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Replacement Cost by Insurance Company for Totaled Vehicle



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    The rental terms are in your policy. All policies are different in this regard.

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  • Thanks, but I don't have a policy with the other driver's insurance company. I wondered if there was a ballpark figure for number of days they'll give us in a rental to look for a new car after their driver totals ours.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    I think you have to call them. I don't think they have to give you any rental at all if they don't want to. Your own insurance company might offer this, though, if it's part of your policy and charge it back to the other company if they can. Insurance law is very complex, so really I have no idea how this is going to come down in the end.

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  • Thanks again.
  • jrynnjrynn Posts: 162
    I'd respectfully suggest that the host is mistaken.

    If the OTHER driver was at fault, then the OTHER driver's insurance company should provide you with

    (1) EITHER (A) [If your car can be repaired] The gross diminution in value (which consists of the repair cost PLUS the "residual diminution") or (B) [If your car is totalled] The fair market value of your car at the time of the accident.


    (2) The value of loss of use of your car.

    In the real world, loss of use is usually dealt with thru rental cars. In the repair case, a typical rental length would be the time for repair. In a replacement case, rental length depends on how long it's "reasonable" for you not to acquire a new car. If you can't afford a new car without the insurance company's settlement check, then they should be paying for your rental til they cut it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    No, sorry to disagree, but the other insurance company is *definitely* not going to just give you diminution of value. You'll have to get a Diminution of Valule appraisal first from an independent appraiser and submit that to the other insurance company. They may give it to you or they may fight you. They are not obliged to give this to you. Consult an attorney on details.

    As for rental cars, I agree they "should" provide you with one, but what I'm saying is that I don't believe there is any law compelling them to do so because they have no contract with you.

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    The adverse carrier will fight you on your claims for:

    Diminuation of Value

    Rental Cost while being repaired

    Sales Tax if your vehicle is totaled, yet if repaired, they do pay sales tax.

    It is up to the Claimant to "prove" his loss and document all of his proof. Insurance companies do NOT operate like FEMA in a hurricane. :D
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    Oh I know they fight like cornered weasels when it comes to Diminution of Value. I've never seen one voluntarily offer it.

    On rental cars, you never know...some are sympathetic (up to a point), some adversarial...sometimes I have even heard that they'll bribe you by asking you to settle your claim with them quickly regarding medical liability....just sign here and we'll get you that rental car...

    People have to keep in mind that insurance companies just run by the system...they don't care if you win a few and they don't care if they lose a few, as long as the numbers come out in the black in that Big Balance Sheet in the Sky.

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  • Don't know about the diminution of value, but here's my experience last December. When my wife was rear-ended, we only got a rental car because we had it on our own policy. Her car wasn't totaled, though, just in the shop for a month.

    Our insurance (Progressive) then submitted what they had paid to the other driver's company. So it pays to have rental car on your own policy even if the other driver is at fault.
  • ap11ap11 Posts: 2
    Hello …All.

    Your advice is appreciated to settle this insurance claim.

    I am in the process to settle a claim with the insurance company of the driver who hit my car.

    Here’s a recap:

    • The insurance claim adjuster completed inspection of my car and they claimed that based on their “value Factors” they used, the estimate repair of $3,100.00 is too high for the value of the car.

    • He gave 2 possible options:
    1- Total loss - They will take car and pay me for the market value of the car.

    2- Owner retain car - They will give me less than $3,100.00

    They’re submitting documents to their in-house adjuster to write up the options.

    I told them that the damage is just cosmetic and I want to keep the car.

    I mentioned that If want it to sell this car “today” prior to his/her client running into my car I could get $5,940.00. (Estimate based on Kelley Blue Book).

    Please note, I’m still waiting from their in-house adjuster with the 2 options amount offers.

    Based on the summary above, can you give me tips on how proceed with this claim.

    What happens if their offered is very low? What happens if I refused their offer?

    Thanks for your help in this matter.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    You have a right to hire your own appraiser. If your appraiser comes in higher, then you submit that as the real value of the car. If your insurance agent won't pay the higher amount, then you have to go into arbitration. This whole process might cost you an additional $500, but you'll probably get more $$$ in the arbitration than if you just settled with your insurance company.

