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Questions About Auto Insurance & Accidents

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,458
    The other guy should be responsible for replacing your car and for paying the difference between it's value and the payoff.

    Good luck!
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 18,145
    I doubt that it would be totaled ... generally, the cost of repairs has to equal some percentage of the car's value (I want to say 75%, but don't hold me to that).

    That means you'd have to have $24,000 worth of damage.

    But, I agree with @isellhondas‌ - the other party's insurance should cover your repairs or your loss.

    Glad to hear everyone is OK.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 44,907
    "Detroit has the dubious distinction of being the most expensive location for car insurance rates, according to a new study that breaks down insurance cost by ZIP code.

    Brooklyn, New York took 2nd place on the most expensive list, followed by Philadelphia."

    Study Uncovers Top 10 Most Expensive Locations for Car Insurance Rates

    Moderator - Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 47,552
    It really all depends on what the estimate of damage is. If the estimate is a certain percentage of the car's value, the insurance company will total it. Insurance companies have discretion as to how much this percentage is. It can range from 50% to approx. 65%. In this case, you probably want to hope they will total it. If they don't, and you have to accept the repaired car, you can still make a claim against the other party's insurance company for "diminshed value"---that is, what % of value you have lost because the car now has a 'black mark' on it, and would be harder to sell for full value. You'll need to hire an appraiser who specializes in Diminished Value claims, since insurance companies don't like to pay this type of claim and will resist. So everything has to be done very professionally.

    If the other party's insurance company refuses to pay DV you have the option of suing them for "bad faith" (small claims?) and/or suing the party you hit you directly. By suing the party who hit you, that usually gets a rise out of their insurance company to settle up with you.

    Hopefully, none of this will have to happen, and you'll get paid off for a total.

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  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,780
    I have a DV claim pending in small claims court for Feb. 4. I'm suing the guy that hit me because Mercury Insurance is a bad faith insurer that doesn't negotiate fairly. They told their guy to postpone the small claim so now it'll be 3/11. Just another unnecessary delay for BS reasons "scheduling conflict" when the defendant received notice more than a month ahead of time.
  • kkendrajkkendraj Posts: 4
    Back in September I was in an accident where the other peron drove head on into my lane and hit me. The accident is still trying to be figured out seeing as it was a four car accident. My insurance is currently paying for everything while another insurance is investigating the situation to see who and how much the other insurances owes mine. Nothing will be finalized till the end of next month. My car is now totaled and I have a loan on the car, my insurance wants to give me 9600 when I owe a little under 12k. I don't see how it's fair that I am not at fault and I'm the one who gets screwed. My guy said that even when the other insurance companies finally pick up the tab that they won't pay what I owe and that's just how it works... Is this correct? 
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,458
    Yes, that's how it works. The other insurance company will pay you what the car is worth and what it is worth has nothing to do with what you owe on it. You can always sue them for the difference but you probably won't prevail.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 44,907
    edited January 28
    @kkendraj, what's the make, model and year of your wrecked car?

    This article has a good overview of the process:

    Confessions of an Auto Claims Adjuster

    (btw, I deleted your other discussion since you found this one).

    Moderator - Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • kkendrajkkendraj Posts: 4
    @stever‌, thank you for deleting. 2008 mistubishi eclipse SE. I just don't see how I'm the party that isn't at fault but I'm the one who is basically being punished. I now have to drive a pos(atleast it's a car) and have 2 car payments now. How does the innocent party get screwed? I just want my life to go back to the day before the accident. 
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 47,552
    Well I think the argument goes like this---your insurance contract promises to pay you Fair Market Value, whereas your loan includes finance costs which are over and above FMV considerations; however, you don't have to accept their offer. You can counter offer or you can hire your own appraiser if he/she thinks they can come up with a higher number (and prove it). And even if the insurance company rejects your appraiser's appraisal, they might bump up their offer. If all else fails, you have the right to an arbitration hearing (which you pay 1/2 of) and the appraiser is your advocate in the hearing, facing the insurance company's appraiser, in front of (or by phone) a refereee that is mutually agreed upon by the two parties. Your appraiser has to be careful which referee he agrees to, because some are in the pocket of the insurance companies. This system is quite corrupt but it is still possible to get a good outcome. If you hire an appraiser and are forced to arbitration , this is going to cost you maybe an additional $600 bucks or so, so take that into account before you refuse the insurance company's second (hopefully better) offer.

