(details intentionally vague for privacy reasons) My company audits auto insurance claims for multiple insurance companies. We had a claim where the insured’s classic car was rear-ended. It had damage to the bumper, trunk-lid and trunk lid chrome & handle. The claim had a truly staggering number of labor hours on it, at three times the area rate, and $1800 of paint to repaint the trunk lid, along with thousands of dollars to replace/replate the chrome pieces.

The co-worker handling it called the shop multiple times trying to get info on the car, and an explanation for the paint.

The car was from the ‘40s and despite being from a major GM branch, the insured claimed it was a model that doesn’t exist, and that is was so rare they made 1000 of them and only 2 remain in existence. The shop claimed it had a pearlcoat paint job, with a faux-patina paint job laid down over that, thus needing $600/quart for the primer, color & clear.

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As the resident classic car guy, I did some googling. Turns out the name he was using for the car was a mis-spelling of the name of the engine, and the car was (from his description) one of two fastback models made by that company that year. Another phone call to the insured and he insisted the incorrect engine name was the name of the car, and told my co-worker he was wrong, and that the insured knew the name was what he said because it was written on the side of the car.

On a whim I googled the restoration shop doing the work, and lo and behold, there is a google tour of the shop, and the car in question is sitting in the shop in the photos. Complete with faded original single-stage lacquer paint with sun-baked patina(not a custom pearl & faux-patina paint job), and it is the more common and less-valuable of the two fastback models. And for the kicker there is a clear shot of the engine badge showing it to read exactly what my co-worker had been saying, and not what the insured was insisting.

A little more googling of the car club plaque visible on the car in the photos leads to even more photos of the car, further confirming what was found in the first few.

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A report was written to insurance company detailing all this, and including the pictures from the web confirming our findings. The insurance company is now probably going to have a specialty appraiser come out and look at the car and re-write the estimate for a fraction of the original amount.

The moral of this story is don’t get greedy. If this guy had submitted a reasonable estimate for the repairs, it probably would have been paid without a problem. Instead they decided to BS the insurance company, make wild claims about the car, and pad the hell out of the claim. And for that they have now upped the hassle factor for themselves a few hundred percent, and are almost certain not to get anything like what they asked for.