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Replacement Cost by Insurance Company for Totaled Vehicle

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    I don't think certified adds anything, no. It's more of a sales tool than an actual add-on option.

    You may have to go to arbitration since you are so far apart on value. As for comparables, you should really be looking at private party sales and so should they, as dealer asking prices are generally quite inflated as they hope to catch an uninformed buyer.

    If you gave details of your car (model, make, year, options, condition, miles, etc.) I might be able to come up with a ballpark number and you can compare that to what you want to see if you are being realistic.

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  • luckymomluckymom Posts: 5
    It's a 2001 Caddy SLS. about 40,000 miles (probably less- that's what we agreed upon, though)- was in near perfect condition. This car was babied- didn't even have any parking lot dings... Just had new tires and brakes put on (less than 2 weeks prior to accident). All the options are pretty much standard- I think the only things it's missing were cd changer and bose stereo.

    I think the thing that's ticking me off is they are willing to use a buy here/pay here dealer that deals in auction cars, but not a regular dealer. I understand nobody pays full retail, but really a buy here pay here dealer price is more legitimate???
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    I think if they offered me around $18.5K I'd take it and feel okay with that. I'd probably even settle for $17K but I'd start whining below that I guess.

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  • rellimdrrellimdr Posts: 3
    The insurance company just offered us $4700 for our totaled ''95 s10 blazer. They said that if we wanted to buy it back it would be about $1200. Does that sound right? I thought buy back was around 10% of the vehicles worth.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    They can charge whatever they want I believe (not aware of any law but your state might be different than mine, so you can check with your State Insurance Bureau or call Consumer Affairs for your State or County).

    Yes, my experience is that 10%-13% is about the norm. Are you sure they aren't wrapping your deductible into this number?

    Also, they must offer you tax and license fees on top of that $4,700, but if you buy the car back they don't owe you tax and license fees.

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  • rellimdrrellimdr Posts: 3
    The girl that hit the blazer was found totally at fault. So her insurance company is the one handleing everything.
    So as of now her ins. is paying us $4700 and they're giving us a tax waiver for up to that amount to pay for license on a replacement car.
    Here is a photo of the damage.
    http://www.frycustom.com/users/chevyscrounger/Pictures/blazerwreck/rear.JPG
    I hoped it could be bought for $470 so this $1200 just seemed a little over the top.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Oh I think that car is hurt very badly. Personally I'd think twice if I were you about buying it back. You could never fix it for $1,200 certainly. Why do you even want it? Parts or something?

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  • rellimdrrellimdr Posts: 3
    For parts, I would have no intention of fixing it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Well maybe you could negotiate something....like "okay insurance company, tell you what....give me $4,000 + tax and license + my car and we have a deal" (I just picked those numbers out, you might need more...).

    Try to work a deal with them where they can give you cash + the car. Right now they are essentially (it sounds like) offering you $3,500 + the car ($2,500 = $1,200) + tax and license. Sounds like you'd settle for something like $4,700 minus say $500 bucks to get the car back...so you want $4,200 plus the car in other words--something like that? So really you might only be $500-$700 apart here---well within the realm of negotiating. Give them your counter-offer and tell them here's a chance to clear their books on it.

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  • benc1benc1 Posts: 1
    Last week i was sitting at a red light and was rear ended by a drunkdriver at 50mph. (actually he hit the car behind me). Neither the drunk driver nor the driver behind me had car insurance. Today i was called by the claims guy saying that the car was to be totaled. It was a 2001 VW Passat GLS with 49K miles and i live in phoenix AZ.

    My prognosis doesn't look good... what kind of market value could i expect?

    ~Ben
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    You can go to www.edmunds.com, click on "used cars", then click on "appraise" and fill in all pertinent information. You can use the "dealer retail" as your target price. This system we use at Edmunds is called True Market Value. You should print it out for your adjuster.

