Re: Auto insurance policy
There is insufficient information to determine if the offer is fair. Most insurance policies will pay the fair market value of the totaled car. You need to read the policy language to see exactly what it says. Some states will also require payment of license/registration fees and sales tax. That will be determined by state law and won't necessairly be in the policy. You can look at the Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader or other similar publications to get a rough idea of the fair market value.
I've been handling accident cases as a lawyer for 25 years. Here's a few other tips I give my clients:
1 - Get personal items out of the car immediately. Anything of value seems to disappear while the car is in storage. Make sure your mother didn't leave a bank deposit slip or other personal identifying information in the car.
2- Release the car to the insurnace company if they ask you too. Otherwise you might find yourself liable for storage charges from some auto tow yard.
3 - Ask for a breakdown of the offer. Does it include license fee, sales tax, etc? Did the insurance company take deductions they shouldn't have (e.g. excess mileage charge, "cleaning fee" or "processing fees" which are BS, etc) They should be able to give you a piece of paper that shows you exactly how they calculated the offer.
4 - Make sure the insurance company has accurate information about the car. They might increase their offer a bit for things likecustom wheels or tires, aftermakret sound system. They won't usually increase their offer if you just replaced a water pump, fixed the brakes ,etc. New tires? . . . maybe.
5 - Tell the insurance company about any other personal propety in the vehicle that was damaged. It will often be covered by the auto insurance policy. There are usuaslly limitations for things like electrical equipment (e.g. laptop computers), CD, etc.
6 - If there is a delay in processing the claim on the insurance company's part, ask them if they will provide "loss of use" damages at $25 - $35 / day the for the period between the time of the accident and the date they make their offer. We often get that from the adverse insurance company, but only occasionally from your own insurnace company. You won't know unless you ask.