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Questions About Auto Insurance & Accidents



  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    The damage to the vehicle was pretty extensive, but the paramedics had to cut the roof off to extricate my daughter, so I'm guessing the car is a total loss.
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    You might be experience is that you receive the cost to replace the car with an identical car. For example, in Dec 2991,I bought a 2001 saab 9-5 wgn for 30,500. 6 months later, I was hit broadide, and car was totalled. I looked at getting another saab, but a used car less equipped than mine was running about 33,000 . My Ins company saw the 33K, adjusted for the options, added in tax, etc...ended up getting a check for abouyt 37K.
  • lindaylinday Posts: 7
    I was involved in a single car accident (which I described in posts located under Maintenance).

    In a nutshell, I drove my car over a parking lot divider and caused extensive damage to the under carriage. A control arm is disconnected, dings and scuffs and bent axle.

    Currently, the collision shop is working with the insurance company to provide an estimate. I have signed paperwork with a collision shop stating that I authorize them to go forward.

    However, after a second thought...I am thinking that I want to put everything on pause.

    I need more time with my insurance agent to talk about my options.

    I am considering...
    -- Stop work at the collision shop (pictures have been taken for insurance company, parts have been ordered from dealer, but no work has been performed YET).

    -- Find a junk yard that will buy my car (2000 Nissan Sentra with 36K miles)

    -- or Donate my car to charity (for tax write-off).

    My questions...
    -- Do I still have the "right" to halt the start of the work after the pictures have been taken?

    -- How if at all, will my insurance premium be affected if no insurance $ is paid-out

    -- What type of place do I go to sell this car?

    Thanks! I'm losing sleep over this. Any and all feedback is much appreciated.
  • Hi linday. You definitely should discuss your options with your insurance company prior to having any repairs done to your car. If you are lucky and the damage is extensive enough, you may be able to convince them to total your vehicle and you would be able to walk away from it, only having to pay your deductible. There is a great article here at on this subject: How Auto Insurance Companies Total Your Vehicle After You Total Your Vehicle. Having your Sentra totaled certainly would make your insurance go up, but probably not as much in total as the compensation that you would be able to get for your car. Unfortunately, given the fact that the shop that you took your car to has already done some work for you, in terms of taking pictures and ordering parts, they may want some sort of compensation if you decide not to move forward with your repairs. The bottom line is that you need to speak with a representative from your insurance company as soon as possible to discuss your options. If you wouldn't mind coming back and telling us, I would love to hear what they tell you and how things turn out. Good luck.



    Smart Shoppers / FWI Message Boards

  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Settled with our insurance company yesterday. Like we figured, the Tracker was totalled. Got a check for $8088, which covered the value of the Tracker, sales tax, minus the deductible. Since we had to pay $600 in sales tax to transfer the title, we effectively got about $7500 for a car we paid $8000 for 6 weeks earlier.

    Not great, but I suppose it could have been worse.
  • lindaylinday Posts: 7
    Mr. Car_man,
    The Insurance rep told me exactly what you described. Because the collision shop has started work on the car (taking photos and ordering parts), I or the Insurance Company would still have to pay for the rendered services.

    I have decided to go foward with the repairs. Currently, my damage estimate is $3700, up from the initial $2100.

    And I will keep everyone posted.

    Thanks for all the good advice.
  • Thanks for keeping us informed about your situation, linday. I, and I am sure other comunity members, am always interested in hearing updates on stories that people have posted in the Town Hall. Let us know how everything turns out.

    Smart Shoppers / FWI Message Boards
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    Not your car, so not covered by your insurance as you don't have "insurable intestest" in the car, but when you break it, you buy it. You are only responsible for the damage you did and not any pre existing damage. However, I would ask my insurance agent if your friends wheels could be considered a "borrowed" vehicle, but usually a substitue auto has to be replacing yours that is out of commission at the time of the crash.
  • y2kgtsy2kgts Posts: 48
    Recently I was involved in a pretty big accident and was not at fault (other driver ticketed and liability has already been assigned to and accepted by his insurance). Here is what my car, just three months old, looks like now:


    It actually looks *better* in this photo, as they pulled the front end out to try and start the car. The lowest estimate is around $11,000 to fix it, so it is not a total. So the insurance company wants to repair it and call it a day, whereas I am trying to replace it one way or another, as it was a new car. I understand that they only have to repair it by law, but I am one of those guys that tends to fight the system, especially when I feel I have been wronged, and I most certainly do in this case. Ironically, my insurance (unofficially) suggested a third party that deals with these situations a lot. His company buys MANY of the damaged vehicles from the owner while the insurance company pays the damages and diminished value. The idea is that these three things will bring up enough money to replace the car at fair market value.