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  • joannesjoannes Posts: 3
    Hello all, I hope I am doing this forum correctly. My son got in a car accident this morning, he and passenger are fine, but it looks like the car may be totaled, so I'd like to be prepared when the adjuster comes by so we fully know our options. The car is a 2005 LS Sports Coupe Chevy Cavalier, it's 4 months old and has only 1,500 miles. I'm so confused as to what I should expect...I've read some articles which say the insurance company is supposed to find you a comparable car, but I cant' believe that's going to happen. Would it be silly for us to expect the insurance company to write us out a check for the full amount we paid? PLEASE, would someone direct me to some sites where I can learn a bit more, or explain in simple layman's terms what to expect. I greatly appreciate your time in helping us sort this whole mess out.
  • joannesjoannes Posts: 3
    Hello all, I hope I am doing this forum correctly now. I originally put my question as a reply. Anway, my son got in a car accident this morning, he and passenger are fine, but it looks like the car may be totaled (esp. after I read they could decide to total it if it costs 51% more than the cash value). I'd like to be prepared when the adjuster comes by next week so we fully know and understand our options. The car is a 2005 LS Sports Coupe Chevy Cavalier, it's 4 months old and has only 1,500 miles. I'm so confused as to what I should expect...I've read some articles which say the insurance company is supposed to find you a comparable car, but I cant' believe that's going to happen. Would it be silly for us to expect the insurance company to write us out a check for the full amount we paid? Because it's so new, I doubt I can find any similar cars to compare, other than brand new ones. I will talk to the car dealer Monday morning and pick his brain, but PLEASE, in the meantime, would someone direct me to some sites where I can learn a bit more, or explain in simple layman's terms what to expect. Even tho our insurance covers a rental car, we don't plan on using that option just yet--it's too easy a solution and would make life too easy--I think my 19 year old needs to understand what consequences his bad decision resulted in. I greatly appreciate your time in helping us sort this whole mess out when it comes to totaling a car. Where should I start? Thank you.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    No you can't expect to receive the entire purchase price of the car because your car is now a "used car" regardless of mileage. True, it's not very used but nonetheless your car has suffered the full one year depreciation.

    To put it another way, given the choice between your car with 1,500 miles on it and a brand new un-driven identical car with 5 miles on it, which one would a person buy if the price were the same for both? Right, the new one.

    Now then, the goal of this negotiation is to decide HOW MUCH LESS you would have to offer your car for, with its 1,500 miles, in order to get that buyer to NOT buy the new car, but to buy yours.

    As you can see, to tempt the buyer, you'd have to give them a "break" off the new car price.

    How much? Well that is arguable. Probably somewhere between what a new car sells for and what a rental car from Hertz sells for after 10,000 miles. Somewhere in there.

    Keep in mind too that if your car is totalled, the insurance company ALSO has to under law give you back your sales tax and license fees, so that's probably another 8%. So when they make their offer, make sure they haven't already blended in the tax and license, because that makes their offer sound more generous than it is.

    Hope this helps.

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  • joannesjoannes Posts: 3
    Thank you, Mr. Shiftright, I certainly will look into what a rental car from Hertz sells for as well! That's a great idea. I pulled out my car insurance contract, and if I am reading it correctly, it sounds as though my carrier will replace a new car--same year, make, model, options--with another new car. I know this is hard to believe and almost too good to be true (see #4 http://aarp.thehartford.com/mypolicy/guide/policy_guide.pdf) but I definitely will ask about it when the adjuster comes by. Being optimistic that this may be the case, I'm also going to have my dealer do a search to see if he can find an identical car to the one my son has. If this ends up being the case, I'll definitely post and let everyone know! Thanks again.
  • samirssamirs Posts: 3
    2001 MDX Acura was in an accident. My fault.
    Estimate without a teardown is 14500. Expect the cost to go up a few grand after the tear down at the body shop. Only the front end was damages. The engine, tranny and everything from behind the front wheels is fine.
    I would prefer the car to be called as totalled and take the money to buy a new (used) MDX.
    Does anyone know how does Geico decide if the car was totalled?
    the used 2001 MDX are around 22000.
    thanks
    samir
  • conway1conway1 Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 dodge ram 1500 truck. I pulled out in front of someone and they hit the front passenger corner, it knocked me to the left and up into an electrical pole. there was major front end damage. the front passenger tire was basically broke off. when the truck was placed on jack stands and the brake line was removed, you could lay the tire on its side while still attached to the truck. and minor damage down both sides, broke windshield etc... the ADP fair market value came back as 15500.00. the repair estimates came to 7700.00 before the truck was tore down. this did not call for totalling the truck out. the cost of repair eventually came to around 8500.00. i now have my truck back and its a peice of crap. it is three years old, and has only 19000 miles on it, and now it rides and sounds like a 3 year old truck with 70000 miles on it. it has creeks and rattles, and just doesnt ride the same. what options do i have? do i have a good chance at winning if i take triple AAA to court? i think they should have totalled the truck. is it possible for me to get them to still do it as totalled? sale the truck, give me the difference to make the 15500.00 (fair market value), i pay the truck off and still walk away with my 4000.00 equity for a down payment on a new one? Any advie would be appreciated.... thanks!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    You're close to total...insurance companies vary but just call them up and they'll tell you at what percentage of Fair Market Value they will total....my impression is 60-80% of current book value.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    If it was the other person's fault, you can file a claim with their insurance company for Diminution of Value; if you were at fault and your insurance company paid everything, then your contract with them makes it nearly impossible for you to file a claim for Diminution.

