Determining the value of a totaled vehicle

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TheGreyingDuke
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Determining the value of a totaled vehicle

Post by TheGreyingDuke »

My sister's car was parked in front of her house, a tree came down and totaled it. Insurance has made an offer and I am wondering if there is a negotiation that should go on and how to conduct it.

Thanks
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fabdog
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Re: Determining the value of a totaled vehicle

Post by fabdog »

Well, what was the car worth (approximately) before the tree fell? A lookup on the car value sites should give you a range. If they are offering less than she thinks it's worth, then she should push back. Of course it will be less her deductible... unless it was her neighbors tree.

Mike
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Determining the value of a totaled vehicle

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Sometimes yes.....sometimes no. What was the offer? We had a car totaled about a year ago. The offer was honestly double what I could sell it for private party. I ended up buying it back at 10% of the value and forfeited the sales tax and registration fee. There was zero negotiation needed on my part.

Look at kbb for an idea of the value of the car. Insurance companies pay retail on cars. If the offer is too low, then sure, negotiate, but have evidence to back it up. Are all similar cars on Car Gurus significantly higher in price? I mean if they aren't, then why are you looking for more?
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bogledogle
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Re: Determining the value of a totaled vehicle

Post by bogledogle »

Yes, you should negotiate. You should pull up vehicle prices in your area for the same make/model/options ..etc. I negotiated a ~1400 increases on a car valued at ~17k with Geico. The adjuster will say this is the best price they can offer, but if you send several examples of higher valuations in an email (make sure it's email, do not negotiate over phone) and ask them to re-evaluate, they will budge.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Determining the value of a totaled vehicle

Post by ResearchMed »

bogledogle wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:19 pm Yes, you should negotiate. You should pull up vehicle prices in your area for the same make/model/options ..etc. I negotiated a ~1400 increases on a car valued at ~17k with Geico. The adjuster will say this is the best price they can offer, but if you send several examples of higher valuations in an email (make sure it's email, do not negotiate over phone) and ask them to re-evaluate, they will budge.
We did this when DH's car was totaled by some teenager who shouldn't have a license.
(One "positive" was that right on the scene, he tried to explain his actions, and thus clearly described, directly to the police, how it was entirely his fault. At least that issue was out of the way, as it is with the tree in your sister's case.)

We negotiated about the value, by making copies of a variety of online prices, including pointing out DH's cars features such as lower mileage than car A, upgraded features/trim level than car B, a year or two newer than car C, etc.
We also looked a bit outside this general area, to make the best case possible, with more rather than less "evidence", etc.
We also included information about good service records, and also pointed out that there were never any children or pets in the car... just one or two adults, and rarely anyone else.
At first, we got a lot of push-back. But when we responded with a LOT more documentation, that changed pretty fast.

We got enough "extra" to make it well worth our time and effort.

RM
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BedHead2020
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Re: Determining the value of a totaled vehicle

Post by BedHead2020 »

We recently went through this in Texas. Our insurance company based valuation upon a report from a third-party appraisal company (which I think is the law here in Texas to avoid conflict of interest) and the appraisal company knew absolutely nothing about our brand of car (Tesla). The appraisal company just found three Tesla's for sale online and averaged the prices, without regard for any of the upgraded features our specific car had. We had to correct the horribly incorrect appraisal and return it to the insurance company and appraisal company, which resulted in the value of our car being raised by 50%.

So, if the valuation appears to be too low, definitely offer evidence to the contrary. It wouldn't surprise me if insurance companies were lowballing on purpose, just to benefit from those customers who were disinclined to push back.
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