    I will be the very first to acknowledge that this is emotionally motivated. Nevertheless, here are a few points I made to the third party guy:

    1. The other party was clearly at fault and is 100% liable. This, according to both the police and the insurance company. They were ticketed for disobeying posted traffic laws.

    2. The car was NEW – all of three months to be exact. I had just completed the entertainment system in it three days before the accident.

    3. The car will NEVER be the same, and the body shops and dealers acknowledge this. Not only is there at least $7,000 in diminished value (according to the GMC dealer), but also that very real satisfaction of owning a new car is GONE and cannot be repaired. The new car smell will be replaced by the smell of paint and glues. I am a car fanatic, as anyone that even knows me a little can attest. My cars are always spotless and perfectly maintained. This car will always have evidence of previous damage.

    4. All replacement mechanical parts are generally covered by a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty – not the vehicle’s original 3/36 or extended warranty coverage.

    5. The car may no longer eligible for the General Motors Protection Plan (extended warranty), as there will be permanent marks on the car’s records of extensive damage. This will show up for any Carfax viewer or auto dealership.

    6. The car will be very difficult to sell, if it ever comes to that. Even with “diminished value”, there are enough SUV’s on the market that a previously wrecked one will be difficult to sell. That, and just DRIVING a vehicle with extensive repairs when you had a BRAND NEW one three months earlier is simply not acceptable.

    Much as it pains me (and it really does), I fully understand what the laws are and my rights under those laws. I may be reluctantly singing that ol' tune: "I fought the law, and the law won..." Is there anything else I should or could be doing? Oh, and there was some injury on my part and I am seeing a doctor for neck and back injuries (the airbags did not deploy!).


  • I was in the same boat a few months ago. My 1 month old Civic SI was totalled fortunately and I didn't have to worry with driving it after having repairs to the front end. The difference between my car and yours might be whether or not your truck sustained any engine damage. That was the deciding factor for the other party's insurance company. From the pictures it doesn't look like your engine was under any stress. That's the bad part of buying a $50,000 car .. the damage has to be extremely extensive to total it.

    On the bright side, since it wasn't your fault you can demand that they use OEM parts and you can get it fixed at a shop of your choosing. There is a place here in Atlanta that makes the cars look better after the accident than it did before. You'll pay for it but it's definitely worth it if you have to drive the car afterwards.
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    You are not required to have it repaired at the lowest estimate shop, but at a shop of your choice. Most shops give a low ball estimate at first so as to "get it in the shop". There will be significant hidden damage that may raise the damage total up to $15,000. You are entitled to rent a comparable vehicle while yours is being repaired. The rental expense could approach $2,000 for such a replacement. Diminished Value is part of the equation. Thus, I recommend you buy another new Denali by trading yours in, as is, and let the amount allowed for diminished value and rental expense offset any depreciation. You would assign the proceeds of the claim draft to the dealer who would sell another new Denali to you, have a project for his body shop, & the sale profit of selling your old repaired one. The insurance company will save money, you will get a brand new Denali, and the dealer just has to work out the details with the insurance company. Good Luck to you.
  • y2kgtsy2kgts Posts: 48
    Thanks for the reply. It is now two weeks later and STILL no resolution! The insurance company finally decided to officially "extend coverage" based on the fact it was 100% their insured's fault. They say they will pay the repairs ($10,500), rental car, and *possibly* diminished value of a few thousand dollars. Mind you, this was a $52,000 car three months earlier when we bought it brand new. I have been offered $20,000 for it "as is". The insurance company will not total it nor come up with anything additional. Bottom line is that I am about to get stuck with a vehicle with extensive repairs when it was NOT my fault and the car was new before the hit. Very unhappy and frustrated, but no idea what else I can do at this point...

    Thanks again for your suggestion, I just wish my dealer would consider it (not interested they say).

  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    will you wish you had sued? IMO you are entitled to more than just a few thousand for diminished value. What is the $ cost of renting another Denali while yours is in the shop? Where did the "as is" offer of $20k come from? My crystal ball sees an attorney in your future. Good Luck.
  • y2kgtsy2kgts Posts: 48
    In answer to your questions:

    1. Yes, I suspect a lawsuit would probably be the best way to go, but whom do I sue?

    2. I agree I should get more for diminished value, but how? The only site I found that offers any such service wants $90 up front to give me a number.

