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MDhuntsvilleAL
Contributor

My wife has been a USAA member for 30+ years. She's never had a ticket or accident in her life until now and we've never filed an auto claim until now. On 19 June, another USAA member broadsided my wife's car and our vehicle was totaled. We would really like to thank our adjuster. If we could name her here, we would. She made that phase of our experience as pleasant as it could possibly be.

 

However, dealing with the total loss department has been and continues to be a very different experience.

 

We had a 2012 Genesis 3.8 Liter. There are two packages available for this vehicle: Technology ($4000) and Premium ($4800). So basically there are only 3 different option configurations, base model, one package, or both packages. Our vehicle was loaded with both packages.

 

USAA/CCC offered 11 'comparable' vehicles. Instead of locating vehicles with both packages for accurate comparison, they provided 8 base model and 3 one package vehicles. The net result was that they offered us $15,451 for a vehicle that listed for $44, 250 MSRP, 4.5 years ago. I pointed out that the base model was radically different and couldn't be compared by simply trying to add the value of features. In fact, many of the features weren't even referenced in their nifty checklist comparison. I suggested that they locate vehicles with both packages so we could have a very simple, straightforward comparison of identical vehicles.

 

USAA instead suggested that _I_ find the fully-loaded, two package vehicles. And they provided instructions requiring VIN, dealership, etc.  When I found 3 and reported the values to them, of course they were much more expensive because they were identical to our loaded car. USAA ignored my information and instead offered 6 more base model vehicles for comparison. So, by that time they had provided 14 base model comparisons, and 3 single package comparisons. The obvious question, why not use vehicles that have both packages? Can it be any simpler than that?

 

USAA declared that the 3 comparisons we provided (configured identically to ours) were 'outliers', meaning they were on the expensive end of the comparison scale, and therefore wouldn't be considered. My simple reply was that they are more expensive because they have both option packages, identical to ours. Is there any way to make that more easily understood?  And acted upon?

 

We now see that it's easy to be happy with an insurance company when you've never filed an auto claim in 30+ years. Simply pay premiums and feel good when watching USAA commercials. But it appears that this one experience will truly define how we feel about USAA going forward. Here we are 36 days after the accident. And the Total Loss team refuses to see the obvious.

 

There was one other 'interesting' feature with the comparisons provided by USAA/CCC. All 17 comparsion vehicles that they offered include a $962 'Condition Adjustment'. When I asked why they routinely add this large offset, the USAA rep didn't know so he conferenced me in with a CCC customer services rep to get an answer. CCC said that they've found that "on average, dealers improved the value of their used vehicles by $962 before sale". What?!? The tables certainly seems to be tilted away from USAA customers when it comes total losses. Another example, when I pointed out that we had just put $1000 worth of tires on our car 45 days prior, guess what USAA did? They credited us with an additional $99 in value (to reach the $15,451 figure). Wow. That's value.

 

Clearly, USAA has no intention of making us whole on this. In one of our discussions they actually tried to distinguish between the value they would pay for our loss vehicle and the cost to purchase an _identical_ vehicle. They said we would lose money in that experience. Even though the other driver was judged 100% at fault.

 

Is there anyone else we can turn to at USAA that is capable and willing to employ common sense reasoning?

34 REPLIES

MDhuntsvilleAL, I am sorry to hear about your wife's accident and I do hope that she is well. I can understand your concerns about the total loss calculations, so I have escalated your concerns to a specialist that will review your file and follow up with you. Thank you. ~James

Yep, had a very similar experience with USAA on the total loss we experienced. Seems the total loss folks use a proprietary database to get the value on our 2013 Mercedes CLS - and their value was $4,000 to $8,000 less than the retail prices we found on Kelly BB, Edmunds and Autotrader.  Just what was I paying for on the insured value - a 3-wheeled car or what I thought was a fair replacement value?  A rep from the CEO's office called and advised me to read the fine print on my policy. The claims they make on protecting military members on their TV ads is BS.  After 45+ years with USAA I've gone to another company that promises to be much fairer.

Wow! I am not one to really be active on forums, but wanted to read other stories and see if anything was ever resolved from them. I agree with the Op who states that everything is good until something goes wrong. For the other contributor, can you provide a copy or link of the small print on the policy that says something different? 