    In many states, the insurance company is required by law to total the car if the damage is a certain % of fair market value.

    so if you can boost the total fair market value, they might then fix the car.

    I have to say though that your estimate of value seems quite high. I suspect $3,000--$3,500 is about right unless perhaps the car was in stunning condition with very low miles.

    You might just pay the appraiser a small amount for a "look see" before he goes through an entire appraisal. He may encourage or discourage you.

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  • ap11ap11 Posts: 2
    Thanks for your message. If their 2 options comes with low amount, I might consider your suggestion.

    Again, thanks for your advice.

  • djhodjho Posts: 2
    Hello there,

    I am dealing with an insurance company and would apprepriate some advice from car/insurance experts.

    I paid about $25,000 in 2003 for a new Mazda 6, top of the line, fully loaded. This car has just 15000 miles on it now and it was hit while parked on the side of the street and it has been totalled. The KBB fair market value is $19,000 for retail and $14,500 for trade in. The insurance company (of the other driver) says they will pay me $15,000 for my car.
    Given that I paid $25K (including tax & license) and will probably have to pay $19K + TL, which is about $21K, if I want to buy the same car back. The $15K figure from insurance company is not even close to what I conside fair.

    What would be a fair amount that I should expect from the insurance company and if the offer from them is way off from this fair value, what options do I have?

    Any help or suggestion is greatly apprepriated.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    Well why don't you use the Edmunds Appraisal Software here:*

    And see what you get. Use the "customized appraisal" feature when that option pops allows you to plug in options, your geographical location, color of the car, etc.

    Insurance companies will rarely, if ever, offer you Kelley Blue Book retail. It's simply too high, as it tends to represent dealer asking prices. Edmunds is (usually) more in tune with actual realized prices.

    If the Edmunds amount is more than what they are offering you, print out the Edmunds results and forward it to them...and the Kelley printout as well, why not?

    If they don't raise their offer, you can go to non-binding arbitration and you can also sue them, since this is a third party insurance company that you didn't sign a deal with.

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  • rsxelratersxelrate Posts: 1
    I recently had a 2002 Acura RSX type S stolen. The car was found and is totaled. They have yet to offer me a figure for replacement of my car, but I know it is not going to cover the 8,000 dollars I have put into it. Is it possible to dispute the figure with similar cars with aftermarket parts? What do you think I should settle for? Do insurance companies typically compensate aftermarket parts? I was talking to a AAA adjuster and he said he would honor a percentage of them, but my adjuster with Farmers said a straight "No." Should I demand to talk to a manager? My parents, whose name the car and insurance is under, has been with them for a LONG time. Thank you for your responses as the loss is heartbreaking (I've saved for a car since I was 6 years old)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    That's rotten luck. Sorry to hear about that. I hope the thief wakes up with two heads tomorrow.

    You'll have to read your policy regarding "betterment". Some companies have stricter policies than others, because they don't want to be responsible for insuring a Honda that someone has poured $100,000 into without telling them. Their argument is that you didn't pay premiums on a $100K car, so you don't get insured for a $100K car.

    If you were offered a percentage of your betterment, I'd consider taking that. The rationale here is that your aftermarket parts are no longer new, they are "used parts" and should be valued as garage sale items, not new items.

    Remember, you can bargain, offer receipts, and also go to arbitration. You don't have to settle for what they first offer you, but you do have to be realistic about the terms of your policy and what is attainable.

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  • rhrrhr Posts: 9
    My elderly neighbor backed into our parked 1995 Ford ClubWagon full-size van (145,000 miles). Initially, her son offered to pay without taking it to insurance and recommended auto body repair place. We took it there and they estimated the damage at $5000 and said that the insurance company will probably total it. We have no collision on this vehicle. We have contacted her insurance company and are waiting for the appraiser to come out.

    From the research we've done, it looks like the car could be worth anywhere from $3000 to $5000, but we're guessing it will be on the low side as we use this car for transporting food and it is only in fair condition. Our concern is that we use this van for business and can't afford to buy a new one unless we get the higher figure to use for a downpayment or that amount to repair it as that is what the estimate said it would be.

