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Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

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Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

Old 11-29-2008, 12:33 AM
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Default Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

Ok this Q is for you guys in the Auto and Insurance Industries. I was on my way home with the Family from Thanksgiving and we were going over what is called the Cascade Loop Mountain Pass. This a is Mt Pass that is only open 8 months a year and the rest of the time you have to use Stevens Pass and take the long way to your destination. I drive over our Main Mt Pass I-90 twice a month and have never had this happen. I drive a 2007 GX 470 Lexus with winter snow tires I just put back on now that winter is here. After just getting out of the snow pack on the highway I was in rain/snow/fog mix with 36 degrees showing for the temp outside. 2 lane road with poor visiblity and lots of tight corners. Well I round a corner and see what I think is 3-4 snow clumps that have fallen onto the road from the ledge to my side. Not wanting to swurve I drive right over the one in my lane dead center. BAM BAM BAM. We go flying up out of our seats and I quickly realize this was a frick'n boulder. Once I see that everyone is OK I keep driving as the car feels fine and am looking at the gauges. All checks out and there is no pull over area so I just start hoping that I have the toughest skid plates possible. I start talking to my wife when I see another boulder on the shoulder that is the size of a car tire. I am like what the F***. She having used this pass for years to visit her parents explains to me that the pass closes not because of the snow but the heavy rocks that fall off the Mt. Good to know now that I have jumped one. Looking back there is nothing different I could have done being just 10 min out of 28 degree snowy conditions it was safe to assume that ice was still a factor. Swurving into Mt or at the guard rail woud have been fatal. On the way over the pass 2 nights prior I saw 2 trucks in the ditch from Ice so heavy braking or sharp turns was not on the agenda for the ride home. Neither was rock jumping.

So 35 miles later when I can finally pull over in Newhalem and asess the damage I find I have a tweaked running board that has also done some minor damage to my lower door trim. Nothing under the car that is alarming so I continue on. Now I am thinking maybe just pay cash and have my buddy at the body shop just fix it or being a Lexus I may have a claim. Not sure. Now that I finally have cell service I call DOT and let them know of the debris in the road as a car would have had real problems. I was lucky I was able to go over and not right into it. Taking that on the tire also could have been interesting. A lot of things could have happened and none of them good.

So a 100 miles later I get home and am unloading the car when I decide to lay on my back and look at the skid plates. No sooner do I see oil start to gush out from the bottom of my engine and through the skid plate. I mean a big puddle. There is no way this was happening for the last 100 miles. A light would have surely come on. So I paper towel the floor and lay a tub underneath to catch any further oil that drips down. I check the oil in the engine and it barely registers. Go figure. It waits until I get home to puke. Maybe the oil pressure had something to do with it? I never turned the engine off prior to getting home and that may have something to do with it. So now I have a insurance claim for sure. I looked at the skid plates and they took a good wack and the running board has pretty minor damage that is only on the underside and with some trim it will be an easy fix for the body shop. No other signs of damge at all. The real concern is the engine leaking oil everywhere and now I have to have it towed on a flat bed as it can not be operated.

So my Q is what is my next course of action. Contact my Insurance company (Hartford) or the Lexus dealer first. Anything I need to be careful about saying? I don't want to say something that may alter how this incident is viewed. I know there are some insurance guys on the forum so I hope you can give me some good advice.



Thanks,

Old 11-29-2008, 01:43 AM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

I'd be inclined to say the first thing you should do is call your insurance company and have them come out and look at the damage and then have them tell you what you should do next. If they won't come out to look at the damage then where should you flatbed the vehicle to........making a point that the towing service bill should be part of your claim.

"only open 8 months a year", what 8 months? Where you driving on a roadway that was technically closed for the season? When the roadway is closed is there signage that says drive at your own risk or something to that effect or is the road completely blocked off to all traffic?
Old 11-29-2008, 03:34 AM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

This is important... the rocks were in the process of sliding/falling onto the road when you hit them. They were not stationary in the road. Your timing could not have been worse...
Old 11-29-2008, 04:03 AM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

skibum - 11/29/2008 6:34 AM

This is important... the rocks were in the process of sliding/falling onto the road when you hit them. They were not stationary in the road. Your timing could not have been worse...
I think if you are going after the State - Skibum is right - hope you catch his drift -pun intended. But, anyway many States and cities do have a fund to pay for repairs caused by disrepair and crap in the road....regardless what those limited liability signs say

I doubt that it matters to your insurance company. ;?