 

Also, have you checked your CCC one comps and ensured that the cars the compared you with actually have the options they say. I did this with my CCC one report and found multiple discrepancies on the comp vehicles. Lastly, there is an arbitration clause in most states that the insurance company must abide by. If you do not agree with the valaution, you can go to arbitration and possibly also file a grievance with your state insurance control board. 

Update...USAA is still trying to force the total loss claim on me even after I provided 3 different paint repaint options with the highest estimate being a total repaint of my car with 3 layers of clear coat and Ford factory paint. My estimate for the total repaint is $1700 LESS than USAA's appraisal from SCA but USAA won't accept it. I asked why and USAA won't respond in writing. They instead want another USAA appraiser to re-inspect my vehicle to verify their paint damaged assessment and asked me to give my estimates to their appraiser to see if he can use them or explain to me why USAA can't accept them based on "repair policies for the state I live in". This when the applicable state regulation states you do not factor the cost of paint of labor associated with the cost of painting a vehicle as damage to consider the car a total loss or salvage. I sent this information to USAA and asked them to drop the total loss assessment based on these facts and USAA will not acknowledge me. Instead, they are insisting on pressing the total loss over paint chips. USAA is not advocating for me as their customer and seem intent on totaling my car even when the facts clearly show it isn't warranted. Buyer and USAA insured beware. Seems like bad faith action by USAA to me. I'm still extremely dissatisfied with USAA and how they're handling my claim especially when they respond and say they'll 'elevate your claim and follow up'' but only continue to give you the run around. I also had to contest USAA's valuation of my vehicle as it was too low and did not capture the custom features on my car.

Things have really gone off the rails now.  After posting the original message in this thread I received a call from USAA customer service several days later.  After reading this thread and listening to me, she agreed that it was inappropriate to compare base model vehicles to our fully loaded loss vehicle. She said they would remove all the comparables and fetch comparisons that were fully loaded (i.e. had both the Technology and Premium packages). (Finally, she said she would call me back no later than the following day (28 July), but I never heard from her again).

 

USAA/CCC did remove all 17 'comparable' vehicles. And then they added just 2. Both 'vehicles' had all the checkmarks indicating that they had every availble option.

 

Well, since the prices for these 2 vehicles were $5-8K less than the 3 comparables that I provided previously,  I decided to call the 2 dealers and ask about these identically equipped vehicles. Both 'listings' were claimed to have been obtained on 27 July (today is 3 August).

 

The first dealer said they don't have the car and they couldn't find any record of having the car without a VIN number.  Interesting that the USAA/CCC comparison didn't include VIN numbers in this comparison. (They had in past comparisons. And they had insisted that I provide VIN #s with my comparisons).

 

I called the second dealer and spoke with the owner. (It's a small car lot with ~ 12 vehicles for sale).  He told me that he has never had our make and model on his lot and has never sold one, ever!  When I told him I was following up on an insurance valuation comparison provided by CCC Information Services, he said that that company had called him just a few days ago. CCC asked him what would be the value of this vehicle and he said, "probably book value, I guess".  So CCC took that information and turned it into a comparison!  Wait, what!?

 

I now see why there were no VIN #s listed. These comparison cars don't exist!

 

And of course USAA/CCC didn't accept the 3 comparisons I provided because they declared them as 'outliers'. Outliers from what?!  I provided them with all the details requested, including VIN #s and dealer contact information.

 

Perhaps CCC's behavior here is not illegal. But it certainly seems to be unethical. In 2005, CCC and its insurance customers settled a lawsuit for lowballing total loss valuations. They paid $8 million for that (http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/midwest/2005/07/15/57309.htm).  Their tactics may have changed but it seems their ethics have not.

 

I provided 3 identically equipped vehicle comparsions (prices: $19,995, $22,995, and $19,599) and they were summarily ignored as 'outliers'.  USAA/CCC offered  2 nonexistent vehicles for comparison ($14,500 and $15,000). Their current offer to us is $15,300 + $614tax = $15,964.

 

Can someone at USAA, that is not associated with the Total Loss group, please step up and explain why the 3 comparisons I provided are ignored as 'outliers', when they apparently have no other comparables themselves? This is day 45.

 

 

MDhuntsvilleAL, I am sorry that you are still having concerns regarding the CCC valuation we can escalate this situation once again. I will escalate this to the claims service manager to review and follow up with you. Thank you. ~James

Perhaps the claims service manager is on vacation. I've heard nothing in 6 days.

