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Replacement Cost by Insurance Company for Totaled Vehicle



  • Since you are the third party to the insurance company making the offer, according to state laws, they only owe you the actual cash value of the vehicle plus taxes, tag and title transfer fees. So what is the ACV? That is the million dollar question.

    In most states, the ACV of a vehicle is equal to the market value. Market value is defined as what a willing buyer and a willing seller would be willing to exchange the vehicle for but weren't compelled to do so. NADA is no where near accurate in determining market value IMO. Most of the car sales guys on these boards would also agree to that. Real world numbers are all that matter when it comes to determining market value for a particular vehicle. I think you will find that the NADA value for your vehicle is a number that you will probably be pretty satisfied with.

    The reality is that dealerships don't like NADA b/c their retail numbers are a little lower and the trade-in/wholesale values are a little higher than KBB. KBB traditionally has lower trade-in numbers but higher retail numbers which obviously favor the dealership whereas NADA values favor the consumer.

    Since you are a third party to the other company, they tell you what the value of the vehicle is and it is a take-it-or leave-it number. The burden of proof is on you to show them that the amount they are offerring is not enough to replace your vehicle with an equivalent vehicle. Having said that, you must remember that dealer retail is not the market value either. That is the dealers wish list of what they would like to get for the vehicle and not what they will actually take. As stated above, the actual market value of the vehicle is somewhere in between what the vehicle is worth wholesale (trade-in) and the full retail asking price of the dealer.

    My advice is to check NADA's website and verify the number you are being offerred. Then check the local newspaper ads and autotrader to see what they are selling for. Do your homework and if a number is being offerred you don't like, you can either go through your own company (see below for explanation) and see if they will offer you more, or try and persuade the other carrier to increase their offer based on your research.

    If you decide to shop against your own insurance (assuming you have collision coverage), that process is called subrogation. Basically, you are allowing your own insurance company to settle your claim and they then go after the other carrier for the money they paid you. Most policies have a subrogation clause written into the policy and allow for this. Also, most companies count this as a non-chargeable accident meaning they won't raise your rates either. Anyway, your company will make you an offer and from that offer, subtract your deductible and pay you the difference. You will eventually get that deductible back once the other carrier pays your carrier but it could take a few weeks. What you have to look at is total net to you after you receive your deductible back. You can then decide if it is worth it to you. Also, since they are your own insurance carrier, they have an obligation to follow the contract (policy) and can be held in breach of contract if they do so whereas the other carrier just has to follow the laws of the state when dealing with you. Your policy is usually more strict in how the claims are settled so it may benefit you to investigate that.

    All in all, I bet that after some research by you, you will discover that the value you are offerred is pretty reasonable and you won't have to mess with all of the above.

    Good luck.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    No need to jump through too many hoops here - it's value can't have changed much since you bought it (used) six months ago. Compare the insurance company's offer to what you paid - the difference should be less than $1000.
  • Unless they paid too much for it when they bought it or put on alot of miles in the six months that they owned it.

    BTW KBT, NADA is showing $12,675 and $14,850 for trade-in and retail. That's me assuming that the vehicle has 30K miles on it (15k per year) and with no additional options checked beyond what a standard LE has on it. It also assumes a clean vehicle and no damage history other than the wreck that totaled it. If it has leather seats or lower miles, the value will be slightly higher.
  • kbtkbt Posts: 27
    Thank you both for your responses.

    Unless they paid too much for it when they bought it or put on alot of miles in the six months that they owned it.

    None of the above. This isn't a Corolla, though, it's a Trailblazer; I happened on this discussion and it struck a chord.

    We found two similar vehicles listed ... one 50 miles north, one 50 miles south. He opted to go south and likes the car. It's pretty close. A little give (no 4WD or sunroof) and take (nav system), but mostly on par with the specs he had before. OTD cost will be a thousand more than last time. Still waiting on the insurance company offer.

