OT - Dealing with Ins Co When Vehicle Is Totaled

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Situation: 10 YO vehicle, 160k miles, excellent condition, inside and out. Hood, windshield, fender, etc. is crushed by fallen tree during a storm. Vehicle has comprehensive coverage. Ins Co has not seen the vehicle yet, but based on the age and damage, the owner assumes his Ins Co will say the vehicle is totaled.
Are there any special strategies for dealing with the Ins Co? Obviously the settlement won't be enough for a new vehicle, but can a higher settlement be negotiated based on the previous good condition of vehicle? Anything specific to say (or not to say) to the adjuster?
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<stuff snipped>

Know the Bluebook (and other sites/pubs) value for said vehicle in excellent condition - collect a few notices from the classifieds listing same make/model and note their price. Look up prices on Ebay Motors. Unless you had modifications to the van the your insurance company was aware of (handicapped controls, etc) all you're ever likely to see is high Bluebook value for a 10 year old car.
I would be unhappy with their first offer just as a matter of principle - the principle being they'll lowball you every chance they get. (-:
Get estimates on the damage anyway - maybe you can find someone to do the work for less than what they would offer you to total it.
I hope you at least got to make or sale firewood from the tree that attacked your vehicle.
--
Bobby G.



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On Wed, 18 Jun 2014 10:44:50 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

You get Blue Book value based on miles as far as I know. The price range difference between "excellent condition" and "good condition" is a couple hundred bucks for a 10 year old Chevy. Look up the car on Kelley. I've had a couple cars totaled and never talked to an adjuster, but the other driver's insurance paid. The adjuster will see what condition the vehicle was in. I bought back one of them from the insurance company for a hundred bucks and fixed. There is no "strategy" for an adjuster. They've seen them all. Politeness is my strategy.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

I was successful in raising the payout a few hundred when my wife flipped her car a few months ago - I was also successful in getting more when my Sportster was totalled <no question about totalling in either case> by showing the "improvements and modifications" warranted the extra money . When the \76 FLH got hit , they wanted outside verification of value , but I was also successful in getting close to what it was worth pre-crash . The best strategy is to go prepared with documentation of your claims , like recent tire receipts , etc . Aftermarket additions too , if documented .
--
Snag



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On 6/18/2014 3:44 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

They tried to settle for blue book. Showed them several local newspaper ads asking three times that. They caved.
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On 6/18/2014 3:44 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Steve
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wrote:

Somewhat similar. Tree was 'topped' and left. Trunk then rotted out, then fell onto car flattening it! Trunk was 3 ft diameter or so. Very heavy.
Insurance company said here's your check. Awfully small. So went and did some homework. I had a car, don't have a car, need a car. pay me more, went back and forth, sat in their office for hours bothering them, until received a better check,about twice what first check was.
Argument based upon 'replacement' value [must use words carefully] do NOT use words 'loss', because loss value is NOTHING! Now, replacement value, that costs some money. Keep repeating, I had a car, I don't have a car now. Again, do not EVER say, loss, or I lost the car, because loss value is based upon nothing.
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On Wed, 18 Jun 2014 10:44:50 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