Its gonna be easier dealing with the insurance than the Claims Commissioners
Old 11-29-2008, 04:38 AM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

PSW ~ I have to say that God had his angels truly watching over you and your family!! I don't know what to tell you about how you should go about your claim situation, but I DO know that you have a LOT to be thankful for! YIKES~!!! I'm just glad that you and yours are home safe and sound! Scary story!!
Old 11-29-2008, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

As already mentioned by others, contact your insurance asap. Some policies say you must contact them within 24hrs. Let the insurance company do what you paid them to do, fix your car and collect money from the state if appropriate. There is nothing else you need do.

Also, I'd tell the insurance company what happened EXACTLY as it happened. There is nothing going on in your life that you need to be dishonest about this. Truth, and only truth. If you get stuck with the repair bill, then you get stuck with the repair bill. If the insurance covers the cost or some of the cost, so be it. But, in all things, be honest.

Old 11-29-2008, 04:47 AM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

I am not talking about going after the state, just that obstacles that are stationary in the road are treated differently than those moving (you are supposed to be able to miss stationary ones...?). At least that is what I have heard, and I live in the mountains, and drive Berthoud Pass at least once a week...

But Eyeball is right - honesty is the way to go...
Old 11-29-2008, 07:55 AM
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Default RE: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's


The pass is closed during the winter and they use big gates to shut it down. After calling the DOT last night I would venture to say if I check on Monday it will be closed. The rocks was stationary and was right in the middle of the road. There was other debris in the road that would have made missing the rock very difficult. I am not second guessing my driving decision at all as any other choice could have had much better results or more than likely much worse.

I will call the Hartford this am and hopefully get the green light to send the car to Lexus today also. I don't mind paying my $500 dollar deductible as I have not had a claim for sometime. I just was hoping to avoid the addtl costs if possible.

Old 11-29-2008, 08:59 AM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

File a claim with your insurance. Tell'em what happened. The absolute truth!

If you have full caverage----

Pay your deductable and get your car fixed.

Then like Jane said, thank your lucky stars them rocks didn't do worse.

Being a flatlander, I got to ask is the state liable for a rock that could have hit the roadway only momments earlier? At night, on a holiday, seems unlikely that a highway maint. crew could/would have had a chance to even see it. I guess the state would draw some liability if the rock had fell on say Monday, it's location reported, and then was ignored by highway maint. Everytime I have ever driven in the mountains (seldom and few) I see the signs that say "Watch for Falling Rocks." I take that to mean the ones sittin in the road too, and you have been warned.
Old 11-29-2008, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

LI Sound Grunt - 11/29/2008 7:03 AM

skibum - 11/29/2008 6:34 AM

This is important... the rocks were in the process of sliding/falling onto the road when you hit them. They were not stationary in the road. Your timing could not have been worse...
I think if you are going after the State - Skibum is right - hope you catch his drift -pun intended. But, anyway many States and cities do have a fund to pay for repairs caused by disrepair and crap in the road....regardless what those limited liability signs say

I doubt that it matters to your insurance company. ;?

Its gonna be easier dealing with the insurance than the Claims Commissioners
Why should the taxpayers pay for his mistake?
Old 11-29-2008, 11:04 AM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

Why take a simple, non chargeable accident and turn it into insurance fraud or fraud against the state?

All it takes is for one other poor soul to have hit the same rocks before you and to have reported them.

Pretty dire consequences are available.
Old 11-29-2008, 01:33 PM
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Default RE: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's


Not sure how this thread or many on THT take a right hand turn mid way through and turn into something much different. I was simply asking whom to contact first. I already have a Hartford claim number and rather than waiting 2 days for the adjuster to come out I have already had the car towed to Lexus on a flatbed. Went to the dealership to sign for it and they are accessing the damages and will have the adjuster OK things prior to beginning repairs.

I passed a machine clearing the road about 45 minutes prior to hitting the rock. The objects had not been on the road long or another car would have suffered much worse damage. I also saw the large rocks that had already been cleared to the side of the road previously. How many seconds the rocks were on the roadway prior to me hitting them is not my concern. The insurance company can figure that out. I will read my policy and am not too concerned. I have never had a collision on my record so it is not something I am worried about. Sure I think it should be comprehensive but that is for Hartford to decide.