    I want to say that the company has been great so far about all the issues involved. My concern was more being uninformed on how the NADA values run, when I know that's what the company is basing it on. Thanks to this website, I'm used to being very informed on all my car finanacial decisions. ;-)

    Think there's any chance I can get by with telling my husband he's getting a new car for Christmas so he won't be getting a big-screen TV after all?
  • I recently was involved in an accident which totaled my newly purchased truck. It was a 1993 Ford f150 xlt with 150,000 miles. It didn't have a scratch on it. It had a rebuilt motor and tranny in it. It also had a camper shell, aluminum wheels, chrome bumpers, custom grille , brand new chrome exhaust, etc. Beautiful truck. I paid 4500 for the truck, other driver was at fault, no insurance. I've been offered 3180 for the truck from my company. High wholesale blue book is 3180, private is 4450 & retail is 5700. I stand to lose $2000 including my deductable. I can't come close to replacing it in my area with the settlement. Truck buyback is 650. I'm not a mechanic and won't be able to part it out. How can I recoup any losses, or am I stuck?
  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    I think that the generic one-size-fits-all answer is to always fight to get full retail KBB, plus TTL and the value of any recent add-ons and recent repairs. Remember, you are supposed to be receiving replacement cost, and that is the theoretical cost of buying a new car, i.e. paying retail, plus the taxes, doc fees, registration, etc.

    Insurance companies try to pay as little as possible, and you need to negotiate. If you have a friend who is a lawyer and who can be aggressive (insurance adjusters are not a group to play nice with), you may want to use him/her as leverage.

    Don't accept the first offer (or possibly the second or beyond), and don't compromise on your value. Unfortunately, if you want the maximum, you'll have to be prepared to dig in and do battle.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    Just counter the insurance company by documenting your recent purchase price (it should be on the title or tax receipt). It's value is thus fairly established. Be sure to get sales tax too.
  • Hi
    My name is Natalia and last week I was hit from behind while making a left turn on a busy street. The driver hit me from behind at 60km/h because he was reading a map. The police charged him with careless driving on the spot. I have not spoken to the appraiser yet to find out whether or not my car is a write-off. Frankly my car is 2 months old and I don't want a re-built car. Any suggestions to sway my insurance (President's Choice - part of Aviva Traders) to give me a new car and not fix this one. I don't want to be paying for a brand new car and driving a rebuilt. If you could please offer me some advice or suggestions to say to the insurance company that would be great.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,081
    1. Wait til you get the appraisal/offer from the insurance company.
    2. The other driver's insurance is responsible for paying, not yours, if he is at fault.
    3. Read the few posts just before yours for advice on getting the purchase price + tax if your car is totalled.


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  • "2. The other driver's insurance is responsible for paying, not yours, if he is at fault."

    Unless you have the misfortune of residing in a no-fault state.

    However, it seems like the OP is from Canada. They have a modified no-fault system which does assign fault, and the at-fault driver's insurance would probably be on the hook for the payment.

    EDIT: I'm wrong (at least with respect to NY state). No-fault only applies to personal injury and liability. If a driver is found to be at fault, then his insurance company is responsible for damage to other drivers' cars (assuming he has insurance).
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,081
    Good point, smitty - I hadn't thought of the no-fault state issue.


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  • I spoke with my insurance company today and was told that the damaged was around $9700, and my car is worth $18600. Is there any way I can get them to replace my car even though the damage is not more than the car's worth? What about the fact that I don't want to be paying for a rebuilt car that is 2 months old, while i'm paying it's 'brand new' price? What are my options now? Especially if I plan to sell it on the open market. Would I have to disclose it as rebuilt? will that even show up on my ownership, or is it buyer beware?

    All the help is greatly appreciated.

  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    You have a battle on your hands trying to get the car totalled out. I would begin be getting different estimates with (hopefully) higher damage estimates, and by reviewing the estimate that you've received to make sure that the work it details is appropriate and sufficient for the job.

    To the extent that you can, try to get as many new OEM parts as possible (as opposed to used junkyard parts and lookalike parts that were not used by the manufacturer of your car.) Make sure that the cost is not being lowballed in order to get you to accept a repair job when a total might be more appropriate.

    If the car has extensive frame damage (and with that kind of repair bill, it just might), that might provide another basis for fighting for a total.

    Hopefully, some Canadian posters will see this, as laws vary between the US and Canada, and I presume from province to province.

    And again, if you succeed in getting the car totalled, be sure that your settlement on a total includes tax (GST and PST), registration fees, etc., and that the value is based upon the car's retail value. (Kelley Blue Book is a US publication, so you will want to use the Canadian equivalent.)
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    If the damages are only slightly more than the value of the vehicle, the insurance company will not total it.

