Need help on totalling my car

Submitted by mani.pallapu on Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:29

I involved in an auto accident and other driver was at falut. Other driver insurance estimated the car damage and given $18300 as repair cost and told that it is totalled. Since other driver has only $25k limit they asked me to go through my insurance as my car value is more than $25k. But my insurance estimated as $16400 and since it is not reaching 80% threshold limit they asked me to go for repair. And body shop started repair and after two months final amount is exceding $19200. At this point also my insurance is saying it is not totalled. Can you guys help me on this

Posted: 31 Jan 2013 07:02 Post Subject:

Help you out with what?????????????? Your insurance company is paying to have your vehicle repaired. Where is the issue?

Posted: 31 Jan 2013 11:09 Post Subject:

Apparently, the OP wants their vehicle "totaled" and to be paid the $26,000 value.

That won't happen. The insurance company is in control of when the threshold resulting in a total loss has been crossed. Since they have apparently decided to pay the full cost of repairs, no matter how costly that will be, the only remedy left to the OP is a possible "Diminished Value" claim once repairs are complete.

That will require a separate appraisal of the wholesale/retail value of the repaired vehicle.

Posted: 01 Feb 2013 01:04 Post Subject:

I think I need to explain my whole story to understand the case better. My car is 2011 Honda Pilot has 13300 miles. I met an accident on 4th Dec, 2012 and other driver (lady) was at fault. She came and hit my car left rear and left side all air bags from third row to driver are deployed. On 6th December my insurance (21st Century) did visual inspection and said that $10,100 would be the repair cost. Next day when I approach other driver's insurance (Progressive) they told they need to take my car to body shop and do the estimation. I said go ahead and do the estimation. On 11th December Progressive said estimation came to $18300 and the repair cost would go little more higher when actual work starts and it would cross 80% of the car value and they declared it as total. Since other driver has only $25,000 limit in her policy they advised me to go through my insurance as the vehicle actual value is somewhere around $27,000. I said the same thing to my insurance and they sent another adjuster on 17th December and he added another $3200 to initial estimation and said that repair cost would be around $13300 and it cannot be totaled. After that body shop started tear down the vehicle based on 21st Century estimations and started repairing the car on 21st December. As work progress they found some other damages and as of 30th January, 2013 amount reached to $19300 and there are chances to reach $20,000 as repair is going to take another 10 more days. But still my insurance is saying repair cost is not reaching 80% of the car value, which is $20,800, it can not be totalled.

My concern is actual car value is 27000 (as per 21st century) and repair cost is close to $20,000. I am not willing to drive this car which has this much damage. Not only me, none of the customers would be willing in the world. Is there any legal or other approach to handle this? Or is it a waste of time?

I compared two estimations (Progressive and 21st Century) and found that 21st century quoted with some re-conditioned parts whereas Progressive quoted with new parts. After that I understood that 21st is trying to repair the vehicle within the policy limit of other driver and pay nothing from their account. If 21st Century agrees for totaling the car then they have to pay some $2000 from their account. In order to save just few dollar they are giving hard trouble to the customers.

Posted: 01 Feb 2013 03:28 Post Subject:

Well, here's the skinny. The at fault party owes you the full cost of your repairs. But since 21st Century is paying for the repairs, they have the right to collect their loss from that person (or their insurance company). That will all happen behind the scenes, and you will not be involved in any way.

I am not willing to drive this car which has this much damage. Not only me, none of the customers would be willing in the world.


Fine, when the repairs are complete, you sell the vehicle for what you can. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, then you can file a claim for diminished value with 21st Century, and should get most of the difference between the selling price and the book value. (You have to make every attempt to sell the vehicle at the highest possible price.)

Posted: 03 Feb 2013 01:42 Post Subject:

Thank you very much. I will claim diminished value

Posted: 03 Feb 2013 02:46 Post Subject:

I should have mentioned that you can also submit the diminished value claim before you sell the vehicle. That may actually be a better path to take.

Posted: 03 Feb 2013 03:00 Post Subject:

I spoke with my insurance adjuster (21st century) and he said that they can not give and it is not mandatory in Florida and asked me to get it from other driver insurance (Progressive) if possible.

