sixt charging me exhorbitant amount

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Feb 11, 2019
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#1
I rented a car in Germany as a surprise to my girlfriend! We got a nice car and I got the full 0$ excess insurance! The counter person even said to us that this covers absolutely everything! We were driving in Italy and as we looked on off at the GPS because we were looking for our destination a cat appeared on the road and we swerved to the ride pure on reflex and istinct to avoid the animal and any collision with other cars. We ended up hitting the curb with the wheel which resulted in a puncture. The tow company that towed the car noted only damage to the wheel. However now Sixt is sending me a bill of 17000 euros which I obviously can’t pay for. What can I do now? There was opposite traffic and the car in opposite direction swerved too. And I had a car behind me as well.

* I had full insurance bought from sixt
* I drive loads in the UK and there this is covered by insurance
* They claim i was Gross neglicent.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
Did you tell them you were looking at the
GPS? If you did, that’s why they won’t cover this- that is considered distracted driving and insurance won’t cover. And you were distracted- if you hadn’t been looking at the GPS you might have seen the cat and wouldn’t have had to swerve.

If you admitted that to them I hate to say this but you will need to find an attorney in Germany who can handle this.
 
Feb 11, 2019
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#3
Did you tell them you were looking at the
GPS? If you did, that’s why they won’t cover this- that is considered distracted driving and insurance won’t cover. And you were distracted- if you hadn’t been looking at the GPS you might have seen the cat and wouldn’t have had to swerve.

If you admitted that to them I hate to say this but you will need to find an attorney in Germany who can handle this.
As i mentioned i looked at the GPS in a normal manner how everyone does when he or she drives! It's not like i was constantly was watching the GPS and not paying attention to the road! There was also limited lighting on that road!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,505
15,836
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www.promalvacations.com
#4
The problem is if you mentioned this to them, it is considered distracted driving and insurance automatically will not cover the accident. I wouldn't have mentioned the GPS - I would have I swerved to avoid the cat.

You can try and use our company contacts with Sixt to appeal (they aren't customer friendly) but if they don't budge on the insurance, you'll need to contact an attorney.
 
Sep 12, 2018
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#5
Sixt offers separate tire and glass coverage, which conveniently means that unless you purchased that additional, separate coverage, damage to the tires and glass are on you. My guess is that this is why you’re getting a bill, since you described the damage as being to the wheel and tire. That said, €17,000 is quite a bit for a wheel and tire, so I’m wondering if there was additional damage. Has Sixt sent you an itemized bill? Have they explained why your CDW didn’t cover the damage? I had an incident with Sixt in Germany, and that claim came through email with an opportunity to respond. If you haven’t written them to contest this, I’d start there.
 
Feb 11, 2019
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#6
Hi Nathan,

Thanks for your response! I got a full coverage which include glass, wheels and undercarriage damage. I am a teacher and don't have crazy amounts of money laying around. Apparently They are saying there is side damage and damage on the front bumper however when the car got towed (There is no
replacement wheel) I got a paper which i attached from the towing company that mentioned only damage to the wheel.

I was involved in an accident before where my uncle drove us around in the UK and he swerved to avoid a pet and hit the side of the car on a lamp post it was covered by insurance. I live in Singapore and Sixt never explained anything about what the insurance didn't cover. They told me it is only not covered if you drink, use drugs (Which seems fair to me)

My former partner called sixt and mentioned that there was a puncture on the wheel and asked whether we could just replace the wheel and move on with our holiday. Now they are claiming that she said there was side damage which was not noted by me i never spoke to them except replying their email with what happened.

I am really stressing out with this at the moment as i don't even make 18000 a year hence we purchased a full on insurance.

Looking forward to your reply.

2.jpeg
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#8
The problem is if you mentioned this to them, it is considered distracted driving and insurance automatically will not cover the accident. I wouldn't have mentioned the GPS - I would have I swerved to avoid the cat.

