Understanding how to negotiate the best settlement for a totaled car is important if one wants to get the best deal on their insurance coverage on a totaled car after conducting two-car accident negotiations with the insurance company in the four months apart due to two totaled cars (neither of which was our fault). It is common for claimants to accept their insurance company’s first offer without reviewing the details. It is assumed that their auto insurance company will offer them a fair payment for the condition of their automobile. Drivers often don’t know what to expect when they are insured.
For example, someone may remember telling the adjuster that the vehicle had a DVD player, but did he tell him that the DVD player was split-screen? These items may not be obvious, but they could increase the settlement amount and fair market value. There are also processes for challenging Kelley Blue Book values.
Better Trading Tactics Could Result in Higher Settlement for one if they don’t have an agent or if their agent isn’t particularly helpful. The first thing to do is make sure they know what they are doing. One cannot get a higher payout if they describe their car too generously on Kelley Blue Book. It would help if they learned how the claims process works.
Sara Routhier, Director of Outreach at Clearsurance.com, offers five tips for negotiating the best loss settlement for a totaled car.
(1) Know what you are selling
According to some insurance policies, his insurance company may be required to buy him a totaled car at a reasonable price if they consider his vehicle to be totaled. The fair market value of a car is based on how it looked before the accident. Insurance companies usually designate wrecked cars as those that need to be repaired for more than a certain amount, making them more likely to pay more.
The details of the sticker accompanying his car when purchased must be provided to the adjuster for his benefit. It is at the discretion of the insurance company to total a vehicle if it is damaged to 51% or more of its pre-accident value. Other insurance companies will destroy it at 80%.
However, if the damage is believed to be severe enough, they may wish for it to be totaled. A damaged vehicle cannot be used without substantial repairs or reconstruction. In this state, a car would be sold with a salvage title, regardless of whether they kept it or their insurer tried to sell it. There may also be damage that a repair shop will not see without a thorough job. Unfortunately, this can lead to accidents or future car breakdowns. Their safety should be considered when driving a total loss vehicle if their insurance provider is looking to avoid future claims.
Lost the sticker? Contact the dealership you purchased the vehicle from and ask to see the car’s specifications. Dealerships are required to keep records of the vehicles they sell. The best way to determine the characteristics of a vehicle is to search online for the year, make and model of his vehicle if he cannot locate this information. When making an initial bid, make sure the expert has this information so they can make the highest possible recommendation.
(2) Prepare counter-offer
Prepare the counter-offer after providing the adjuster with the characteristics of the vehicle. Do not wait to start the search until you receive the expert’s offer. The appraiser may offer a fair price, but doing research afterwards may delay his payment and his ability to get replacement coverage (especially if he wants a new car). If one doesn’t have gap insurance, a good counteroffer could be the difference between being cleared of liability and still being obligated to pay for the car.
It is important to know the retail value of your car, not the trade-in value, to determine its value. You don’t trade in your car; they sell it to the insurance company. They will have to show the appraiser the estimated retail value and the features used to determine the price when they make the counter-offer. According to the current owner of their vehicle, there is plenty of information on the web regarding assessing the condition of their vehicle for their adjuster.
In the past seven or eight months, if someone has made major repairs to their vehicle, such as new tires, make sure they have copies of all receipts. If they don’t have them, contact their mechanic and ask them. They may not be covered by all insurance policies if their car has been customized.
(3) Analyze comparables
Find used cars for sale on a few websites and print out ones that have similar specs and mileage to your own vehicle. They may want to check out sites like autotrader.com and cargurus.com.
(4) Get an auto insurance settlement offer
When the adjuster contacts one with an offer, request that it be emailed to them along with the appraisal report or CCC report. As part of the settlement amount, insurance companies use this report to provide a market assessment of the car’s value. It is important to ensure that this report accurately lists the mileage of their vehicle and takes into account all the characteristics of their vehicle. The adjuster should show them three additional things once they have received the written offer:
For any outstanding auto loans, they are responsible for repaying the lien amount to auto finance company C. Net Settlement Amount – the amount one will receive from the company. A. Sales tax, they must pay sales tax to the state. B. Amount of payment privilege; they must pay directly to the auto finance company.
(5) The totaled car needs a counter offer
Use NadaGuides.com (or a similar website) to compare the written offer with the used car impressions they have previously researched. Does the price match? Determine a reasonable counteroffer based on these numbers. Please email the insurance company the counter-offer and all supporting documents they used to substantiate it, including NadaGuides.com value, used car reports and costs recent repairs. If they don’t provide supporting documentation, their offer is less credible.
A fair settlement can result from reasonable research, documentation and expectations. If your agent doesn’t give them a good deal after negotiating, reach out to them for help. Additional guidance may be provided by the Office of Consumer Affairs in some states. They will get the actual cash value minus their deductible if their car is totaled by their insurer. Insurance companies keep the money they receive for the salvage vehicle, which is then auctioned off at a salvage yard and usually pirated for parts.
Would someone still get insurance payout if they wanted to keep the car?
Keeping a car totaled is not an option if one disagrees with the insurance company’s damage assessment. Repairing the car can cost more because not all damage is immediately apparent. When a person takes out an automobile insurance policy, he undertakes not to demand that his insurer reimburse him for more than his car is worth. On the other hand, most states require insurance companies to follow these guidelines to get back to where they were financially before the accident. Contact the state Department of Insurance for assistance if they still cannot agree on the value.
The car will need extensive repairs before being registered for road use. If it has a salvage title, it will also have to pay for major repairs before you can buy collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. When buying a new car, they can save money by purchasing gap coverage if their auto insurance check total is less than they owe.
Following a car accident, their insurance rates may increase. Now may be the best time to shop around for a new car insurance company. Our research shows that, on average, insurers who switch insurers save customers $390 per year. See who other drivers consider to be the best auto insurance companies if you’re looking for a new policy.
Hopefully these 5 tips will help you negotiate a full settlement of the car they are happy with. Remember to be honest and direct with the insurance company, as they will likely have many questions. Finally, always remember to make a counter-offer so that both parties feel like they’re making the most of the situation.