3 stories, each might be of some value.
40 years ago, guy borrows car, totals it. 1970. 1965 Pontiac Catalina Convertible. State Farm insurance totals it, but I want to buy it back and they tell me I have to pay them 25% of the amount they were going to pay me, because they have a deal with a junk yard to pay 25% of the retail price for any car they bring in. I don't believe that. Do you guys? Plus all four fenders had dents. When I squawk he says he'll have to tell the underwriter (another way of saying they'll cancel me.) So we agree on 400 dollars (which iirc was 100 more than his first offer) but he sends me a check for 300. (and the deductible was 50 dollars so it wasn't confusion about that.) I complain and he sends the right amount, but now I have only one day before I'm supposed to leave for Costa Rica and I need the money to travel with. (Bank made an exception and cashed it for me immediately. I'd never wanted that before and didn't know it was an exception.)
2) Next time hit-and-run while I'm parked. I no longer have comprehensive but they pay when other driver can't be found. (Uninsured motorist) Go into the GEICO estimating place, I guess they totalled me, they notice that there is a power door lock switch on the drivers door, and they pay me for it. Another 40 dollars I think. At least it seemed like a lot of money for it then. . I had put it in myself from two junkyard parts, and it only controlled the passenger door (Why do you need power door lock for the door you're sitting right next to?) It was a beautiful job, looked good as factory installed.
If they totalled me, how come there was no dickering about and no charge for my keeping the car, which I did?. If they didn't total me, why did they care about the power door lock when all the damage to the car was at the trunk?
3) Same car as above, but I wanted the trunk fixed. Badly bent, woudln't come within 6" of shutting, much less latch. It would cost at least 500 at at a body shop I'm sure. 27 years ago. I was using a chain to keep it closed. Went to NYC for a visit, went to Brooklyn. A couple guys stopped me and wanted to know if I wanted the car fixed. Yes, I said, so they did it right then and there, as I expected, for 50 dollars maybe, in 15 minutes. Fit nice. They started to paint it, as agreed, but it was stupid of me to want that, because they weren' tgoing to run around to get exactly the right color and their color, though close, looked worse than the scratched paint imo. So I told them to forget that. Gypsy body men they're called. I don't think Baltimore has them. But I'm sure Brooklyn still does. Prices have gone up in 25 years of course. But I didnt' even dicker with these guys and all they wanted was 50. And that's 100 dollars an hour for each of them. So it's a fair price. Believe you me, they had a lot of experience of they couldn't have gotten it right at all.
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On 6/18/2014 1:50 PM, micky wrote:

When I lived in Philly, there were some of those Gypsies around. It is not where I've have my Lamborghini repaired, but for an older car that has a couple of wrinkles, they do some decent work.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

company has to satisfy you, up to the policy limit, so there is a lot of room for negotiating.
If you are dealing with your own insurance company, you have a contract and both you and the company must adhere to its terms. Usually that means you get the current market value of the car.
Before meeting with them, I would look up the current value of an undamaged vehicle and make a list of what makes your car a good shape vehicle, as opposed to average shape. You should also decide whether you want to keep the car. If it is repairable, find out how much that would cost you. When you have the offer from your insurance company, assuming you want to repair the vehicle, ask them to sell it to you and give you a salvage title. I think the traditional amount of a salvage sale is $100. In your planning, remember that if you buy a replacement car, you will pay tax in most states. In many states there is no tax on repairs.
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Exactly so. And there is some room for negotiation. A few years ago, my son wrecked one of our cars. Nobody hurt, thank goodness, but the car was totalled. Insurance company told us how much they would pay. I looked up the Kelley Blue Book value, and saw that they were somewhat under that. Called the adjuster, told him it appeared they hadn't accounted for the value of the all-leather interior. Oops, we missed that, he says. I said it also had a full tank of gas (true: my wife had just filled it up on her way home from work that afternoon.) Adjuster said send us the receipt and we'll pay for that too. I did, they did -- final result was a check about $500 more than they originally offered. Not bad for maybe half an hour of my time.
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wrote:

Apparently your knowledge of "comprehensive coverage" is lacking. Typically, comprehensive coverage does not include rental cars. Therefore, your suggestion of renting a car wouldn't make even a rookie adjuster flinch.
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On 6/18/2014 6:44 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I've gone through this a couple of times. It can be exasperating. Squeezed a few extra bucks out of one as in the two weeks it too them to evaluate it the book value had gone down.
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Good to know. I had in mind finding these guys when I went to NY, but some time I may have to go to Philly instead. Closer. (I"ll check if they're still there first)
BTW, for others, they're not real Gypsies
BTW2. I hadn't put any extra holes in the car to use the chain, so they didn't have to fix that.
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wrote:

vehicles for sale will cause an adjustment in price if warranted. If there is no equivalent condition vehicle, show what is avaialable at what price and demonstrate the difference in value (sometimes by producing a newer vehicle , same condition but higher mileage, for instance, ) Friend had his pristine 2004 Taurus written off and got $1000 more than the first offer by producing a 2002 Taurus with the same mileage for more than they were offering, for sale in the same city. "out of market area" pricing (for instance E-Bay motors) doesn't carry much weight
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On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 9:05:42 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