You can try and use our company contacts with Sixt to appeal (they aren't customer friendly) but if they don't budge on the insurance, you'll need to contact an attorney.
I looked at the Sixt LDW terms and it applies unless there is "willful or grossly negligent damage."

Glancing at a GPS may distract the driver and therefore be negligent, but I doubt it would be considered "gross negligence." My understanding is that gross negligence requires a much more extreme/reckless disregard for safety (eg driving under the influence).

JBoy, I suggest you write back to Sixt and state that you swerved to avoid an animal and had full coverage which should cover the damage. Don't provide any more information than that. If Sixt wants to pursue gross negligence, then they need to justify it.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,505
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#9
I looked at the Sixt LDW terms and it applies unless there is "willful or grossly negligent damage."

Glancing at a GPS may distract the driver and therefore be negligent, but I doubt it would be considered "gross negligence." My understanding is that gross negligence requires a much more extreme/reckless disregard for safety (eg driving under the influence).

JBoy, I suggest you write back to Sixt and state that you swerved to avoid an animal and had full coverage which should cover the damage. Don't provide any more information than that. If Sixt wants to pursue gross negligence, then they need to justify it.
I agree the only option is to fight it with Sixt. This is the second time we’ve seen a case like this where the insurance threw out the case as soon as GPS was mentioned. But in the other case it absolutely contributed to the damage to the car. In this one- this might have happened regardless but the point is as soon as you mention GPS the insurance company throws it out.

Appeal the case - you are entitled to do that .
 
Feb 11, 2019
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#10
I had send them this email after they send me the bill!

Dear officer in charge,

I hope this email finds you well.

I am sending you this email in regards to your previous email.
As mentioned in my previous statement, I said that I avoided an animal hence I hit the wheel on the curb.

Let me share with you what is troubling me, I first of all have purchased 0 excess insurance. I purchased the insurance to be 100% covered which your salespeople always have as a recommended. After sharing with you guys what happened you guys have issued me a bill for the repairs. I would also like to inquire about the legal document from the towing company I have in my possession (kindly find the picture attached to this email), now my question is, when the towing company issues me a document that only the wheel of the car is damaged, why are you quoting me all these other things in addition?

I hope this matter can be settled as soon as possible, and that we can close this case.

I am looking forward to your response.

Regards,
Jeroen Kastermans
 
Feb 11, 2019
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#11
after which they replied this!




Dear Mr. Kastermans,

Thank you for your reply.



SX-9055992660 -1-683-85 M -PF 8767
20.10.2018

KASTERMANS JEROEN



(please mention always)





11.02.2019





We don't know why the towing service only marked the tyre.

You informed us about huge damages to the passenger side via phone. (This was not me i never spoke to them on the phone)

The car was towen and calculated from an expert.

The issue here is that the accident occurred because you tried to avoid to hit a cat. Avoiding a small animal and causing an accident due to this fact is considered as grossly negligent by German jurisdiction.

It is determined that a driver violates his due diligence extremely, if he takes the risk of a sudden direction change to avoid a small animal. In this cases a reflex action is no excuse for such a behavior.

Due to comparable cases, where a direct collision with the small animal has taken place, it is known that no damage or only a considerable smaller damage occurs.

According to the legal guidelines of the comprehensive insurance policy the liability reduction cannot be granted if the damage occurred by intention or gross negligence. Moreover we can provide you additional judgements if necessary.





Hopefully we could give you with this explanation more details about our procedure. We have extended payment deadlline until 22nd of February 2019.




Yours sincerely,
 
Sep 20, 2018
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#12
Just thought I'd mention that while the only visible damage may be to the wheel/tire, a sharp impact to the wheel can jar the suspension enough to destroy it, destroy the axle, and do damage to the frame that the suspension bolts to. $17k seems high, but certainly there's a possibility that more than just the wheel/tire needed replacement.

On another note, while I can understand that the accident would considered to be your fault if you swerved to avoid a small animal (unless it's the size of a bull moose; it's always safer to go through the animal instead of trying to go around it), it does seem odd that they consider it "grossly negligent".
 