    About your only option if your insurance company paid for everything is to consult with an attorney and sue the insurance company for acting in bad faith, which would be a violation of their contract. IMO. I'm not an attorney, just throwing out ideas for you.

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  • conway1conway1 Posts: 2
    The accident was my fault. Unfortunately, I was told that diminished value does not apply to Arkansas. Thanks for the advice, I will see what options I have with an attorney.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    All I know for sure is that insurance companies are regulated by state laws to act in good faith when they settle. This seems to me the only door you have open to you.

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  • My husband has a 2004 Porsche Carerra 4S, less than 2 years old, 8500 miles. He was in an accident on 4th of July. Briefly went like this: he was following a driver in a very old Camaro going 10 miles under the speed limit on the fwy, flashed his brights at the guy in front to speed up, the guy in front hit his brakes (probably an obcene gesture at my husband for having a nicer car) & spun out on the fwy. doing donuts in front of my husband who tried to steer around but instead was pushed into the median & came to a dead stop from 55mph. Very fortunately no one was injured & miraculously, the Camaro had no damage. The Camaro driver claims it was my husband's fault and that he he (my husband) hit him (the other driver). That seems impossible since the Camaro had no damage & my husband's car was demolished in the front & passenger side whose airbag deployed. The CHP came to take a report & the officer refused to take a side, possibly siding with the less affluent driver of the old car which the driver admitted needed some maintenance & that he hadn't driven in awhile. He admitted to being a car mechanic.
    The car was taken to a body shop recommended & partially owned by the Porsche dealer the car was purchased from. The insurance adjuster claimed the damages to be only $14,000 while the body shop gave an estimate of $28,000 which has now climbed to a bill of $44,000 and the car is still pulling to the right. I suggested in the beginning that the car should be a total. It's now "fixed" but the after market paint job is as good as it gets but still doesn't look like the original factory paint job & there's obviously some mechanical issue. I'm also concerned about metal fatigue - all those bolts, joints, etc. that get stressed under that sort of impact.
    We thought of selling the car but now there's a Carfax report showing the accident so who would possibly buy this car? I feel that the insurance company should be making us "whole" in this situation and buy the car from us for the the depreciated used car retail value of $79,345 + tax. That only seems fair to me. As is, the depreciation from new is over $20,000 without the accident and we haven't even had the car 2 years. Is it right that the insurance company should force us to accept this car? I doubt we could get $50-60,000 for this car now that it's had so much repair work. $44,000 is more than the new value of the average vehicle & that kind of damage on 99% of all cars out there would equate a total. In the case of this car, it's 55% of the value so following normal % calcalations by insurance companies, the spread between the repair cost & value of the car is too high. But shouldn't they really calculate the % based upon what the car would be worth after the repair which would make the repair cost possibly a much higher % of the after-accident value?
    Please help with my dilemma. I've unfortunately had a couple of totalled cars 25 & 30 years ago (avoiding drunk drivers coming towards me) and always got replacement value+ tax from my insurance-CSAA at that time.. Those cars back then were $4000 cars so it took little damage to qualify a total. I thank you in advance for any advice you can give me in dealing with my insurance co. I'm waiting for a call from a supervisor at Travelers.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Well totalling the car is the insurance company's decision to make not yours or the insurance laws, unless the damage reaches a certain percentage (I think about 80% under the law, but don't quote me).

    Now if your car had been struck you'd be in a much better position in that you could sue the other insurance company for Diminution of Value after the repair---that is, while your car was fixed it is worth less than a "normal one" and so you want to sue for the difference in market value.