    You might say that it would be foolish for an insurance company to hire an appraiser and pay for 1/2 an arbitration rather than just give you the money they will spend---but they will hire them anyway.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,458
    kkendraj said:

    @stever‌, thank you for deleting. 2008 mistubishi eclipse SE. I just don't see how I'm the party that isn't at fault but I'm the one who is basically being punished. I now have to drive a pos(atleast it's a car) and have 2 car payments now. How does the innocent party get screwed? I just want my life to go back to the day before the accident. 

    What it boils down to is being upside down on a car loan leaves a person vulnerable when something like this happens. It may not sound "fair" but an insurance company is only liable for the market value of your car and what you happen to owe on it is of no concern to them.

    You can certainly take Mr. Shiftright's suggestion and find out what happens. Just the threat of arbitration may very well cause the insurance company to raise their offer but be aware they can be real stubborn too and they have people on their staff whose job it is to fight.

    Good luck!
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 18,145
    One other suggestion I can make is to go on-line and look for cars like yours (year, trim, mileage) that are for sale - this should give you (and the insurance company) an idea of the cost to replace your car with one just like it.

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  • kkendrajkkendraj Posts: 4
    Awesome! (Sarcastic) oh well, I'm suing them in any case for injuries so hopefully I'll get enough to finish off the loan and get me atleast a down payment on a better car than the pos I'm currently stuck in. 
  • kkendrajkkendraj Posts: 4
    Thanks for your help though.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,780
    Theoretically, if you are getting fair market value, you could rebuy the same car "age and mileage" and be just as upside down as you were before. That would be being made whole, which is the best you can expect from insurance. A lot of insurance companies are fine operating with a standard MO (method of operation) of making people 'almost" whole, and making them fight for that last 20%, and I'm not talking about including deductibles.

    Who'd of THUNK uninsurance doesn't cover underinsurance when it comes to waiving the deductible? I talked to several people about having the uninsured deductible waiver, and everyone was of the opinion underinsured and uninsured fell in the same category; well, it doesn't, not in CA. I'd of been better off if the guy that hit me and was at fault was UN-insured rather than Underinsured.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,687
    kkendraj said:

    Back in September I was in an accident where the other peron drove head on into my lane and hit me. The accident is still trying to be figured out seeing as it was a four car accident. My insurance is currently paying for everything while another insurance is investigating the situation to see who and how much the other insurances owes mine. Nothing will be finalized till the end of next month. My car is now totaled and I have a loan on the car, my insurance wants to give me 9600 when I owe a little under 12k. I don't see how it's fair that I am not at fault and I'm the one who gets screwed. My guy said that even when the other insurance companies finally pick up the tab that they won't pay what I owe and that's just how it works... Is this correct? 

    Sadly, this is how it works...when you owe more than a car is worth, an at-fault insurance must pay what your car is worth, not what you owe...realize that your loan may have negative equity rolled into it from a previous car loan where your trade-in was worth less than you owed, so the negative balance was included in your current loan...or, another possibility is that when you bought your current car, you only put down $500 or $1,000, which means you drove off the lot in negative equity, meaning you then owed more than the car was worth...now, add a few years, the car is depreciating rapidly, but your loan, over 4 years (maybe 5,6, or 7) is being paid down slowly, and your negative equity "grows."...this is a good reason for GAP insurance...

    Things like this never happened back in the 1960s, 70s and even the 80s (I know, ancient history...but it IS relevant as to how we got this way now, about as close to cause-and-effect as you can get)...back then, folks almost ALWAYS put a down payment of 20%, which solved the depreciation problem on day one...then, loans rarely went longer than 3 years, so your loan balance went down about the same "velocity" as your depreciation...so if your car was totaled at the end of year 2, you probably walked away with a little money in your pocket after paying off the loan balance...

    Now, jump forward to today, or about the last 15-plus years...down payments rarely exceed $1-2,000, so you start out on Day 1 owing more than the vehicle is worth...most cars are financed at least 5 years, maybe 6 or 7, so your loan balance takes forever for the principal to drop, as you pay mostly interest for the first 3-plus years...