    3. The only rental company that will direct bill is Enterprise. They mostly have low-end cars. When I finally raised a stink I managed to get a beat up Land Rover which reeks of smoke (so the family refuses to ride in it). I can't imagine anybody rents Denali's or anything close. If they did, I would have to pay out of my own pocket and hope to get reimbursed. With the way I am getting treated so far, that is not a risk I wish to take.

    4. The $20,000 comes from a company that buys wrecked vehicles. Ironically, the company name was given to me by my insurance company. Unfortunately, even with that $20,000, the repair cost, and a few thousand for diminished value, I am still short $9,000 of my payoff. Not to mention the down payment, 0% financing and everything else that goes away.

    And one other semi-amusing note: The car was a head-on (T-bone) collision at roughly 45 mph. Yet the airbags did NOT deploy. I contacted GM and asked them about this repeatedly. They said they would get someone in touch with me and never have. I wrote them again today and filed a complaint with the NHTSA (National Highway & Transportation Safety Administration). I had pipe dreams that between GM and State Farm I could simply replace the vehicle with the same model and move on. No such luck...

    Thanks for your help and feel free to let me know anything else you might suggest!

  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    The at fault driver delivers the Suit to his insurance company and from then on the adjuster deals only with your attorney. Be sure your attorney understands what you expect out of the company including your attorney fees, court costs, and other related expenses. Currently the adverse insurance company is betting your will not develop testicular fortitude, but will roll over and accept their egregious offer. Surprise them.

    As for the air bags failure, that is a separate issue with GM. What are the injuries sustained as a result of the failure? Any future correspondance with NHTSA should be cc'd to GM.

    Good Luck with a real good attorney.
  • I just found this board and need some advice on an accident that happened 6 months ago. My brand new Acura RSX-S was rear by a clunker that was uninsured. It wasn't bad enough that my brand new car was damaged but than to find out the guy was uninsured. I had to fork out my $500 duductible and now my car has an accident history.

    I call my insurance company every month to follow up on the case to do some justice on the guy but there is yet no action taken. The guy that hit me is dirt poor but I feel he needs to be punished some way for his negligence and actions. Any help from other insurance companies would be helpful.

  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    UM Bodlily injury and not Property Damage. Your car was then covered under your Collision coverage involving the $500 Deductible. Had you carried UMPD the deductible would have been $100 at the most.

    The insurance policy does not provide Punitive Action against the at fault party so you can't by contract use your company as a whip or pistol.

    When the adverse party is judgement proof, it is not profitable for your insurance company to try and get something out of nothing. The company has fulfilled its contract of insurance with you and that is all they are going to do. As to the punishing of the other driver, that too is not up to you. That your car has an accident history is too bad, but that's life and there's not insurance for "accident history".
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    My 1970 Buick GS (NOT a Skylark, a documented GS) was parked in my driveway, when a hailstorm hit Monday night. The storm included 1-3" of 2-2.5" hail, gusts up to 60MPH. I have full coverage, including comprehensive coverage, through my carrier, USAA. While there is hail damage on the driver's side (facing the storm) and top, the hood is the worst. It looks like the Dallas Cowboys had their pregame warmup drill on the hood while wearing cleats.

    Here's my question for the adjusters: I think the fenders and trunk can be repaired, the hood is very bad. What do the adjusters normally do when a part is not available new, and hard to find used or in the aftermarket? I suspect a good used hood is about $450-500, but at $60-70 per hour for shop labor, it won't take long for the labor to fix the old one to exceed the cost of a new one.

    Any suggestions you can offer will be appreciated.

  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    exceeds the TMV of the vehicle, it's a total. Unless that 33 year old Buick is worth a lot more than the typical common car of that year, don't expect a repair at all.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    The CPI guide (Cars of Particular Interest) used by several banks and credit unions around here rates the value at $8300 for average condition. The NADA guide values it at $8600.

    The estimate from the shop used by USAA as a direct estimator (they recognize the shop's estimate) is $4200. That's nowhere near the 80-85% value of the car in order to total it. However, my past few claims with USAA have all been very adversarial, so I expect them to come in and REALLY low ball me on the value of the car. When I had a '72 El Camino SS totalled by an uninsured driver, their first offer was $2300. HA!!! Ended up settling for about $7700, but only after I did a TON of research on the value of the truck. See why I expect them to be difficult?

    I expect the fun to start soon, with the usual dodges and stalls, such as them insisting their field adjuster come look at the car. This is in spite of the fact that the shop sends a ton of digital photos along with their estimate to USAA.

    I'll keep you posted as details develop. The saga continues......
  • Coming out of Ikea parking lot in Long Island, NY, I got into a car accident with a LONG BIG TRACTOR-TRAILOR.

