Totaled cars - Dealing with unfair adjusters

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If you are not satisfied with how the insurance company is determining your car to be totaled, you need not panic. There is definitely a recourse from this.

When is a car considered totaled?

When your car gets involved in an accident that may or may not be your fault, it can be termed totaled if:
  • The cost of repairing the damage is more than the value of the car
  • The car cannot be repaired after the damage incurred from an accident

In such a case insurance companies usually offer to pay you the actual cash value (ACV) after subtracting any deductibles that you have.

Some companies total cars at 51% of its actual worth while there are others who total a car at 80%.

Can you have your totaled car back and get it repaired?

The answer to this could be both 'yes' and 'no'. While buying insurance you sign a contract with your insurer that you cannot compel them to pay you more than what your car is worth. However, you can request your insurance company to give you back your car. They will still pay you for the car and in this case you will get the ACV of the car minus the deductibles and salvage value they would have got at the yard. What you can do on your part is that check out with different repair shops about the actual cash value of your car. This way you can make a comparison and see if the car insurance company is being fair in determining the ACV of your car.

If you want to buy back a totaled car, it is your responsibility to get it repaired. This may not always be a wise decision to make because the cost of repairing a car can be huge and the money you receive from the insurance company for your damaged car may not be sufficient. Some states may require you to buy a special salvage title or may simply want you to have an inspection done on your totaled car after repairs. Some companies may even refuse to let you have the car because it will fetch them handsomely at the yard.

So, if you want to have your car back you must take a quick decision and ask the company to return the car to you. Once the car goes off to them you may have a hard time recovering it.

Can you insure your totaled car after repairs?

Mostly insurance companies do not seem eager to insure a totaled car that has been fixed. But some insurers do agree to have your car insured for a high price only after the repair has been done and the car is back on the road and has passed the DMV inspection.

What if the insurance adjuster wrongly values your car?

In many cases you may feel that the adjuster has put the wrong totaled car value on your vehicle. In this case you may hire an independent appraiser and get him/her to do an inspection of your car. The costs of hiring must be borne by you. Ask the appraiser to get you everything in writing and you can place that in front of your insurance company.

If you disagree with what the insurance company determines as the value of your car, you may seek from amongst the 2 options:
  1. Arbitration
  2. Litigation

In arbitration you and your insurance company can place the facts in front of a third-party arbiter. If it is a binding arbiter then the decision of the arbiter will be final. If not then you can still take your insurance company to court.

Related readings

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:36 pm   Post subject:   

I'll be misrememberin that! Smile



Let's see , Don't Spit in the wind, don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and don't mess around with a show me adjuster.



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MikeoftheOzarks
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:14 pm   Post subject:   

Laughing



I visited a shop in Lawrence today that had a dog in their office. The manager told me that it was the adjuster dog.



"He attacks adjusters".





Really? You're gonna need a bigger dog. Twisted Evil


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:34 pm   Post subject:   

Oh now THAT'S funny (don't care who ya' are Wink )...



Believe I'd have to tell that pooch to get off the porch, the big dawg just got to town LaughingLaughing



I'm hoping the guy was being funny...you know I went to a shop one time years ago, little hole in the wall 50% of the shop was dirt floor (really)...guy had a bird that talked..I swear..I walked in the shop and heard.. 'B*T*H! ' I said, 'WHAT? Shocked ' Owner quickly said it was the bird, (that I hadn't seen yet)...and that he had taught the bird that, to drive his (by then) ex-wife nuts...told him that's a quick way to get himself changed from a rooster to a chicken in one blow, had I not seen the bird... Rolling Eyes ..funny, funny little man he was, wonder what ever happened to him.. Rolling Eyes



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:34 am   Post subject:   

Keith, I've probably read oh at least fifty different insurance auto policys. Never seen one, with different (small) fonts...have seen some 'bold' for definitions..that's it....move a long son, hawking your wares in these threads will not be tolerated!



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:46 am   Post subject: Keyed car  

My 1997 Lexas was keyed front ,top and sides. Hartford wants to pay actual value and give me a salvaged title. Is there any to avoid the salvaged titled car and have it painted by a third party. Martin


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:20 pm   Post subject:   

Check with your Department of Revenue or which ever state department is in charge of vehicle titles. It could be, as in my own state, a vehicle over ten years old would not require a salvage title if an insurer totaled the vehicle and you chose to keep it and drive it.



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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 7:08 pm   Post subject: tqZRpjbodeCDBeg  

Totalled repair.. Outstanding Smile


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 11:28 pm   Post subject: unfair total  

my car insurance adjuster total my car, but the body shop its at says the damages doesn't even comes close. They have been in business for more than 50yrs. My insurance company ruled my car as total before the adjuster even came out to look at it. What can i do?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:11 pm   Post subject: Refusal of total loss offer and withdraw claim?  

