frustration over "near" total loss

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:14 pm   Post subject: frustration over "near" total loss  

Our family was hit head on by a sleeping driver. USAA is the at-fault ins. our car is '07 Honda Odyssey EXL/RES/Navi with 43k miles. Orig. estimate was just over $13K, with additional supplementals now at $16,100; stated ACV from appraiser is 23K which puts us right at 70%...with rental expenses already @ $1500 for 4wks and no work started, that should double to ~$3k total; plus DV; plus they say they can get $4200-4500...why won't they declare a total loss. I do not want this vehicle back after they clip the front, it will never protect us in a another head on crash like it did this time! Please advise as to how I should proceed! NC resident

Thanks!


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cherieac
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:43 pm   Post subject:   

This is not intended to be legal advise.



If it were my vehicle, I would first notify in writing the negligent party and the at fault insurer of my intent to pursue DV at the conclusion of the repairs if they insist on repairing. I would make sure that the regional claims manager knew of my intent as well as any immediate supervisors and I would cc the department of insurance.



I would also inform them that I personally would not authorize any repairs unless my repair expert was willing to state in writing in a pre-repair agreement that they alone would be liable for all repairs and any repair related diminished value, and not the at fault insurer. This alone may discourage a repair shop into using junk parts or unsafe parts or making a compromising repair at the insistence of the payor or third party insurer. Ask to see their guarantee in writing before repairs are made, and if the insurer claims to warranty to repairs of their drp shop, ask for a copy of the warranty, if any, provided by the insurer in writing. Inform the repair shop that you may elect to have a disinterested third party inspect their repairs for safety reasons. The shop may elect to walk away from the repair and the insurer may not have a willing partner to begin any repairs.



It is the repairer's warranty that is worth anything and they are solely liable for those repairs they agree to make to a vehicle regardless of whether they repaired based on their own repair plan or used the insurer estimate. The reason you would want to inform in writing of your intent, is so that the repair shop can not then say at the completion of repairs, we only fixed what the insurer would pay for.



Or,,,



You can offer the salvage for sale open to anyone. Make sure to notify and offer the salvage for sale to the at fault insurer. Sell it to the highest bidder. This becomes the salvage value base.



Subtract all known costs to repair and salvage value from the agreed upon actual cash value and you have essentially determined the loss in value due to the accident in the event you do not repair the vehicle. The at fault insurer should still owe for any storage, towing, and administrative costs on top of those figures, including your loss of use.



If you are unable to sell the salvage until the lien is paid in full, then you may want to contact your own insurer and see if they are more inclined to total your vehicle. You have more contractual promises and guarantees with your own insurer due to their requirement to restore to pre-accident insurance, that they may be more willing to agree that it should total.



I am surprised that any insurer would not total at 70 percent as salvage resale at the moment is extremely high which would ensure that they would recover a large portion of the loss on the resale. They are also going to save a ton on rental expenses unless the shop has agreed to pay for the rental as a concession.



Cost of repairs known at this point 16100.00

cost of projected rental and current 3000.00

Diminished value likely 7500 to 12,000

Cost of litigation for insurer to deny DV 2500 possibly



total cost to insurer potentially 27,000 to 33,600



Cost to total for insurer acv 23000

loss of use or rental 2000

return of projected salvage value -4500

cost of total loss administrative by drp shop 0



total cost to insurer 20500.00



Seems like a no brainer! But then some adjusters are't as sensible as some here and would prefer to be obstinate instead.



One of the most experienced and successful DV inspectors, repair expert, court expert, and consultant resides in your state, shouldn't be difficult to find if you google DV.



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:27 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
I do not want this vehicle back after they clip the front
Where are you getting this information from?



As Mike mentioned, I'd calmly let the adjuster know that you would like for them to consider the vehicle to be a total loss. As mentioned, send in a letter and explain that you do not feel that the vehicle can be returned to the same condition it was prior to the accident, that you are going to hold USAA to paying for all supplements on the vehicle (sending the message that you are going to burden them with multiple supplements) and that you intent to pursue a DV claim. I'm not saying DV is owed... only that you are trying to send the adjuster a clear message that it would be easier to handle the vehicle as a total loss.