    There were only two lanes. The right lane can only make right turns, and the left lane can only make left turns. You cannot go straight on this road. There are blatant signs as well as markings on the road that the right lane turns right and left lane turns left.

    So while I am driving down the street coming out of parking lot, I see the trailor stopped at the stop sign COMPLETELY ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE ROAD. Automatically, I assumed that he was going to make a right turn, as that is what the signs say. So I pull up on the left of him, because I wanted to make a left turn. I stopped about halfway to the very front of the trailor, when I realized that I was not able to see oncoming traffic on the right hand side. I came to a complete stop when ALL OF A SUDDEN, the trailor proceeds to make a left turn on the right lane. He completely sideswiped the side of my car and there is SUFFICIENT damage to the entire right side of the car. He didn't even realize what he was doing and I had to honk like crazy for him to stop.

    When the officer was talking to me, he kept on saying that you should stay clear of large vehicles and that they make wide turns and that the driver of trailor cannot see me because I was in his blind spot.

    Of course, I know they make wide turns. I just thought he was going to make a right instead of left. I did not notice his blinkers, because if I had, I would have stopped behind the truck.

    The truck driver claims that I was in his blind spot and points out the sign in the back of the trailor, that says "WIDE TURNS." But my point is that
    1. he was in the wrong lane
    2. although i may have been in his blind spot, does not mean that nobody is there. Cars have blind spots too, and that is why people turn their heads back and to the side before turning or changing lanes, etc.

    Who is at fault here?
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    trucker is responsible for his. When any vehicle makes a left turn from the right lane, the burden of safety in doing so rests 100% on the vehicle in this case the trucker. The sign on his truck is advisory only and does not give him permission to drive in the manner he did. Same with the blinkers. They could have been blinking for miles before he arrived at the intersection. Bottom line is not the sign, nor the blinkers, but the driving behavior of the trucker. Many insurance contracts have up to $1,000 deductible for Property Damage claims of Commercial Auto policies & that is usually paid by the driver so he will be very defensive.
  • But if the truck had his blinker on and the space was limited the driver should have yielded because it would've been obvious what his intentions were. And it's also a little fishy that the driver stopped halfway to the front of the trailer. Maybe the driver saw that the truck was turning but it was too late to get out of it's way. It's too hard to make a judgement in this scenario with only one side of the story.

    Was anyone issued a citation for a traffic violation?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    ,,,but I remember a 'Judge Wapner' on Peoples Court about something like this. Trucker turned right, sideswiping someone that had driven into the lane to his right.

    The only thing the trucker had to say was 'I've got to use both lanes to make that turn with the truck and trailer'.

    Only thing Wapner said was 'You are legally responsible to keep your vehicle in its marked lanes'. And the trucker lost.

    Apparently the USofA has lots of trucks that have no possibility of obeying the 'lane displine' laws of the country.
  • If the truck had his blinkers on and a sign saying that it makes wide turns then it wasn't his fault. I know that I personally always give the 100 ton truck right of way when I am in my 1 ton car.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Just re-inforcing 'kinley', the expert's, opinion.
  • If your state has compulsory liability insurance laws, you can contact your state DMV to see how you get the character reported to them.

    In some states, you must get a judgment against the party. In others, all you need is an accident report and their failure to file proof of insurance with DMV.

    The driver's license of the offender will then be revoked until damages are paid and insurance obtained.

    If the person has any property, you can sue in small claims court (with your ins co's permission). Then, levy on any non-exempt assets the person may own.

    At least you'll bust his cojones. You can also register the judgment at the courthouse to screw up his credit and make it impossible for him to get a mortgage w/o paying you.
  • im about to finance a used car through my credit union and theres this question bugging me for the last couple of days ...

    since it is the first car i have to finance(all previous cars were paid cash) i am wondering what will it happen if i get in an accident with that car that i finance and that is not paid off. will the insurance company pay the amount of money owed to the bank or will i get the full value of that car at that time so i can pay off the rest of the loan and get my money back(payment money).

    i'd really appreciate your inputs on this matter.
  • It is bad enough that drivers have no insurance but what when they don't even have a license and can't read the signs in English?! My Nissan was busted 2 years ago when it was only 6 months old by a 18 year old with no license, no insurance (and no income) failing to yield at a light. There was a cop on the spot and he was cited but IMHO he should have been jailed too! I didn't have UIM at the time and had to go under my collision coverage. My insurance company was able to eventually recover my deductible and got the guy to pay $50/mo but forget about diminished value!
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