    We are very worried because losing this car will affect our livelihood and don't know what to do. Any suggestions as to how we should proceed and how likely it will be that it will be considered totalled?

    We are so grateful for any suggestions or information.
  • rhrrhr Posts: 9
    Forgot to mention that insurance company we are dealing with is Ohio Casualty.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    Sounds like it may be totaled if you let insurance handle it. In many states, the insurance company is required to total it by law, but I don't know how this works in your state.

    Best thing I can think of is for you to find out what the "buy-back clause" is, that is, what percentage of the van's value you have to pay to get the car back from the insurance company once they pay you fair market value for it. (usually it's like 10%-13%).

    Then you can drive it on a salvage title, and take the money to hopefully find a cheaper body shop to get it looking decent again.

    It's not fair I know, but you are kind of trapped in the system of how insurance works.

    Your other alternative is to help the kid out and try to find a shop that will fix it for less than $5,000 (seems like a lot of money--did he back into it at 40 mph?), and let the kid pay you out of pocket.

    I wouldn't "take payments" but I might take collateral + cash if he has anything of value.

    You can go to any body shop you want even if insurance is paying. If you can get a body shop to fix it for maybe 80% of what the appraisal is, then it won't have to be totalled. But even if it's totalled, so what, if you can buy it back and drive it.

    I'm thinking you could take say a $3,000 settlement, put it down on a 2006 Scion xB (a cheap van) and have payments of maybe $225 a month or so.

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  • rhrrhr Posts: 9
    Thanks for your help. It was hit by my 83 yr. old next-door neighbor. She was not going very fast so we were all quite surprised at the amount of damage that the body shop estimated. Her son wanted to take care of it for her when he thought the cost would be around $1500. We did approach him after seeing how this was playing out, but he did not offer to pay any money or settle it without insurance.

    We live in PA - how do I find out the state's policy?

    How do we figure out which fair market value to use? When I look at the Edmunds site, it lists three values (dealer trade-in, private party, and dealer retail). Am I correct in assuming that it's the dealer retail as that is what it would cost us to buy another one?
  • rhrrhr Posts: 9
    One more question -

    Should we tell the insurance company person that we have that $5000 estimate or see what they say?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    No, wait for the insurance company's appraisal report. If you don't like it, you can hire your own appraiser (if you think there's a prayer that it'll come in can always ask an appraiser to do a fly by just to see IF he would maybe please appraise it you give him a small fee to advise you before you pay him a larger fee to write up an appraisal that might not do you any good).

    If the van is only in fair shape, perhaps you could cut the old man a break and see what Miracle Auto Body would charge for the work. It seem a shame to put totally professional bodywork on a van that might be less than perfect...the repair might make the rest of the van look not so good....still you deserve at least a decent repair.

    Probably you should use the Edmunds Dealer Price to show to the insurance company. That might be a bit more than your van in its present condition, but you're going to need all the armament you can get on this one.

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  • addee82addee82 Posts: 1
    My 2004 Nissan Xterra was hit while parked in front of my house by an uninsured driver involved in a high speed chase. She was going 40 when she hit me and there were 45 feet of skid marks. The speed limit in the area was 25.

    I want to know how the insurance company will decide whether the car was totaled. Is it based on a percentage of total value or the type of damage done? It will probably be at least a week before an adjuster looks at the car and I am driving myself crazy thinking about "what ifs". The radiator was ripped out, the oil can busted, two doors won't open at all, 3 tires popped, 2 wheels bent (maybe broken axles), and that doesn't begin to describe what it looks like. I am scared!

    My insurance company is State Farm. If anybody has a clue I would appreciate it!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    yeah, percentage of fair market value will determine the decision to be made.

    Don't worry, you might come out all right on this. Sounds like a total to me, though.

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  • rhrrhr Posts: 9

    I really appreciate everyone's previous advice and hope you don't mind if I ask for more.

    Since I last posted, here's where we are:

    To recap, my elderly neighbor backed into our 1995 Ford Clubwagon ($145,000 miles) and put a good size dent in it. We do not have collision on this vehicle and she admitted liability and her insurance company (Ohio Casualty) has accepted that.

    Ohio sent out an appraiser who determined that the van was not totalled, but he said this was "predicated on the idea that the side panel of the van could be repaired - not replaced." They issued a check for $2076 to cover the cost of the repairs.