So even if an adjuster says they're declaring a car a total loss. As the title owner of the car, can't I simply refuse their offer, thus negating their ability to total the car and avoiding salvage issues? I want to fire the insurance company and refuse to continue with claim and close it. I know for fact my car can be fixed for far less than their estimate and it drives well. The claim was approved and the glass portion was fixed and I already paid deductible. Then for body damage later discovered I took it to a bodyshop.After Insurance company tried to make it a second claim which I refused, they had their appraiser estimate costs to repair and supposedly now it's a "total loss". I don't want to settle with them and really, the part I care more about was the broken glass and my window was repaired and I already received reimbursement for the cost of tinting it. As far as I'm concerned, I'm willing to cut my losses and close claim. JUST because they declare my car a total loss, isn't it true I have to agree to that? They said I have no choice..then she muttered,"if you want us to handle this claim". Well, she gave me an idea. I don't want them to handle that portion of the claim and the portion I cared more about in a different department being the glass department and those repairs are finished. At this point, I refuse to sign over my title to them or give them my auto and don't I have that right?Afterall, I own it and they don't unless I sign title to them which I will not do. I could fix my car and sell it for way more than their offer thus recouping my costs and completely avoiding salvage issues, etc. Someone I sell it to is not going to care about the dings left by vandals that insurance says is too expensive to repair. It drives real well and has alot of custom parts on it and I'm not willing to let the insurance company steal my car from me. What is best recourse to close that portion of the claim? Nothing has been paid to me by main claims and I'm set to refuse their total loss offer. Please confirm that I have that right. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:55 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
I simply refuse their offer, thus negating their ability to total the car and avoiding salvage issues
If a lien holder is not involved, you don't need to give up your vehicle... but the insurance company will then deduct the salvage value from their offer. You can't force the insurance company to pay the (higher) repair cost by refusing.

Quote:
I know for fact my car can be fixed for far less than their estimate and it drives well.
So the insurance company wants to pay more then what they could otherwise pay? Odd... usually people complain the insurance company pays too little.

Quote:
isn't it true I have to agree to that?
What the insurance company is really saying is they are going to pay up to the vehicle's value, not the repair cost. You don't need to agree with this... it's how your policy is written.

Quote:
At this point, I refuse to sign over my title to them or give them my auto and don't I have that right?
Yes, if you don't have a lien holder. If you don't, have them pay you less the salvage value. However, they may be required to report to the state that the vehicle is now a total loss. The state may then change the title to a salvage title.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:55 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
I simply refuse their offer, thus negating their ability to total the car and avoiding salvage issues
If a lien holder is not involved, you don't need to give up your vehicle... but the insurance company will then deduct the salvage value from their offer. You can't force the insurance company to pay the (higher) repair cost by refusing.

Quote:
I know for fact my car can be fixed for far less than their estimate and it drives well.
So the insurance company wants to pay more then what they could otherwise pay? Odd... usually people complain the insurance company pays too little.

Quote:
isn't it true I have to agree to that?
What the insurance company is really saying is they are going to pay up to the vehicle's value, not the repair cost. You don't need to agree with this... it's how your policy is written.

Quote:
At this point, I refuse to sign over my title to them or give them my auto and don't I have that right?
Yes, if you don't have a lien holder. If you don't, have them pay you less the salvage value. However, they may be required to report to the state that the vehicle is now a total loss. The state may then change the title to a salvage title.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:19 am   Post subject: undervaluing my vehicle  

Adjustor from Allstate gave me a figure that's at least $1500 too low (and less than we owe on a car we bought 8 months ago). I asked him to please let me know where I could buy those cars because I wanted to hurry up and get over there before they flew off the lot. His response was that Auto Source doesn't necessarily use actual cars to base the amount on, but calls to some of their used car dealers and bases the amount on that. That's BS.



It's being forwarded to a total loss specialist who is supposed to get back to me in 3 days. What is your advice when dealing with him?



The car was in superb condition, low miles, but older. If I could get it fixed, I would, but their insured really did a number on the back end.



Currently, the car is stored in my driveway. They offered to pick it up, and I declined. We have tried to cost them the least amount of money possible (delayed rental, our towing policy back to our house, etc), but feel completely ripped-off with the appraisal amount.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:37 pm   Post subject: totaled 2000 camray  

I was rear ended, do not have collision and the OD carrier progressive is totalling my car. I need the car to get to school what can I do?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:48 pm   Post subject:   

Take the money and buy another car or take the money less the salvage vale (if no lien). I don't see any issue.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:46 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
I was rear ended, do not have collision


Doesn't matter. The collision is not likely to have been your fault. That's obvious because the other party's insurance company has agreed to pay your loss.



Quote:
I need the car to get to school what can I do?


How would you get to school if you never had a car? Walk, ride a bike, rollerskates or skateboard, hitch-hike, take a taxi or a bus, or ?



All of those same methods of transportation are still available to you.



You are entitled to the Actual Cash Value of your vehicle prior to the loss, which is Replacement Cost minus Depreciation. If the insurance company is going to pay you for your loss, and the amount is reasonable, what more do you want?


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