    These 2 factors add together to make it worse...small down payment with longer loans means that you literally have no equity in your car until year 4 in a 5 year loan, maybe year 5-6 in a 7 year loan...THEREFORE, when your car is totalled (totaled?) you will owe more than the car is worth, and the liability insurance (or, even your OWN insurance) will only pay what the car is worth, not what you owe, because what you owe is your fault for taking advantage of lower down payments and longer loan terms...you didn't think you got all those "benefits" for free, did you???
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 18,458
    60 month loans are bad enough but some people go for a 72 or 84 month loan which is NUTS!

    They are buying cars that they really can't afford and leaving themselves in a very bad position should something happen.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,780
    edited March 17
    I had a small claim court case the other day, I think everything the judge said was favorable to me, but I don't know the final judgment as he said he'd like to further research and take the case under advisement for up to 2 weeks.

    He did mention he questioned the validity of Mercury's Appraisal report which is another way of saying that report was doctored.

    An insurance company hiring a sham shill appraisal company to do their bidding; no way! LOL.
  • mrkkmrkk Posts: 5
    my 2008 nissan quest s got flooded
    kbb private party - good condition is 8.3

    costco ameriprise insurance wants to pay 8.2

    if you try searching the van you cant find it below 10k

    i only had <70k miles on the van

  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,780
    mrkk said:

    my 2008 nissan quest s got flooded
    kbb private party - good condition is 8.3

    costco ameriprise insurance wants to pay 8.2

    if you try searching the van you cant find it below 10k

    i only had

    They'd probably go up to 8.3 if you insist, not far from it's KBB good condition value. The asking price is not the value/cost of the vehicle.
  • drostendrosten Posts: 2
    So I am in a very large pickle and not sure what to do to get out of it. So for the last four months I have not had any car insurance, (long story short, I tried to buy policy and mistyped my credit card info and never finalized the purchase, never went back to fix.) Either way, now my license is suspended and my car registration/inspection is up. I am trying to buy a new car, part of the reason I never fixed the insurance on the old one. I got approved for the loan through the dealer but don't know where to start for insuring my new vehicle since I am currently uninsured and suspended. Any advice on what to do?
  • wlbrown9wlbrown9 Posts: 861
    I thought I should share my recent experience of being involved in an accident, insurance experience, repairs and DIMINISHED VALUE claim.

    Feb 26th I was rear-ended by a Honda Accord on the way to work in my 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS. Farm Bureau TN insured the other drive who was deemed to be at fault. Damages did not look that bad, but due to damage to a brace rail that runs underneath the length of the unibody, trunk lid and some taillight stuff repairs came to about $5700 plus 2 weeks in a rental vehicle. An adjuster I dealt for my insurance at Allstate told me that Tennessee was a state that allows diminished value.

    After repairs were finished I did not hear from FB about the diminished value. Over a month later after selling a third vehicle ('04 Envoy XL) I was in the market for a larger vehicle to replace both the Elantra and Envoy. I ended up trading the Elantra for a 2015 Chevy Traverse 1LT. During trade discussions the dealership estimated the accident decreased the market value by as much as $1000, on-line GM trade estimates showed range of $8,500 - $10,500 in the Elantra and Edmunds and KBB seemed to be in the same range. Original trade offer was $8500 which increased to $9300 to match net offer from CarMax just across the street.

    Several days later I contacted FB and they said we don't automatically ask you about diminished value, you have to request or file a claim for that. So, I amended the claim to include diminished value. About 4 weeks later the adjuster called. He summarized the accident, repair cost, rental, etc. and said they usually try to come up with some percentage of that. I gave him a rundown of the information I had. I thought before the accident the Elantra would probably fall in the $10,000 - $10,500 range based on the info I had, likely $10,000- $10,200 realistically. He said he was thinking $750 but if $800 would do it he would mail me a check and consider it done. I told he that was fair.

    I think that additional $800 just about got me the full value for the Elantra. Since I did trade it, I guess you could say I did actually realize the loss. If I had kept it then I guess it would estimate of decrease in value.

    Anyone else have any experience with Diminished Value claims? Just curious.

    Bill in Memphis, TN
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,780
    wlbrown9 said:

    I thought I should share my recent experience of being involved in an accident, insurance experience, repairs and DIMINISHED VALUE claim.