Sep 12, 2018
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#13
At least they’re communicating with you! I suggest replying and telling them that there has been a miscommunication. Your car had damage to the wheel and tire, and not side damage. Ask for photographs of the damage, along with photographs of the license plate and odometer. Do you have any photographs of the car after the accident? Follow Neil’s advice and use the post about challenging inaccurate damage claims that he linked you to above. Let us know how it goes.
 
Feb 11, 2019
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#14
I don't have any pictures of the car however i received the receipt from the towing company what happened to the car after that or what was done is not in my hands. On top of that the estimate they send me was with pictures however only done 1 month after accident.

Indeed it might have been better to go through it but as an avid animal lover my first instinct was to avoid the animal. Given that in the majority countries in europe it is covered.

This is really giving me loads of stress and is affecting my job as well! there is no way i can pay this amount in one go! plus why would i get a full insurance otherwise if i had crazy amounts of money laying around.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#16
It does not matter what the majority of countries do, it matters what the law is in the country you rented from and your rental agreement. It does not mean I agree with it, but you did when you rented the vehicle. I really think you may need to contact an attorney who is knowledgable about German law and court processes, if our process does not work for you.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#17
after which they replied this!




Dear Mr. Kastermans,

Thank you for your reply.



SX-9055992660 -1-683-85 M -PF 8767
20.10.2018

KASTERMANS JEROEN



(please mention always)





11.02.2019





We don't know why the towing service only marked the tyre.

You informed us about huge damages to the passenger side via phone. (This was not me i never spoke to them on the phone)

The car was towen and calculated from an expert.

The issue here is that the accident occurred because you tried to avoid to hit a cat. Avoiding a small animal and causing an accident due to this fact is considered as grossly negligent by German jurisdiction.

It is determined that a driver violates his due diligence extremely, if he takes the risk of a sudden direction change to avoid a small animal. In this cases a reflex action is no excuse for such a behavior.

Due to comparable cases, where a direct collision with the small animal has taken place, it is known that no damage or only a considerable smaller damage occurs.

According to the legal guidelines of the comprehensive insurance policy the liability reduction cannot be granted if the damage occurred by intention or gross negligence. Moreover we can provide you additional judgements if necessary.





Hopefully we could give you with this explanation more details about our procedure. We have extended payment deadlline until 22nd of February 2019.




Yours sincerely,
The good news is they've now given you their reasoning. Given the amounts involved, it's probably worth consulting with a German attorney to verify if it is correct.

Separately, you should also request their documentation of the damage and "expert" calculations for the 17000 euro repair cost. Seems very high if indeed the damage was only to one wheel.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,505
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
I googled around and happened on this article. Obviously not an official German source, but it does state that German motor insurance does not cover those who swerve to avoid animals. The UK source does mention that that is not the case in the UK. https://www.driving.co.uk/news/news...ack-cat-but-hits-four-cars-in-40000-accident/
In view of this, it seems the OP really needs to contact an attorney. It appears that Sixt is correct- the laws in Germany don’t seem to cover swerving to
avoid an animal.

You would think that buying insurance would leave you covered but apparently you need to know the laws of every country you drive in.
 
Feb 11, 2019
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#19
Just a quick question! The accident happened in Italy does it fall under their Jurisdiction? On top of that as you sign an insurance paper (Yes i read the T&C before i sign it) There was nothing about it about my case in there so i assumed same rules as the UK and basically all of europe applied. On top of that the salesperson at the counter said it doesn't matter what happens even if you bring the car back totalled you are covered except if you were drunk or high or so.

It seems like a very gray area!
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#20
Which is why you need an attorney, especially since they are claiming an amount this high. Anything any of us said would just be an opinion and (unless someone has specific knowledge) not a useful one. It will be well worth the money for an attorney to handle this rather than you do the research and spend the time on your own. Good luck.
 
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