You ask why the adjuster is not simply going to total the vehicle... well, it's not at 80% right now so the state probably does not require it be considered a total loss. The repair cost is $16,100 and rental will be $7000 so the total amount to repair the vehicle is about $23,100. If they consider it a total loss they will be paying around $25,000 on the vehicle. These are the hard numbers that the adjuster is looking at. While someone might have said that the salvage is worth $4000, after expenses that amount is really probably around $3000. In this case I'd think it's close enough to where the adjuster could probably sit down with a manager and discuss it being considered a total loss. But this is the exception to the rule.



I'd first have a nice conversation with the adjuster and let them know you understand that vehicles are usually totaled at 80%, which is about $18.4k in this case but that you'd rather have the vehicle considered a total loss. Then explain the numbers above to show that it's probably going to cost them less to simply total the vehicle. After you mull this over with the adjuster, explain that you are also going to be filing a DV claim. Let the adjuster know you understand in many cases insurance companies fight DV claims but 1) this adds additional work and 2) in some cases DV is owed and paid. I'd recommend you not use this as threat as going about it with that approach just puts adjusters on the defense. Right now you want to work _with_ the adjuster and "guide" them to seeing your way as being much easier and "correct".
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:26 pm   Post subject:   

Thanks for the advice rec'd so far!



The body shop told me they were putting a used front end on the vehicle.



The adjuster tells me that the appraiser should factor in rental costs, DV, & incidentals when making his decision. Appraiser tells me that he only uses the repair cost to determine total loss....someone's not telling the truth. WHO?



I've requested the new estimate with the add'l supplements, but "MY" body shop has refused to fax it until the appraiser approved it, so I can't even intelligently refute the estimate without a copy.



I have calmly discussed this with the adjuster and he tells me that he can't do ANYHTING, if the appraiser says it's repairable.



I have placed a few calls for clarification and I'm still waiting on them to get back to me. The "offer" from the appraiser was a check to me for repair estimate and then I sell it to salvage, which I can't do without $2k out of pocket to get the title in order to sell to salvage.



So, that leaves me with sleepless nights and a constant ache in the pit of my stomach. We just bought this van in Sept of '08, I don't want this car and I don't want to be upside down in my loan!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:10 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
I've requested the new estimate with the add'l supplements, but "MY" body shop has refused to fax it until the appraiser approved it, so I can't even intelligently refute the estimate without a copy.




Doesn't sound like it's really your body shop, they are looking at the insurer as their customer when it is your property and you have no contractual relation with the insurer. If the bodyshop does not have a direct repair agreement with the insurer, they should be looking at you as the customer and should be your advocate. At least, that's how I conduct my business, much to the chagrin of many an adjuster.



You could always let them fix it. and you can sell it after the repair and collect DV on the loss in value at that time. You might find a news station or newspaper to follow your situation and you could find some viewer empathy and bad publicity for the insurer that they might like to avoid.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:51 pm   Post subject: MORE frustration  

Spoke with appraiser...now the damage est is 15,100 because he found a cheaper front end to clip onto my van. Still nothing on paper...LM with adjuster, so that I can ask for supervisor. NCDOI gave me name of someone to speak with at USAA regarding lack of written estimate, turned out she's an attorney, of course, had to LM. Nothing! Everywhere I turn...NOTHING!

Crying or Very sadCrying or Very sad


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cherieac
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:46 pm   Post subject:   

When you say front end clip replacement, are you saying they are going to cut the inner structure and windshield pillars to make one vehicle out of two. Or are you saying they are using the front clip assembly such as only bolt on parts?



If their intent is to build a frankencar with cadaver used parts, you need to stop them. If you will contact me via my email listed on my home page, I will put you in touch with someone in North Carolina that could ameliorate your situation. Most insurers have stopped this practice but some apparently are willing to take on the additional liability or place it on one of their partner shops by throwing them under the bus. This Clipping business will get you TV news air time when put in touch with the right people.



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:36 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
When you say front end clip replacement, are you saying they are going to cut the inner structure and windshield pillars to make one vehicle out of two. Or are you saying they are using the front clip assembly such as only bolt on parts?
cherieac, there is a BIG difference in this...you're using the term ''clipping'' but I'm not convinced that is what was written...to most people in the biz...'clipping' would be as Mike said, building a fankencar...I don't know any carriers that clip cars anymore...big big difference in that, and buying a front clip, and removing the bolt on parts and using them, (ie fenders, hood, bumper, lamps etc)...



I further don't understand why in the world the shop isn't faxing the estimate to you...or, why didn't you ask the appraiser to fax it...??? Didn't you say you just finished talking with him?
Quote:
Spoke with appraiser...now the damage est is 15,100 because he found a cheaper front end to clip onto my van.
If he knows this amount (15,100) then he has a hard copy of his own estimate...has the shop even seen this one? Don't know how they could've...



