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Please Help Re: Negotiating With Insurance Company Over Value of Totaled Car
Old 09-25-2012, 06:16 PM   #1
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Please Help Re: Negotiating With Insurance Company Over Value of Totaled Car

I need some help with dealing with my insurer over my recently destroyed car. The guy who hit me was driving a stolen car, so my payout is under my own uninsured motorist coverage, not collision. The carrier is Safeco.

The last time I had insurance with Progressive, and they called me the next day and made me an excellent offer. Also she said that if the other party's insurance offered more I could return her payout and take his. But hers was best.

I have no written offer yet, but I want to be ready to act wisely when I get one.

It is a 2006 Subaru Impreza 2.5i wagon, standard equipment + subwoofer, in good to excellent condition (before the wreck!) and 34,000 miles.

I know to check Edmunds and MSN Auto for values, where else should I look? Do I insist on the dealer retail value?

Ha
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:05 PM   #2
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I don't have any advice, but I am curious how this story turns out. I have an older Honda with very low mileage (proportionally the same low usage as your Subaru). I am always expecting to get underpaid for my car if something were to happen to it.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:06 PM   #3
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I use kbb.com (kelley blue book). I got into an accident w/someone who had Safeco (it was their fault). It took a long time to get reimbursed. Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:13 PM   #4
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Clark Howard discusses this occasionally when someone calls in after getting a low ball offer for their car.

Here is a link to his site where he has some suggestions.

Clark shares the Confessions of an Auto Claims Adjuster | www.clarkhoward.com
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:28 PM   #5
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I use kbb.com (kelley blue book). I got into an accident w/someone who had Safeco (it was their fault). It took a long time to get reimbursed. Good luck.
Yes, I plan to exit Safeco when this is over. I'll ask for experiences with different auto insurers at that time.

Ha
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:41 PM   #6
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My experiences may not resemble yours since I live north of 49 in a province with a government owned insurance monopoly.

Here, the adjuster will assume that you need money NOW to replace your car and therefore will accept 'any offer'. The solution is to request a reasonable amount, slightly less than fair retail value and wait. They get pressure to close claims. The last car I had totaled was destroyed in October. I got my ask but the cheque came in June.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:30 PM   #7
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I don't have any personal experience of a write-off. Just wanted to say sorry that this has happened to you.

Good luck with your claim.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:53 PM   #8
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The most important thing is that you're here to ask the question ! Sorry about the car
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:04 PM   #9
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Regarding your question about where else to look.
Several years ago my then teenage DS was part of a 5 car pile up caused by a road rage incident where a car went flying over the median striking his and four other vehicles.
His was a 2 year old Cavalier in perfect condition. The day before the accident lots of warranty work was completed and I had purchased a new set of tires. Like many teens, he had a super deluxe stereo system.
So the car was a total loss and USAA said they would pay me quickly and then go after the other guy for my deductible. Two days later I went to USAA to pick up my check. Prior to this I went to the website of every dealer (new and used ) and made a list of retail prices of like cars. I made a list of the above and beyond items (like new tires etc) and worked them into what I thought was a fair price, and yes, it was higher than every comparable vehicle (about 15) I had researched. I was quite prepared to visit the boneyard with the rep to play show and tell if needed.
As it turned out the extra preparation was well worth it.
I was shocked at the low ball they offered. After I explained my process in determining a fair price, the rep stated that this was the same process the contractor used. I just flat told them we should all sit down with our respective figures and see what the disconnect is. After a 20 minute wait in the lobby, the rep arrived with a fresh new check for the amount I had requested.
Even more exciting was fighting Allstate (other guys company) for some medical and miscellaneous expenses, but that's another story.
Good luck haha.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:05 PM   #10
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Oh my...sorry to hear this. I assume you were not injured...

I don't have any experience dealing with a car that has been totaled. When our last 'mishap' occurred by a non-insured driver (it was his fault), our insurance company treated us very well. We are with Travelers.

Our deductible on collision is normally $500; however since it fell under uninsured motorist coverage, the deductible was $250.

I hope everything goes smoothly with your claim.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:29 PM   #11
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DD's car was totalled--a 3-year-old Toyota Corolla with probably average mileage--while parked. I think it cost $14,000. Allstate sent her a check without negotiation for $12,000. Best "trade-in" ever.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:15 AM   #12
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The Kelly blue book retail value for a car in similar quality plus sales tax and registration fees is a good starting value to request. If their offer is unreasonably low or they are otherwise uncooperative I would file a complaint with the State Office of Insurance Commissioner. Sorry to hear this, good luck with the negotiation.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
I don't have any personal experience of a write-off. Just wanted to say sorry that this has happened to you.

Good luck with your claim.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:09 AM   #14
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Here's another article.

How Car Insurance Companies Value Your Vehicle - CarsDirect

When we bought our current vehicle new, we opted for the replacement value rider.

We've never leased, but it was interesting to learn about gap coverage for those that do.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:31 AM   #15
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I have no advice for negotiation tactics.

But I am not surprised at all that a discount auto insurance company low-balls their "fair-value" offer.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Here's another article.

How Car Insurance Companies Value Your Vehicle - CarsDirect

When we bought our current vehicle new, we opted for the replacement value rider.

We've never leased, but it was interesting to learn about gap coverage for those that do.
I was going to say, it depends in part on what you insured for. I think Liberty Mutual is advertising a policy that gives you market value for a car newer than the one you insure, but I am sure you pay extra for it somewhere. I think the norm is wholesale value of the car, not "full retail," but I'm not positive (sorry). You get what you pay for, but like the others it's good to know you weren't hurt, that's what's most important.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:36 AM   #17
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About 18 months ago a pickup rear-ended me and totalled my car. His insurance company was Progressive.

They use a market-canvassing approach to determine value. They will actually locate several comparable vehicles, collect the asking price, factor in what THEY think is a discounted offer the seller will accept, and use that as the basis for their offer. Many times, the vehicles they are using for comparison are rental fleet if you're talking about something less than 2 years old. Their data is often trailing edge as well, and does not take into account factors that contribute to an increased valuation such as popular color/option combinations, a renewed interest in used vehicles with higher fuel economy, etc.

The vehicle was a 2008 Kia Spectra that I purchased new for $14K. It had 23K miles on it when it was totalled April 2010.

Their initial offer to me was $10,300. I pulled several comps from dealer used car lots within a 150 mile radius. All had more mileage than mine, none had the same interior/exterior color combinations, and they were all over $12K. I picked the closest match and called the dealer for their best offer. They wouldn't come down below $12.5K. I sent the particulars to Progressive and told them that I would drive 150 miles to that dealer to pickup that car if they wanted to go ahead and cut the check.

After two days and "re-evaluating the market", they offered me $13.8K
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:38 AM   #18
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I know to check Edmunds and MSN Auto for values, where else should I look? Do I insist on the dealer retail value?

Ha
I use blackbook. It is what most dealers use to price cars at auction, it is what dealers are currently willing to pay for a vehicle

here's a link

https://www.thinkbank.com/black-book...le-pricing.php
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:44 PM   #19
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If you do not have replacement value coverage, you are not going to get dealer retail price in most cases.

Find some comp prices on cars like yours and send them to the claims area. You have to be patient even though its maddening...........
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:44 PM   #20
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I'm just shocked that an insurance company wouldn't just give you the fair value right up front. Ummm, well, maybe not! But I guess if even a small percentage of customers take the lowball they're ahead a good bit.
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