International Student Paid After Car Totaled In DUI Accident - NBC 7 San Diego

International Student Paid After Car Totaled In DUI Accident

An international student’s car is finally being repaired after it was hit by a convicted drunk driver.

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    NBC 7's Consumer Bob responds to an international student's appeal for help after a drunk driver damaged her vehicle and his insurance delayed payment. (Published Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017)

    An international student’s car is finally being repaired after it was hit by a convicted drunk driver earlier this year. 

    “I parked there, street parking,” Yihua Kong said. 

    Yihua moved here from China to attend school. In June, she said her car was parked overnight in Oceanside when she heard a loud noise. The driver, who admitted to Oceanside Police he had been drinking and later pleaded guilty to DUI charges, had smashed into two parked cars. 

    Afterward, Yihua said she could not get the driver’s insurance company, Progressive to pay for the damage. 

    “I need to go to class, I’m working,” Yihua said, “I’m running because sometimes I take the Uber, I’m so sad to do this.” 

    Yihua said Progressive kept telling her it would take time to get her money, so she contacted NBC 7 Responds for help. 

    To see our first story on Yihua’s case, click here.  

    Nancy Kincaid, a spokesperson for the California Department of Insurance, said the agency looked into Yihua’s case. In a letter to Yihua from the agency, a spokesperson said: “state law does not provide the Department with the authority to decide how quickly or how much should be paid on a claim.” 

    “The key is knowing what are your rights and being able to stand up for yourself,” Nancy said, “[Yihua’s case] took a bit long but everything we looked into on this was according to the law.” 

    “Every day, when I would go to school, I would check this mailbox and say maybe I have letters from Progressive,” Yihua said. 

    In a letter from Progressive, the company reminded Yihua she only had liability coverage, not comprehensive. Insurance experts said that could have led to the long wait. If Yihua had comprehensive, her insurance company would have most likely paid her immediately. With liability, Yihua had to wait for Progressive to complete the process. 

    Four months after the accident, a check arrived in Yihua’s mailbox, helping the young student pay for another car. 

    In an email, Ron Davis, a spokesperson for Progressive, told NBC 7 Responds, “We communicated to Ms. Kong that the cause of the delay was because we were waiting on another carrier to complete the total loss process. Once the final value of the salvaged vehicle was identified, Progressive quickly issued payment to Ms. Kong and was able to resolve the claim.” 

    A spokesperson for Farmers Insurance, the other carrier in this case, told NBC 7 Responds they paid the other vehicle’s claim within a few weeks after the accident and any delay was not caused by them.