Posted: 03 Feb 2013 03:06 Post Subject:

Do you have uninsured motorist coverage? If you do, then the answer from 21st Century is wrong.

Posted: 03 Feb 2013 03:13 Post Subject:

Yes I do have the Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (non-stack) limit of $50,000.00/$100,000.00

If this is the one then how can i prove to my insurance that this diminished value should be paid by them only?

Posted: 03 Feb 2013 03:32 Post Subject:

If 21st Century is paying your claim, then they have the responsibility to pay your diminished value loss, and they will recover what they can from the other insurance company in the "behind the scenes" arbitration that goes on in the industry. If they recover on their loss, you must also be reimbursed for your deductible. If they don't recover anything, then your claim has been settled properly according to your contract, including the diminished value loss.

If 21st Century insists they are not responsible, they have to tell you precisely why not. File a complaint with your state's Dept of Insurance to obtain additional assistance with this matter. You should be able to do that online today.

Posted: 03 Feb 2013 03:35 Post Subject:

thank you very much for your help and your valuable time.

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 08:17 Post Subject:

In case if repair work cost reaches 80% of actual car value, do i have right to ask for totalling the car or not?

Posted: 06 Feb 2013 02:51 Post Subject:

Insurance is not Burger King. You can't have it your way. The decision is up to the insurance company alone. If they want to pay to repair it, that's their choice.

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 01:55 Post Subject:

My car got repaired with final amount $19200. Today I went to a car dealer to trade-in and they pulled CARFAX and report showed as TOTAL LOSS. And they are not ready to trade-in as this car is worthless now as CARFAX showing it as TOTAL LOSS. Even if I claim diminished value I don't think they will compensate. What should I do now?

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 11:30 Post Subject:

And they are not ready to trade-in as this car is worthless now as CARFAX showing it as TOTAL LOSS.


The car is not "worthless", it is only unacceptable to the dealer as a trade-in vehicle. Surely there is a dealer somewhere that would take the vehicle in trade, give you a low ball amount for it, and turn right around and sell it for a couple of thousand dollars more to someone else.

But now you have the basis for suing everyone involved. The at-fault party and their insurance company, and your insurance company.

You are going to need an experienced INSURANCE BAD FAITH attorney for this, not some personal injury shylock that advertises on television and radio. They will know how to proceed with your case.

Don't delay in this. Find an attorney and have them get the ball rolling. You are going to give up 30% to 40% of the judgment, unless your state allows attorney's fees to be awarded separately from the damage claim.

But you still have the vehicle, it was repaired and is in safe working order, so you can continue to drive it until the wheels fall off or you can sell it on your own for the highest price you can get, having advised the purchaser of the vehicle's condition. It still has value, only not as much as an undamaged model.

Posted: 16 Mar 2013 12:03 Post Subject:

The insurance company made a poor decision in this case. the appraiser should have considered the salvage value of your vehicle, and not stuck to an arbitrary 80% threshold. If they researched salvage value, they probably would have been able to total the car from the beginning, unless there is some Florida state law mandating an 80% threshold. The appraiser should also consider additional damage, rental expense, and probable mechanical damage that he/she was unable to see, but could be reasonably expected from the collision. At this point I would do some research on salvage values (try the Copart or IAA websites) by trying to find sold auction prices for similar vehicles with similar damage. Then I would start by making a lot of noise with my insurance company, especially in light of what your dealer is telling you. I would talk to supervisors at the insurance company, and anyone else I could think of. Poke the hornet's nest, and see where it leads. Is there a Florida law similar to Massachusetts statute 93A? That would allow you to go after triple damages. There may be some unfair claim practices used here as well.

Posted: 16 Mar 2013 12:11 Post Subject:

You may have trouble determining salvage value on your own. You may want to talk to people at a local used auto parts yard. They can get sales results for these type of sales, as can insurance appraisers. Good luck, and don't give up.

Posted: 17 Mar 2013 03:17 Post Subject:

Talk to an attorney about your case.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.