Have you signed a repair authorization?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:20 am   Post subject:   

Hi Cherieac,



Have you checked with your insurer as suggested by Mike in his first post whether they would consider the car as totaled? IMO you should have all the options open.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:22 am   Post subject:   

Hi Lori,



Quote:
Have you signed a repair authorization?




What would happen if the OP refuses to sign the repair authorization?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:13 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
What would happen if the OP refuses to sign the repair authorization?
Well for starters the shop should'nt be doing anything with that vehicle...They shouldn't repair it without one..they don't have permission to without one..



Simon made another good point, as Mike had said earlier, you really need to get your carrier involved here...Let them inspect the vehicle and see if they will total it, they can then subrogate the other carrier..The other carrier has already accepted liability so they should front your deductible if that is a reason you are hesitant.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:56 am   Post subject:   

Sorry for the delayed response...I took a mental health day and didn't make a single phone call about the van.



No, we haven't authorized any repairs. I had scheduled my ins to do an estimate, until the BS told me that they were a drp with my co. and NOT the at-fault co, so they said that I would not even get to the same $ amount with them due to the contract. So, I cancelled the evaluation.



Body shop clarified that they are not "clipping" the car only putting on sheet metal,etc from the other front end. They told me that the car ISN"T a total loss and I should do the repair and go for DV.



My husband's ready to try to redo the deal with appraiser for a check for amt of repairs + salvage sale= about $3 less than they say ACV is. I'm leaning toward letting them repair and hope that it opens a can of worms and we can get to total loss, but that's risky. I'm wondering if they are trying to "scare" us into taking that crappy deal by reducing the amt??

Still no hard copy of the appraisal and don't understand why. We've asked for it numerous times, had no trouble getting the initial estimate, just the one with the supplementals.



Also, wondering if a lawyer would be the next best move.



Hope I covered all of the follow-up questions! Thanks so much for taking the time to offer your expertise and advice!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:13 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
so they said that I would not even get to the same $ amount with them due to the contract. So, I cancelled the evaluation
I don't understand what this means? The body shop told you that your own carrier wouldn't pay them (the shop) as much? As the other carrier whom they are a DRP for? Is that right? First off....ahemmmmmm got to throw up the BS flag here.......secondly call your carrier back, and tell them you want them to look at your vehicle...every carrier has their set of rules, re: what it takes to total a vehicle...could be your carrier has a higher salvage bid contract..or lower tolerance for totaling vehicles...either way, it doesn't cost you anything to have them do the estimate and ACV evaluation on your vehicle.
Quote:
Body shop clarified that they are not "clipping" the car only putting on sheet metal,etc from the other front end.
Good, that's what I thought..
Quote:
They told me that the car ISN"T a total loss and I should do the repair and go for DV.
You have to remember something..Body shops are in the business to repair cars, not total them..The owner I worked for I swear thought EVERY car should be repaired, it really ticked him off when a vehicle totaled (still does)..This past year and the economy has hit the Body shop industry very very hard...I've seen shops closed or laying men off that have had a good business for over 30 years....so this is a slanted view, you have to understand that...Also remember they are not going to even consider your DV claim until your vehicle is done...and they can tell you 1k and make you fight that for five years to get more than that...it's not like a DV claim is a 'done deal'....
Quote:
I'm wondering if they are trying to "scare" us into taking that crappy deal by reducing the amt??
I don't think so...what crappy deal do you mean?
Quote:
Still no hard copy of the appraisal and don't understand why. We've asked for it numerous times, had no trouble getting the initial estimate, just the one with the supplementals.
Make sure that you notify the shop and the adjuster, (and follow it in writing-email is fine)...that you have not signed a repair auth...and you have no intention of doing so until you have had the opportunity to review the FULL estimate of repair...

Quote:
Also, wondering if a lawyer would be the next best move.
Attorneys will rarely take a physical damage claim on and it would cost you more than you would gain...(a third of your vehicles ACV if totaling is your goal)...so I seriously doubt that would be benefical in this situation...



Have you checked NC's dept of insurance website to see if they address total losses, and total loss handling? What constitutes a total loss? What company do you have your policy with? Do you still have your company adjusters number?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:01 am   Post subject:   

Chereiac, my email is mikeoftheozarks@yahoo.com Send your pics there and I would be glad to look at them.



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