Summary: Someone towed my BMW i3, it wasn't towed on a flatbed, drivetrain malfunction, BMW service centre let me know EDME module failed. I have no warranty. The towing company did NOT use a flatbed, they used trucks and dollies. That is all the information that they will provide about how I was towed, and there was no security footage, only a picture that proves it was not a flatbed but a truck with a T-bar.
I am living in California. Someone called a towing company, my BMW i3 was towed and when I picked up the car at the towing company the steering wheel was stiff and messages like "collision detection malfunction" etc were all lit up. When I tried to drive the car to my surprise there was a "drive train malfunction" ie it will drive for 2 seconds before stopping abruptly. They of course said "Just drive it around a while and it'll be fine!" Of course without the drivetrain functioning that isn't possible...
So I inquired as to how they towed the car because it clearly says in the owners manual (page 195 or 197) that you cannot tow the car as you would a normal car and the same goes for most EVs. Needs to use a flatbed or another specialized method. Anyways, they used truck and dollies, so I believe that is technically one of the "wrong ways" to tow the BMW i3, however they said "trucks and dollies" so although flatbeds are the only approved ways, still, they may have used dollies to keep the wheels from dragging on the road although I wonder if they are lying to me because they sounded nervous over the phone and not sure of what they did.
Anyways, I thought it would be an easy insurance claim and that it would be without question that perfectly driving car one moment, someone towed me the wrong way, then car does not work, therefore Geico would accept my claim... boy was I wrong. They have fought me tooth and nail on very flimsy premises since day one. I will never look at that friendly Gecko mascot the same way again..
At BMW dealership, they immediately charged me 250$ for the system diagnostic, then they let me know that the EDME module had malfunctioned and my warranty had also just expired and that unlike the EME module is was not covered by a recall. Then they said fixing the EDME module would cost 2500-3000. So the adjuster from Geico calls them, I'm thinking this will be a streamlined, efficient and worry free experience and I'll get a loaner car as well... lo and behold, I got an automated email saying my claim was denied and that it was a final decision.
The BMW service technician told the adjuster that there had been 23 error messages since January 6, 2020. None of which I have ever seen, no warning message, and there was no issue ever with the car. The adjuster said "no, too bad, error in January means it was the cause in June, the towing did not cause it." This is shocking because of course there was no drive train malfunction or EDME malfunction in January, if so how was I able to drive it until now and drive to different cities etc since then, all easily proved by looking in the trip logs etc.
So I tried to explain to both BMW and the adjuster that:
They towed it the wrong way, and that somehow has now caused the EDME module to no longer work. Either by violently shaking the car, towing it at any angle, dragging the wheels at some point, etc. It was working fine before, (For example, I was able to park in front of my building in a no parking spot to bring up the groceries) and now the car cannot be driven.
Even if there were "Error messages" the service technician assured me that the error messages themselves are sometimes "erroneous" ie there is serious reason to doubt whether these error messages were indicative of any existing issue with the EDME module. Also, he mentioned that the drive train malfunction issue would always occur after 3 of these error messages. So I asked "So, why did it take 23 of these error messages to finally cause a drive train malfunction error?" It was very easy to show that their assessments have serious logical flaws in them and that Geico was grasping for straws in this case that the 1 in 10000 chance that my EDME decided to randomly fail while being towed the wrong way and it wasn't the towing companies fault is quite irritating.
So, Geico said "The system diagnostic concluded that there was an error message that appeared in January and therefore your claim was not accepted." They also said "there is a 1 in 1000000 chance that the towing could damage a component within the car." Excuse me? So, towing a car the wrong way, dropping it abruptly, dragging wheels at some point, etc, with all the fragile parts in an EV, even though the car was perfect before and dirty and a bit banged up and NOT DRIVABLE when I went to pick it up, there's a 1 in 1000000 chance that the towing may have been a factor? Is Geico joking?
Again, I have never seen any error or warning alert or notification in the vehicle, and the car has been fine, absolutely fine until the day I went to pick up at the towing company parking lot. There have been absolutely no issues and the car which is always serviced as scheduled. So I am supposed to believe that some random errors (none of which was visible to the driver...) mean that somehow the claim is not acceptable. I mean, really?
Any ideas what to do? BMW has offered to cover 70% of the costs now that I argued my case. Geico still says "too bad, show me unequivocal proof." Should I just take the 70% off and pay the remaining 30 out of pocket, or should I continue to pursue Geico, get a loaner car while they repair the i3, etc? I head on Reddit that the towing company insurance is bonded, should try to sue on my own, etc. What do you guys and gals think?
Thank you so much in advance,