problem with their insurance carrier. Its ridiculous to have to have this problem in the first place, but for PoliSeek to step away and ignore Nick and Terry when he called them and just switch him back to the guy at National Interstate was a big, big mistake that no doubt will cost them several customers.

    At the social hour at the SKP park in Livingston this was discussed in depth and a lot of folks who have PoliSeek (us included) are now looking into other options. They and National Interstate just lost our business and we’ll be sure to tell whomever we talk to about it.

    The days of big companies acting impersonal and screwing over the little guy are history. With todays blogs and the internet word spreads fast, as it has in this case. And the repercussions will be felt.

  30. We have National Interstate through PoliSeek and had a heck of a journey relocating our domicile from Texas to Florida due to our workamping activities. We had to call a half dozen times to make sure the old policies were canceled and the new ones in force. When we just bought a new 5W, our new policy was mailed to a customer in VA instead of us in FL (and he didn’t get his new policy yet). If we got this type of run-around with normal policy maintenance, what can we expect with an accident claim?

    We tried to get Progressive quotes through Good Sam’s, but Progressive did not like the VIN # of our 2008 Chevy 3500HD Silverado because we have a Layton Equipment flatbed with a Gooseneck hitch. Apparently they consider our VIN# a commercial vehicle even though it is private RV use only and we see thousands of them in use out west on ranches and horse farms. Anyone have any ideas for us to try? We are model drivers with no accidents or tickets and I used to deliver motorhomes with a spotless record for many years and years.

  31. Just to enforce the comments about Progressive – we had 2 claims in one month and they worked with our travel plan to send adjuster to the campground we were, and fix the RV at a different location in our schedule. We did not wait one single day to get the estimate or approval. Highly recommended!

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