    But since it is only your own insurance company that is involved, you can't sue them for Diminution of Value under the law (again, check again in your individual state law).

    You probably need an attorney to sort all this out but offhand I'd say you aren't in a very good position unfortunately.

    On the bright side, the car was not totalled so doesn't have a salvage title. While you will have to reveal that your car was damaged, if you have all receipts and the work was done flawlessly, you probably won't have to discount the car too much...not like you would if it were a totalled car.

    But go see an attorney who knows insurance law. If the car is not performing as it should, this may be your legal lever. Your car is supposed to be fixed "good as new"..it can't steer funny. The insurance company has to make it right, but they don't have to total it, no.

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  • abma75abma75 Posts: 3
    MY VAN WAS HIT BY A CAR THAT DID NOT STOP AT A POSTED STOP SIGN. THEIR INSURANCE COMPANY WANTS TO PAY OFF THE CAR AND KEEP IT FOR SALVAGE. I AM NOT WILLING. I HAVE NO TRANSPORTATION AND HAVE BEEN PAYING THE CAR NOTES AS USUAL. THE AMOUNT THAT IS LEFT ON THE CAR IS NOT ENOUGH TO GET ANOTHER CAR AND I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT THE CAR CAN BE FIXED BY MY MECHANIC. DO I HAVE TO LET THEM PAY THE CAR OFF AND TAKE THE CAR,SINCE I WOULD BE GETTING NOTHING THAT WOULD HELP ME PURCHASE ANOTHER CAR? ALSO SINCE IT WAS THE OTHER DRIVERS FAULT WHY AM I THE ONE THAT SEEMS TO BE PUNISHED?
  • abma75abma75 Posts: 3
    MY INSURANCE COMPANY SHOULD BE HELPFUL IN THIS SITUATION SHOULDN'T IT? WHAT HELP SHOULD I EXPECT FROM THEM IF ANY? DO YOU HAVE THE WEB SITE ADDRESS FOR THE NORTH CAROLINA INSURANCE COMMISSION SO I CAN ASK QUESTIONS OF THEM. THANK TOU.
  • i have a 2002 neon 85k miles. ingested water after going thru puddle. motor is locked, can't crank it with a breaker bar even with the plugs out. without knowing what is wrong an aig adjuster looks at it and says they will pay for a replacement engine from the junkyard. he states they are replacing with equal or better value. i say i have receipts showing oil changes every 3 - 5 thousand miles and tuneups on my motor, what can they produce to show the junkyard motor is of equal quality? they state it is up to my mechanic to determine the quality of the junkyard engine. is this normal?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    This is a duplicate post and has already been addressed in the Technical Questions forum. Always try to limit a post to one forum until such time when you're sure you haven't gotten an answer back...then try another.

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  • A Toyota 4Runner ran into the back of our 1998 Protege. The car will likely be totaled due to the rear end damage. We no longer had collision coverage, so the other insurer will be paying for the car. The other insurance company's appraiser came when we were out and wrote that our car was in "fair" condition and had previous hood and roof damage. The "damage" in each place is a tiny ding that is not deep and didn't affect the paint (no rust on the car). In fact, the light must shine on the car at the correct angle to see the "damage." The car has always been maintained well because it is our only car. I'm not looking for a lot of $, but true FMV for a car that has been very well maintained but (admittedly) needed a wash. Any suggestions on how to proceed with the insurance company? Thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    If you don't agree with the company's appraiser you can get your own appraiser and submit that appraisal to the insurance company. Since you have no contract with the other insurance company, you can also take them to court, and probably you are also under no obligation to accept the findings of an arbitration and you can also sue them for diminution of value even if they fix your car up for you.

    If this were your own insurance company you'd have a lot more restrictions placed on you by contract.

    But yes, next step...if you are not satisfied with the settlement, is to hire your own appraiser.

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  • Thanks for your message. I'm not exactly sure where to get an independent appraiser in a timely fashion. I contacted one around here (DC area) who said it would take several weeks to appraise it, and I don't know how to find other ones. I think I'm going to find as many classified ads within 50 miles as I can and go over my valuation (based on those ads) if the insurance company has a significantly different valuation.

    On a related topic, typically how long does an insurance company give you on a rental car they're paying for when (1) their driver admits liability and (2) your car is totaled, thus requiring purchase of another car? (We only had one car for two working adults before the accident, so another car is a necessity.) Thanks again.
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