 

This was an interesting find in the 7/27 Market Valuation Report that we received.

 

VALUATION NOTES

07/27/2017 15:54 - INSURER DIRECTED CCC ON THE CRITERIA AND/OR VEHICLES

TO USE AS COMPARABLE VEHICLES FOR THIS VALUATION. THE VALUATION

DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT CCC’S OPINION AS TO THE MARKET VALUE

OF THE LOSS VEHICLE.

 

Funny, they didn't explicitly state that they called dealers and asked for dealer opinions for the 'comparison'. It's especially funny since one of the two dealers, with only 12 cars on his website, has never had our make & model on his lot. I mean, what would have prompted them to even call that dealer?

 

USAA/CCC removed all the non-comparable base models and instead now offer 2 non-existent vehicles as 'comparisons'.  They've still ignored the actual vehicle comparisons that we provided that were _identically equipped_ to our loss vehicle. Just amazing. When there are 3 identical comparison vehicles, what more is needed? Certainly USAA/CCC hasn't provided any that are identically equipped. ... And we even used CCCs favorite lookup tool, autotrader.com, to locate them.

 

Mark

This might be interesting for others that suffer the USAA total loss experience. Here's the sequence that has occurred:

 

- USAA / CCC has provided 11 'comparable vehicles' none of which is actually comparable because the cars are mostly base model vehicles. (Our car model comes with 0 (base model), 1 package, or both Technology and Premium packages).

- We complained that none of the 'comparables' had both packages (valued at $8800 MSRP).

- USAA suggested that _we_ provide comparables including VIN#, dealer contact info, and mileage.

- We complied, providing the information for 3 identically equipped vehicles.

- USAA / CCC dismissed the 3 vehicles as 'outliers', meaning they were to expensive.

- USAA then provided 6 more base model 'comparables'. It's not clear what message that was meant to send.

- We again pointed out that 14 of 17 USAA / CCC-provided comparables were base models. (3 had one package).

- USAA removed all 17 comparables and replaced them with 2 'ghost vehicles'.

- We called both dealers to find that they were simply asked, what might the value of our vehicle be. One of the dealers said simply, "book value, I guess". That was enough for CCC.

- USAA now says that it is quite extraordinary for them to take that final step of asking dealers to assign a value to a vehicle they haven't even seen.

- USAA says they are finished with this.

 

Be aware that similar total loss scenarios play out over and over again. Both CCC and USAA have well-worn scripts. The stories are repeated in this forum and all over the internet.

 

USAA is your adversary when it comes to total loss claims. And CCC is simply their weaponized tool to lowball their own customers. They offer the impression that this arms-length business arrangement results in a fair, certainly unquestionable, outcome for USAA insurance customers. Ha.

Overall I have had a good experience with USAA over  last 24 yrs – but I have until last year never  had a total loss or even a pay out against me (my teenager fixed that last year) .  My interest in this topic came after a very odd (at least it seemed odd to me at the time) with a USAA policy agent who would not say whether USAA determined ACV by retail or trade in value.  I was floored at the refusal that she was not “licensed “ to answer that.  After doing research and reading multiple posts here as well as Robert Bunes post on the USAA and total vehicle loss (easy search) I now get why she would duck what seems like a an obvious question for an auto insurance company.   It seemed obvious to me because you are either buying insurance for tradein value or retail but after reading multiple posts it seems the whole game is around the term ACV and after reading your post.  Which I greatly appreciate as this is the only way you find out how USAA  pays out without having a claim first when it’s too late to be informed – GOD I LOVE THE INTERNET. 

I have a feeling all the auto insurance companies probably pedal a nice safe sounding term like ACV while selling you a policy by a very nice pleasant lady who can’t explain what that crucial term actually means in real life if you press her for it like I did.  I think they like that term rather than the reality you are experiencing which is some value that USAA and their contractor CCCI determines later through some apples to oranges means whether you agree with it or not.  That doesn’t sell policies or make a good commercial where some enlisted troop is taking USAA to arbitration over $4K before he deploys to Afghanistan for the 3rd time …

 

Yours seems to me be a pretty cut and dry case of faulty comparison methodology for ACV and if you have the time and energy, I would suggest you file a complaint and arbitrate if you really want the difference - I suspect USAA is counting on the fact you probably dont have time to do that.