    What you need to fight for is its diminished value as a result of having been in a severe collision. Regardless of how well it is repaired, a trained eye will be able to detect that it has been fixed.
  • lilgtolilgto Posts: 12

    Hopefully someone can provide me with some advice concerning a recent accident my daughter was involved in and if her vehicle should be totaled. The other driver was cited at fault, both vehicles were covered by different insurance carriers. As of today the damage to her 2005 Sunfire stands at $6,056.00, to me this vehicle should be totaled due to the amount of damage sustained. It was hit on the driver's side, door, rear quarter, window, rear tire & wheel, were destroyed, damage to the roof line, interior (seats bent over) and damage to the floor pan. According to the estimates more work is to be completed once the vehicle is “straightened”. Due to the damage and impact I believe this vehicle will never be correct and that the insurance company should total the vehicle. What options does my daughter have in order to make sure this vehicle is totaled or repaired? I believe the damages must reach a figure of 70% of the NADA retail value before it is totaled, is this true?

    Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    Tom, the formula (percentage of value to declare it a total loss) used varies somewhat by carrier. I've seen as low as 65% and as high as 85%. The model of vehicle may well affect the calculation as well - the insurer will be selling it if totaled and some cars are more in demand than others. Your daughter's car doesn't sound like it has much appeal as a "builder" for someone down the line. However, it would be good for parts. The initial damage estimate seems a bit low if the damage extended into the roof.

    To "make sure" your daughter gets her desired result, she may have to give a little somewhere in the process.
  • lilgtolilgto Posts: 12
    Thanks for the response and yes that initial estimate to me is low.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,197
    They deal with people every day who demand their cars be totaled or they want more money than the ins.companies are offering on cars that ARE totalled.

    They don't care and they won't listen. They will tell you to take them to court.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Is it possible to get another estimate? The car is only worth about $7500.
  • lilgtolilgto Posts: 12
    That is what we are working on now but according to the bank the NADA retail is around 12,000.00 and basically that is the price we have been finding around the area, which is strange because that is almost what she paid for it new...
  • kierrakierra Posts: 5
    My insurance company must have a really high percentage rate that they work with for deciding whether a car is worth repairing or not. I had an accident recently which was my fault due to a lack of driving experience (I'd had my license less than a month on the day of the accident). I did 8,200 dollars worth of damage to my Saturn Ion but my insurance has decided to repair and not total the car.

    Ultimately it's up to them what happens but that car was worth 12,000 at the most due to it being an automatic with a lot of extra options (former rental car) so it's really scary to think that I'm going to be driving this car again after it sustained so much damage. It's at a really reputable body shop and the insurance plus the body shop have said that I won't be able to tell the car has been in an accident once it's repaired but it's still scary.

    Anyone had that much damage done to their car and had no major problems after the repair? I'm not going to fight them to total the car but I wonder if maybe they should have. I should have the car back next week.

  • lilgtolilgto Posts: 12
    As for problems after the repair, I really do believe there will always be problems because so many body shops today just want to get it in and out as quickly as they can. It will also depend on how "picky" you are when it comes to flaws, noise, etc. We had a vehicle that was vandalized about a year ago and now there are flaws starting to show up in the paint. Same way with another vehicle we had repaired years ago, about 4 years after the repair the lower quarter panel started to rust which is due to the "used" replacement quarter the body shop installed. Best of luck to you...
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,003
    you may want to ask your insurance company about problems you find in the future.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • lilgtolilgto Posts: 12
    In most cases insurance companies will cover the repairs only if it was repaired by one of their preferred vendors. In any case it is the constant headache of having your car in a repair facility...
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,003
    when i had one of my vehicles repaired at the 'preferred vendor' out of state, due to the location of the accident, the local guy was able to finish up what should have been done in the first place, and correct the additional damage done at the first repair facility, no questions asked.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • The actual damage to the car was around 4,700. The final price to the body shop was around 9000 once labor, storage (the car sat there for two weeks while the insurance made a decision), sales tax etc was added on.

    I got the car back on February 5th from the body shop. The check engine light was on so I took it back to the body shop. They didn't have the equipment to check the engine code there so I made an appointment with my car dealership to have it checked. Yesterday, the dealership checked the engine and found a cracked plastic intake valve which had been missed. Even they had trouble finding it. So I contacted my insurance company who sent the adjuster out to check if this was accident related. The insurance decided it was so they took my car back to the body shop and are going to be paying for this repair. My adjustor tells me I'll have the car back today so today I call the body shop who says tomorrow or maybe Friday. I don't have rental car coverage through my insurance so in the meantime I'm stuck on the bus which is really frustrating due to it taking twice as long to get me from work to home as my car can.