    Originally, we had been told by one body shop that it would cost $5000 to replace the panel which would result in the van being totalled. We went around to at least six other places to see what they thought. The majority of them would not even consider doing a repair on the panel; they felt it needed to be replaced because there was "so much plastic involved." However, we did find one place that said they would try and repair it using a used panel and that it would more likely come in around $3500.

    The appraiser from Ohio had instructed me to tell the shop to contact him if there was any discrepancy between Ohio's estimate for repair and the body shop's. They have been trying to reach the adjustor for the last couple of days and have not been able to do so. Now, they say that maybe they should get the car in there, take it apart, and then see what's happening. They hope they can get a used panel, but they're not sure. They also are not sure how it will look; probably look ok, but might be "wavy."

    Our problem with this is that the van is still driveable and we need it for our business, so we can't afford to have it sitting somewhere while they take it apart and wait for the insurance company to get back to them.

    So - what I am wondering now is what our rights are? Do we get a choice in how this goes down? In other words, if the van is not going to look that good, do we get the option of having it totalled and taking the money to put down on another van? We called the insurance adjustor to ask him what value the appraisor had given him, but he said that the appraisor hadn't assessed a value because the car was repairable. We asked him the question I posed above and he said that unless the apraisor told him the car was totalled, there was nothing he could do.

    So - I'm not sure what the best thing to do is. The appraisor had mentioned that the car value might be around $4500, but nothing firm. Since the car is in what he considers "fair" condition (got this info. from the estimate we received), maybe it would be less? Still, we could get stuck with a van that is repaired for $2076, doesn't look that good, and then what?

    Sorry to go on so long, but felt it important to lay out all the facts. Any insights or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    Well a damage appraiser is different than a value appraiser.

    If a damage appraiser doesn't offer you enough to fix the van, then you take one or two estimates from body shops and complain to their insurance company.

    If they say "oh, the van isn't worth that much", then they should offer you the fair market value for the van prior to damage, and this is done by a value appraiser, not a damage appraiser as a rule.

    Of course, one person COULD do both I suppose, although personally if a total is involved I'd like to have an impartial inspection rather than have it done by an employee of the insurance company. You think he's going to be generous? Probably not.

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  • rhrrhr Posts: 9
    I'm a little confused. Is a value appraiser someone we hire?

    Also, is it possible for them to consider a car repairable and then change their mind and consider it totalled?
    In other words, does this mean that we might be able to "choose" between having the car repaired or having it totalled? I just don't have a sense of what leg we're standing on here. Can we argue that we may not be satisfied with the results of the repair (as several of the auto body shops have said) and so would rather have the car totalled (assuming of course we make out better in the latter scenario)?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,708
    Well bottom line is they have to offer you enough to repair the car. They haven't even done that apparently. So that's the first car you play I think. Unless they can direct you to a good shop who will fix it perfectly at the price they estimated---if they can do that, fine. But you have the right to choose your own shop.

    So tell them "it's not enough. Nobody will fix the car properly for that".

    Sure they can up their bid and total the car, but then they own it.

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  • videokievideokie Posts: 1
    My 2002 Miata went up in flames on Sunday. Cause is still undetermined, but through research I have learned that a recall was issued in July 2003 for a faulty fog lamp that could dislodge and cause the bumper to catch fire. If this is indeed the cause of the fire, could an insurance company deny the claim for not having the recall repaired or would they go after Mazda for liability? I have no recollection of receiving a recall notice, but let's face it, it was 3 years ago.
  • rhrrhr Posts: 9
    Thanks for those suggestions. I finally reached the insurance appraiser this afternoon and he said he would contact the auto body company in the morning. We figured we'd wait and see what happens with that. I did try and lay the groundwork, however. I mentioned that we were concerned that the car would not be repaired to its pre-collision state and talked a bit about what it would take to consider the car totalled. He mentioned something about using CCC to determine the cars value. I'm not sure if that's a company or software program. We reminded him that he had mentioned the $4500 figure and he said that figure could change based on the information he gave or fed to CCC. Does that sound familiar?

    I appreciate the help. I'll let you know what happens.
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