2012 Civic, original owner. I could use some advice. I'm going to try to include as much info as possible, it might drag on so please bear with me.
I was rear-ended on the highway (Connecticut) a few weeks ago. The damage to the bumper was minimal, if barely noticeable. The other party and I exchanged information and were ready to go our separate ways without getting the police or insurance involved - I don't really care about a scuff on my bumper.
However, when I went to get back in my car to leave it wouldn't start. It wouldn't turn over and was making clicking sounds as if the battery were dead. All of the interior/dashboard lights were rapidly blinking. On my dash screen ABS System and Airbag notifications were constantly cycling through. The hazard lights on the inside were blinking and flashing at an odd rhythm and not the typical flash-off-flash-off pattern (if that makes sense). It appeared there was some sort of electrical issue, as well as the battery, so the police office who arrived at the scene advised I get it towed, obviously.
I brought it to the Honda dealership where I purchased the car. An insurance claim was opened on the other person's insurance company. After 2 weeks of the insurance adjuster "not being able to contact his client" I was finally approved for a rental car. The mechanic at the dealership deduced the problem as the battery and alternator and said it would be $850 to replace both (a very steep estimate, if you ask me).
When the adjuster went to the garage to meet with the mechanic, they settled on an estimate amount to inspect and potentially replace the bumper because of the damage. The adjuster said they are not going to cover the cost of the mechanical repairs because they cannot prove the accident caused the damage to the alternator and battery, claiming it was "a coincidence." My car is ~3 years old, with no prior alternator issues, and was running before the accident and would not start after the accident. It seems clear cut that the accident and collision WAS the cause of the damage to the alternator and battery - how could it not be?
The mechanic said there is no proof that the mechanical damage was caused by the collision and agreed that it is coincidental. It seems unlikely that a crash in the rear end would have an effect on the alternator, but I have done independent research and have found a few different sources stating the collision could have caused it.
Source: Alternator damage - Car Talk
Relevant text: "Given the info you provided and having 24 years experience in fire/rescue as well as fleet maintenance ... I suspect the impact dislodged the plates inside the batter (power surge followed shortly by an internal short) which can very well cause the alternator and most everything else electrical/electronic to fry - save all the old parts and have the wrench do a complete operational diagnostic test on the entire vehicle to see if anyhing else is screwed up. Do not talk to the insurance company any more, nothing, not a word, neither you nor your wrench and for dang sure do NOT let them have the old parts! All correspondence in writing, if they continue with the attitude, spend some extra money and have the parts damage confirmed by an independent shop or the dealer then take the insurance company to court."
I brought this up with the mechanic over the phone, and he said there isn't any kind of diagnostic test he can run to determine whether or not the accident caused the alternator and battery to go. He said because there is no physical proof of damage to either part, he will not tell the insurance adjuster that the accident definitely cause the damage.
Has anyone ever heard of anything like this before? Is it possible that a rear end collision could damage the alternator and/or battery in any way? I've asked around and have gotten the same response: "Possible, but not likely." Should I bring it to a new mechanic all-together? My automotive knowledge is minimal-to-zero, so I have no clue if the shop is just trying to get me to pay for the new parts and labor.
It's been a long few weeks with little resolve. Any kind of help or advice would be greatly appreciated. If any additional information is needed, I'd be happy to provide it. This is my first time using this forum, and if I've posted this to the wrong area please let me know and I'll remove and re-post to the proper forum.