    The car overall looks and sounds fine while driving it so I'm hoping there are no other hidden problems. I noticed the cigarrette light adaptor was dead when I plugged my cell phone in it but the insurance says it can't be proven that was accident related although it worked fine before so I'll have to pay to get that fixed.
  • lilgtolilgto Posts: 12
    The repair total to my daughter's vehicle is up to a little over $7,000.00. We received a call from the body shop informing us that the vehicle was finished and ready for us to pick up. After looking over the repairs I had to inform the body shop we would not be taking this vehicle until the numerous flaws were fixed, repaired or replaced. The rear bumper panel was not even attached, Sanding marks were visible on different areas that was painted, the "B" Pillar replacement part (used) was full of numerous dents, side view mirror (used) looked like it had seen better days, interior door panel was faded(used) numerous pitts and scratches in the new paint and last thing that I just shook my head about was the back seat still was not installed properly and I found tools left behind by one of the techs... I don't even want to know what it is going to be like when we finally drive it down the road. After 2 months of repairs and the insurance company still paying for a rental car I think they would have been a little bit more intelligent to total this vehicle that is for sure...

    Your frontal impact more than likely caused the cracked in the intake system as for your cigarette lighter adaptor, take your vehicle to a vendor that you can trust and have them make the determination that it was caused by the accident. Something was probably knocked loose due the impact or maybe the body shop did something...
  • toyoman1toyoman1 Posts: 52
    So I had my dream Accord a total of a month and a half. I was driving home from the hospital after a 12 hour shift it was about 530p, and coming down a two lane each way highway guess what happens. A man in a 18 wheeler turns in front of me. I jam on the brakes and swerve right to avoid hitting the semi. I hit the curb at about 55mph and jumped it, slamming back down onto the road he was turning onto. I slid in front of him and across that road, before hitting another curb and sliding the accord down an embankment. The police department issued the SEMI driver a ticket for failure to yeild, and leaving the scene of an accident. Yeah he drove off. The guy behind me chased him and called the PD. Both witnesses backed my story and I was found not at fault.

    Now, about my baby. Could anyone take a stab in the dark as to what could have all been damaged by this kind of impact. The car drove onto the flatbed, just with two flat tires up front and the front rims damaged. Car was still running when I came to a stop. I was wondering if the curb could have caused frame damage? Anyone think it might have? And do you all think the the suspension could be jacked up? Anyways... today sucks... I lost my baby, hopefully not permanently. Be in the end she kept me safe. GO HONDA!!!
  • bob311bob311 Posts: 1
    I just received a Italian motorcycle that I had been searching for 2 years....Color Italian red, mileage, just over what is allowed to be imported into California (7500 min. had 7521).
    The KBB shows $7995 for this bike, but they are not made anymore (Since 2004), not available except for a few high mileage or Salvage titled bikes in CA.
    Repairs due to parts looks like about $8000. Mechanically the bike was perfect on the laser alignment. All the damage is front end plastic, and supports. The adjuster refused to look at the bike at my residence and required me to take it to a shop, and for them to perform an estimate. (Cost about $800 so far).

    Since this is a 3rd party settlement, how can I force the company to make me whole??? It is not possible to purchase the same bike in California, and they would prohibit the importation of an out of state bike that had less than my mileage at time of accident.

    I am patient so do not care if it takes some months.

    Also I am happy to do my own repairs if we reach a settlement.


    (Some times money is not the answer)
  • I was involved in a accident on Feb. 25, 2007, Someone turned in front of me and I hit them head on. The accident was ruled the other persons fault. My airbags never deployed although we were traveling around 40 mph upon impact. I am looking over copies of the repair bill which was around $10,000 in damage. They repaired stuff normal cosmetic stuff and I also notice where they had to replace the engine cradle mounts on both sides in the front and reinforce the side rail. I am wondering if I should really be concerned about this??? Toyota now has my car and they are investigating the airbag issue. The front of my car looked like I had hit a tree and even the bodyshop was a little surprised that the insurance company did not total the car. I am pregnant and have two small children. I don't feel that I will ever feel safe in my car again. What can I do??? :sick:
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