To me, *completed transactions* on Ebay would carry a lot more weight than ads that just show what buyers are dreaming of getting. If you're using CL or newspaper ads, they better be way above what the insurance company is offering. If I was the adjuster and offered $5000 based on Blue Book sources, ads showing people asking $6000 wouldn't do much to impress me.
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wrote:

MOST insurance companies have a "salvage contract" where the insurance company delivers ALL totalled vehicles to the wrecker in question for either a fixed price or a percentage of payout - regardless of condition. The salvage value may be straight scrap, as in a burnout, or it may be 75% of market value, in the case of a car with all the airbags blown and virtually no body or powertrain damage. The insurance company cannot sell the vehicle back to you, but they CAN settle for "cash in leiu of repairs" where you keep title to the car and get slightly less than the "total" payout. The title gets branded as "salvage" In the case of both my mother-in-law's Mustang and my wife's Corolla they were not branded because the total dabage was limitted to wiring harness and minor interior items. After repairs and inspection by the insurance company, both cars were returnrd to service, and were insured by the same company. In both cases we got the amount they offered to total the vehicle, and retained ownership (after a bit of wrangling and arguement about the value of the vehicle)

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On Wed, 18 Jun 2014 15:28:02 -0500, Gordon Shumway

cause of damge.
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wrote:

insurance coverage.
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On Wed, 18 Jun 2014 21:30:32 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Are you saying that a car like you just described can be worth to the junk yard 75% of the maket value** BEFORE the accident? That's amazing.
**(blue book price?)

Yeah, slightly less. I thought that would be 10 or 15% less, not 25% less, because they get 25% for any car they bring them. .

These days I'm sure. 40 years ago, I don't remember if I lived in a title state (Indiana) but they didn't fiddle with my title or label anything else "salvage". And that other car 20 years ago in Md. I can't remember any details, not how much they paid me, or why the power door lock mattered, unless they totalled it, but in that case I don't remember asking for the car back, but if I did, they didn't deduct much for my keeping the car. I remember where the GEICO office was -- I always remember geographiic things, but it's amazing how I can't remember anything else.

So you're saying clearly that they didn't deduct anything when you kept the car. I wish state farm had done that for me. Instead he threatened me with the underwriter. Then I let the insurance lapse when my car was stored and I was in Central America. When I got back I called my mother, who called her agent (I was 23 when I left and we used the same agent (in fact she handled everything) and 24 when I returned, and he told her that he couldn't reinstate my insurance without my signature.
So I was stuck in San Antonio with no insurance. I guess since GEICO was a national company, I could have bought insurance from them but I'd never heard of them and also, until recently it had only been for Government Employees. And every agent I called told me Texas required one to live in Texas. Out of the deep corners of my mind, I remembered that my brother went to medical school, in Indiana, 7 years earlier, with a boy from San Antonio, and I remembered his name. It must have been an unusal name. I looked him up in the phone book and somehow called his parents on the first try. And I told them the truth and asked if I could use their address to buy insurance, and the man said fine. So I did, and 6 months later in NYC, I bought insurance from GEICO when my brother suggested it.
I dont' know what I would have done if the father of his friend, who he hadn't seeen or talked to since they graduated 7 years earlier, hadn't said Okay.
And a couple years after that, the State Farm agent admitted to my mother than he lied about needing my signature.
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