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?
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Its a different story if someone else is at fault; their insurance
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
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.
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.
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.
I have found providing price of 3 or more "local market" equivalent
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
On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 9:05:42 PM UTC-4, email@example.com 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.
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
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)
On Wed, 18 Jun 2014 21:30:32 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org 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
**(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
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
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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