I only posted because I know that a couple Insurance guys frequent the board and was wanting some advice prior to making my phone calls. I am sure my agent and Hartford will be calling on Monday or Tuesday. They can check the 911 call I made to report the fallen objects if they wish.

A few people have stressed telling the truth??? What else would I do? Do you think on Thanksgiving weekend I was rock climbing with the wife and 2 toddlers? I was driving home and the pass was ugly. I hit a rock that appeared to be 3-4 scattered clumps of snow that came off the Mt. My bad. Not much to twist about that. ;?
Old 11-29-2008, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

Could suction have kept the oil from leaking?
Old 11-29-2008, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

skibum - 11/29/2008 4:47 AM

I am not talking about going after the state, just that obstacles that are stationary in the road are treated differently than those moving
Moving objects would be under comprehensive coverage and stationary objects would be collision. Usually comp has a lower deductible and there aren't any insurance points for a comp loss like there are for a collision loss. Some companies even have first accident forgiveness for a collision loss. Not sure about Hartford though.

Old 11-29-2008, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

Seacat FL - 11/29/2008 1:30 PM

LI Sound Grunt - 11/29/2008 7:03 AM

skibum - 11/29/2008 6:34 AM

This is important... the rocks were in the process of sliding/falling onto the road when you hit them. They were not stationary in the road. Your timing could not have been worse...
I think if you are going after the State - Skibum is right - hope you catch his drift -pun intended. But, anyway many States and cities do have a fund to pay for repairs caused by disrepair and crap in the road....regardless what those limited liability signs say

I doubt that it matters to your insurance company. ;?

Its gonna be easier dealing with the insurance than the Claims Commissioners
Why should the taxpayers pay for his mistake?
Taxpayers should not pay for his "mistake". Traffic conditions, speed limits and sight lines would probably be taken into consideration. Normally an encounter with an object in front of you means that you are driving too fast for conditions - but not always. In CT they might pay in (via the Claims Commissioner via petition process (20 dollar filing fee I think) (or if the responsible agency says they screwed up in which case the filing fee is waived) if damage is caused by an unavoidable collision with something that doesn't belong in the road - for example crap that fell off a truck . This is avaialble as a last resort action only done after insurance coverage is denied. Sometimes large rocks are spread on the winter roads along with the sanding/salting for snowstorms and if they kick up from the car in front and break a windshield I have seen the State pay - it is not a requirement to have glass insurance coverage in CT.



Old 11-29-2008, 05:28 PM
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Default RE: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

Jesus people I am not going after the frick'n state. And it was not a mistake. The Mountain closes in the winter from poor conditions and falling debris. I was unfortunate to run over some fallen debris. The pass was open and no inclimate weather had been reported prior to my depature. I am pretty sure it will close soon from how things looked. End of story. Go worry about how fast a quad fountain will go.
Old 11-29-2008, 11:24 PM
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Default RE: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

Nothing in your post and/or replies indicated that you ever planned to do anything but state the facts exactly as they happened.

In re-reading my response, I see that it could have been misunderstood from your perspective. That was not my intent and I never felt you were going to do anything but follow the rules. If I have offended you, please accept my apologies.
Old 11-30-2008, 12:28 AM
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Default RE: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

No worries Kerno. Just seemed like there were a few responses that were speaking of telling the truth which gave me the impression that some may think that I was fudging the truth. There is really nothing here to wonder about. This road is known for slides and I was just unfortunate in that I drove into one that had just occurred. No hard feelings. I always appreciate your posts and you bring a wealth of knowledge to this site.



Old 11-30-2008, 05:01 PM
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Default RE: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

PSW - 11/30/2008 5:33 AM

A few people have stressed telling the truth??? What else would I do?

There was never any consideration that you would communicate anything other than the truth to your insurance. The comment was made in response to a couple other posters that were suggesting the benefits of being less than honest with an insurance company. It wasn't intended to be about you, personally.

So, how was the rock climbing with the family?



Old 11-30-2008, 07:56 PM
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Default RE: Hit a Boulder on Mt Pass...Have Q's

Thanks Eyeball. Looking back I am not too surprised that there was a slide and rocks came onto the road. The pass closes for 4-5 months per year. The writing was on the wall. Just poor timing and bad luck. I am trying not to second guess things and am just lucky we are all safe.

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