Woman locked in fight with gas station’s insurance company over “act of nature”

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- "I said, 'that's a gas pump on my car,'" Monika Hauschild explained as she detailed what happened after pulling into a Tonganoxie gas station to escape a storm.

A gas pump landed on the back of her car, knocked out the back window and dented the side, causing $2,300 in damage. Hauschild was just glad her dog Fritzy wasn't inside.

"He usually rides in the back window," Hauschild said.

The flying gas pump was one of several replacement pumps that were being stored at the gas station in Tonganoxie, Kan. None of the pumps had been secured the night of the accident when 70 mile-per-hour storms tore through the town.

"The very next day they strapped them down, but that didn't help me," Hauschild said.

Luckily Hauschild had insurance. Unluckily, it came with a $1,000 deductible.

Her insurance company, Progressive, quickly cut her check for the cost of the repair, minus the deductible. So, two weeks later, all she has been able to afford to replace is the broken windshield.

She had hoped the gas station's insurance company would cover the rest, but it sent her a letter calling the accident an "act of nature."

"I don't believe an act of nature put the gas pump there," Hauschild said.

FOX 4 Problem Solvers called the gas station's insurance company, Acuity, but it never called us back. So we contacted Kansas City attorney Scott Shachtman, who said an act of nature, also known as an act of God, is a common claim for insurance companies, but doesn't always make sense.

"Act of God is usually something like a tree being struck by lightning and falling on a car, not when there is a piece of equipment that is supposed to by tied down or secured and it's not," Shachtman said.

So what can Hauschild do? She can complain to the Kansas Department of Insurance, which will ask Acuity for proof that the gas station took reasonable measures to make sure its equipment was safely secured.

Or she can let her own insurance company fight with Acuity and hope she gets her deductible back. Or she can hire an attorney. A $1,000 claim isn't usually worth paying for an attorney, but in this case, attorney Shachtman said he would be happy to help her for free, believing gas pumps belong on the ground and not on your car.

FOX 4 Problem Solvers tried to contact the owner of the gas station, but he also has not gotten back to us. But Progressive Insurance, which represents Ms. Hauschild, is also taking a second look at her claim to determine whether it can do more to help her get her deductible back.

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1 Comment

  • Fred

    This is the gas station’s problem. The pumps are outside and should have in its policy the possibility of something like this happening so stability plays a huge factor in this case. The manufacturer along with the installers should have had a better plan in making sure this does not happen. Pay the lady. Its your fault.

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