Edmunds Answers

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  • avatar lokki 06/05/09 11:15 am PST

    I think your problem is more of an insurance problem than a car problem. If the fumes in the interior are indeed "toxic, according to ServPro, get them to write a letter so stating. Take that letter to YOUR insurance agent, and let them fight the battle with the Pontiac owner's insurance company to do something about it. If ServPro isn't willing to write you a letter, then I'd begin to suspect that the representative who made that comment was talking and hoping to sell something more than stating fact. That kind of thing happens now and then....

    I would be worried about a reduction in value of your vehicle or problems when you go to return the leased vehicle.... If you own a car and it's damaged sometimes you can get money from an insurance company for "reduced value". Perhaps someone in the insurance forums here at Edmunds can tell you more about how to proceed on that front, but you should be able to argue for some protection against a cash outlay on your part at lease turn-in time.

    Finally, if it just turns out to be residual odors rather than toxic fumes, there are ozone generator systems that car dealers and detailers use to get rid of smoke and pet odors in cars... they're supposed to be very good at removing smoke odors. You may be able to insist that your insurance company make the other insurance company pay for that kind of service.


Answers

  • tony78 06/04/09 10:09 am PST

    Your car catching fire because the car next to yours that failed to respond to the recall.

    In order for the above statment to be held valid, there would have to be documented occurances of where the recall created the danger of spontaneous combustion.


    If the recall and or the validity of of a possible fire could result from failing to respond to a recalls adverse conditions then it would be warrantied that the basis for the recalls notice could be held as fact.

    Had there been other instances where cars that did not abide by the terms of said recall suffer the same fate or was the resulting fire an isolated instance ?

    As to your insurance repairing the car, it appears from your letter that the vehicles interior suffered damage from the encroachment of the fire.

    You will need to examine your insurance policy for a vehicle repair / customer acceptance clause.

    Also you should check for a buyout clause.

    I am not sure how you determined that the leather interior has toxic fumes,,does it smell different ?

    You should not accept a repaired vehicle until the repairs are done to your satisfaction.

    If the insurance company tries to feed you some kind of baloney like,,"thats the best that can be done " or " thats all we will do " ,,then at that point you should seek legal counsel.

  • MrShift@Edmunds 06/04/09 10:27 am PST

    If the recall "fix" is done to your car (an in-line fuse for the heated windshield wiper fluid) and if the work is done properly, I don't see what you have to worry about. Being a lease car, you're going to kiss it goodbye in another year anyway. The fire damage couldn't have been too bad if it only came to $13,000. I do understand your worry about unseen damage but you can't reject a car on that basis. If you are not satisfied with how the car looks, drives or smells, THEN refuse it and start a fight. But I don't think the insurance company is going to buy an argument based on what "might" happen.

    I think the real loser here will be the leasing company, because this car will have a "taint" to it come resale time.


  • citylovin55 06/05/09 10:44 am PST

    Thanks to those reponding. The Pontiac that caused the fire was the other party involved and his recall stated not to park the vehicle in a parking garage or structure until the repairs are done. Sadly he parked next to my Hummer which was loaded; nav,leather,heated seats, basically everything but the "sport off-road package". I was told by Servpro that even if the leather is cleaned, the toxic fumes will remain in the vent system; i.e. air conditioning, heating, fan, unless the vent system is replaced and engine removed (which was burned inpart by fire and the fire department!).
    The wheels were completely melted to the concrete of the garage and had to be scraped up in able to tow. Because the Hummer is leased from GMAC, they need to investigate the incident. I do not want to be caught with unforeseen costs when the lease is up (10 mo.)
    Any further advise would be very much appreciated!!!

  • lokki 06/05/09 11:15 am PST

    I think your problem is more of an insurance problem than a car problem. If the fumes in the interior are indeed "toxic, according to ServPro, get them to write a letter so stating. Take that letter to YOUR insurance agent, and let them fight the battle with the Pontiac owner's insurance company to do something about it. If ServPro isn't willing to write you a letter, then I'd begin to suspect that the representative who made that comment was talking and hoping to sell something more than stating fact. That kind of thing happens now and then....

    I would be worried about a reduction in value of your vehicle or problems when you go to return the leased vehicle.... If you own a car and it's damaged sometimes you can get money from an insurance company for "reduced value". Perhaps someone in the insurance forums here at Edmunds can tell you more about how to proceed on that front, but you should be able to argue for some protection against a cash outlay on your part at lease turn-in time.

    Finally, if it just turns out to be residual odors rather than toxic fumes, there are ozone generator systems that car dealers and detailers use to get rid of smoke and pet odors in cars... they're supposed to be very good at removing smoke odors. You may be able to insist that your insurance company make the other insurance company pay for that kind of service.


  • MrShift@Edmunds 06/05/09 12:17 pm PST

    It's not him who will suffer the diminution in value due to a record of a car fire, but the leasing company. His payments are based on a locked-in residual, so in this case he's more fortunate as leasee than an actual owner of a vehicle.

    Like everyone else has said, the owner doesn't have to accept the vehicle if they are unhappy with the repairs. It's too bad the car wasn't totalled but it's the legal right of the insurance company to make that decision--and I haven't seen the damage, so I can't say if that was the right decision or not.

    Maybe you could reach a compromise by getting out of your lease early. The leasing company or your insurance company is just going to sue the other party's insurance company for their losses anyway. (subrogation)

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