    Feb 26th I was rear-ended by a Honda Accord on the way to work in my 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS. Farm Bureau TN insured the other drive who was deemed to be at fault. Damages did not look that bad, but due to damage to a brace rail that runs underneath the length of the unibody, trunk lid and some taillight stuff repairs came to about $5700 plus 2 weeks in a rental vehicle. An adjuster I dealt for my insurance at Allstate told me that Tennessee was a state that allows diminished value.

    After repairs were finished I did not hear from FB about the diminished value. Over a month later after selling a third vehicle ('04 Envoy XL) I was in the market for a larger vehicle to replace both the Elantra and Envoy. I ended up trading the Elantra for a 2015 Chevy Traverse 1LT. During trade discussions the dealership estimated the accident decreased the market value by as much as $1000, on-line GM trade estimates showed range of $8,500 - $10,500 in the Elantra and Edmunds and KBB seemed to be in the same range. Original trade offer was $8500 which increased to $9300 to match net offer from CarMax just across the street.

    Several days later I contacted FB and they said we don't automatically ask you about diminished value, you have to request or file a claim for that. So, I amended the claim to include diminished value. About 4 weeks later the adjuster called. He summarized the accident, repair cost, rental, etc. and said they usually try to come up with some percentage of that. I gave him a rundown of the information I had. I thought before the accident the Elantra would probably fall in the $10,000 - $10,500 range based on the info I had, likely $10,000- $10,200 realistically. He said he was thinking $750 but if $800 would do it he would mail me a check and consider it done. I told he that was fair.

    I think that additional $800 just about got me the full value for the Elantra. Since I did trade it, I guess you could say I did actually realize the loss. If I had kept it then I guess it would estimate of decrease in value.

    Anyone else have any experience with Diminished Value claims? Just curious.

    Bill in Memphis, TN

    I do!

    From what I have gathered, legally the date that matters regarding Diminished Value is the date of the accident. That is the date the negligent driver has caused the value of your property to diminish, so it is the only relevant date. Your property can't truly be sold for approximately 30 days; it is unsalable, as it is in damaged condition prior to repairs, but that is through no fault of your own. Insurance companies would probably argue the contention that the date of relevant value is the date of the accident (loss) , but I see no merit for their side here.

    One day your property is worth X amount, the second after the accident it is now worth Y amount (assuming repairs will be made to industry standards). The difference between X and Y (not including the damage that is promised to be repaired to industry standards) is the diminished value. There is no need or reason for the sale to actually be made to prove loss. The loss exists whether you sell or not.

    Granted, if you keep the car your diminished value losses get lower over time, but the fact is you can't sell right away without incurring that cost and loss, so by default your options are limited in your ability to sell the vehicle. One day you had the option to sell the vehicle for its full value, the next you do not have that option; that's a loss in my book any way you slice and dice it.

    Lastly, it is important to remember that no State can exclude Diminished Value claims from 3rd parties. I believe 49 States exclude it from 1st party claims, but when someone causes you losses through no fault of your own, that is a 3rd party claim; which cannot be limited since you don't have a contract with them prior to the loss.

  • wlbrown9wlbrown9 Posts: 861
    Thanks for the comments. I agree with the timing. Talking with the FB adjuster, I think he was glad I had some research and an idea what might be a fair compensation. We took about 5 minutes on the phone to come to agreement and finish, assuming my check comes next week. Reasonable with little additional stress. Now if I had tried for say $2500 (don't know where I would find any data to support that anyway) we probably would not have worked anything out yesterday. If my Allstate adjuster had not said anything about DV, I might have missed that. I think I pretty much got my use out of the Elantra and with the trade and DV compensation feel I came out about where I should.

    good day

    Bill
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,780
    I unfortunately didn't come out where I should. The data showed my DV to be about 7,700 to 10,000; depending on who you asked or how you calculated it looking at actual cash values vs. it's actual as-is conditional value. That is because it was a 4.5 month old 54,095 MSRP Audi S4. DV is highest on a new or nearly new vehicle.

    Insurance company hired a criminal appraiser to come up with 1K in DV, the most they offered was 1.5K in
    DV just to appear they weren't acting in bad faith (which they were). After a small claim trial the judge awarded me $3K, twice what they wanted to pay, but still far less than what I actually lossed. I don't know how the judge came up with 3,000 to be honest. My best guess is he used the "average length of time an American keeps their car before they sell it" and used that date rather than the date of loss.
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