Utah Man Says State Insurer (the State) Shortchanged Him

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
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Matt Gephardt and KUTV in Salt Lake City have a good story about a Utah man who was hit by a state vehicle and its insurance company — which is the state itself — shortchanged him on his 1985 Mercedes-Benz SL Convertible.

The car was totaled, and the state offered to pay $8,000 for the car. Tyler Winger, who said he restored the car with his grandfather, said the car was worth $12,000 to $13,000. ( He’s not completely wrong.)

Winger said the state told him that they wouldn’t budge and that he couldn’t complain to the state’s insurance oversight board since that board doesn’t have oversight over the state’s self-insurance company.

According to the report, the state’s insurer told Winger his only recourse would be to sue the state, which could cost thousands more in legal fees.

Winger opted to go through his own insurer, which gave him $11,000 for the damage and allowed him to keep the title for the car — something the state insurer wouldn’t let him do. He said he and his grandfather plan to restore the car again.

Aaron Cole
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4 of 37 comments
  • Mchan1 Mchan1 on Aug 27, 2015

    "Tyler Winger, who said he restored the car with his grandfather, said the car was worth $12,000 to $13,000." Whatever one "thinks" something is "worth" is all subjective. It depends on whether or not the buyer "agrees" to that price upon a sale. That amount is basically meaningless and just shows the owner's greed. Take the insurance money and title of the car and move on!

  • Mopar4wd Mopar4wd on Aug 27, 2015

    I'm curious if his insurance will pursue the state. Subro can get ugly. When I worked in insurance one of our vice presidents got annoyed when another insurance company kept kicking out his divisions subro requests so he had legal sue them on one of the cases. The legal costs ended up at many multiples of the claim and he was pulled aside and told not to let his emotions get the better of him and moved back to a position over seeing a first party claim unit.

  • Jacob_coulter Jacob_coulter on Aug 28, 2015

    The classic car market and how insurance companies and other bodies recognize value is just always going to be an issue vs a conventional, modern cars. My state charges registration fees according to the car's value with a depreciation calculation. So tags on say a $100,000 1965 Shelby Mustang could be like $18 but a $12,000 Hyundai is $100. My advice is if you have a classic car that's worth a lot more than most, you should have some sort of supplemental coverage with a company that specializes in this so you don't get burned. This is usually pretty affordable. I don't like to see a state crush the little guy with their legal department, but the flip side as an example, I had a relative just serve on a jury trial because some crazy woman tried to sue the city for a jaw dropping amount of money because she slipped on a sidewalk. The entire jury saw it was scam and she lost, I can understand why it would be a bad idea for taxpayers if they just handed out huge checks for every grievance. Sorting through when someone is really owed something and when they're not is not always a black and white issue so there has to me some sort of formula that needs to be followed.

  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Aug 29, 2015

    This is why you need classic car insurance on a classic car. A Mercedes SL can be a $3000 beater, or it can be a $50K show car. A regular insurance company is going to try to give you the beater price every single time. This guy did exactly the correct thing - he didn't like the valuation the other company gave him, so he went through his own insurance company (and it was likely an agreed value policy). They will then pursue the at-fault party for the money. That is part of what you pay your insurance company all that money every year for. The downside is that claims can potentially count against you, and you are probably out your deductible unless your insurance company collects ALL of the money they paid out. The real interesting issue here is that the state has exempted it's self-insurance operation from oversight by the insurance board. That is some Grade A BS right there! They should have to play by their own rules, what is good for the goose is good for the gander and all that.