Sunday night the 14th I was driving East on I-70 coming home from Lawrence. The road conditions were pretty bad and so I was driving at around 45-50 miles per hour. Just East of where you pay the toll I was a ways behind a large semi when it dropped a large chunk of ice into the road. Though I saw it in time, I couldn't swerve around it as there was a car somewhere behind me (visibility was bad as the windows kept icing up.) I ran over the ice and heard as well as felt a the bottom of the car hit it.
From what I then heard next, my immediate thought was that the ice was lodged under the car and was dragging. However, I had no place to safely pull off and check, so I kept driving. When slowing I noticed that the car made a loud ca-chunk notice, which I later identified as the transmission having difficulty shifting gears. 10 or so minutes later I found an exit with a gas station and pulled off. I saw no obstruction under the car so I continued to limp it home.
I arrived safely, for which I am very thankful.
This week I have had several conversations with insurance agents, CSRs, my mechanic to coordinate the filing of a road hazard collision claim.
Today, the insurance CSR called me to tell me what the claims adjuster found. Neither the adjuster nor the mechanic find any indication that something struck the transmission (the transmission housing is not bent or scarred.) So, the insurance company is not going to cover the claim at all.
I called the mechanic and he figures that the ice struck the axle (which is also needs replacing) and that it significantly jarred where the axle connects to the transmission - thus breaking the transmission's internals but not damaging its housing. He told me that he explained that to the claims adjuster, but the adjuster did not agree, saying that the transmission (original) was old and there is no evidence to indicate it didn't just fail on its own.
All this means I will need to buy a car on my own, without the additional (at best guess) $1,000 for the value of the car - deductible. I knew I would be buying a car in a year or so and as such have been saving towards that end for a while, but I only have 2/3 what I wanted to have on hand. However, I really had hoped the old 1992 Toyota Corolla DX w/ 198,000 would last a bit longer. What is truly disheartening is that I took excellent care of the vehicle and that I fully expected to take it past 200,000 miles - in fact, I was looking forward to the roll-over.
The fact that they're not covering the claim doubly sucks as I'll have to pay the mechanic for his time, the tow service for the 5-10 mile tow job, as well as figure out how to junk a car that won't drive.
I've had a real good experience with that Corolla (as I owned it for about 14 years) so I'll probably look for a used Corolla.
In addition to being in the market for a replacement car, and a replacement insurance carrier, as I will absolutely be "firing" Country Mutual Insurance Company. Logically, I understand their position in regards to the lack of visible damage to the automatic transmission housing. However, I think that it is an extremely self-serving logic. I believe that the mechanic's theory of the ice striking the axle is extremely plausible. So I'm using the only recourse I have at my disposal: voting with my wallet.
As far as new insurance goes, I require a company that can insure my home as well as my car. Any suggestions?