Can I make insurance company declare my car totaled?

by Guest » Mon Oct 22, 2007 08:31 pm

I was in an accident (due to an animal in the road) which left me in a pond. My car wasn't completely submerged. About a foot or 2 on the drivers side and around 3 1/2 feet on the passenger side. I hit some piping in the pond that damaged the front end: i.e radiator, air conditioner, power steering, some other stuff, idk I'm not exactly car savvy. The interior is wrecked! the impact busted a transmission line and all the fluid came out and the insurance appraiser ran it with no fluid. Not knowing about the loss of fluid, they told me I could drive it from the tow yard to the mechanical shop (less than 1 mile). I did, but of course I didn't make it. The car stopped going. they are saying the damage reaches around $9000.00. Its a 2005 Dodge Magnum SXT (no hemi). the value of the car is about $15,000 give or take a thousand. I've been told by everyone, including different mechanics, that I'm am most likely going to have all sorts of problems with it in the future. I pay close to $800 a month for this car, but I have gap insurance. So I'M covered if it is deemed a total loss. And i want my car totaled since I could have future problems AND the fact that it's not worth nearly as much no that it's been involved in a car accident with flooding. But it's not looking like they are going to total it. they say that the damage needs to exceed the value. But MY question is, is that, arent they concerned about the likely possibility of re-opening a claim, maybe even multiple times? And is there anyway I could convince them to total it out?? PLUS I have environmental asthma and a huge deathly allergy to mold, mildrew, spores... ect.. and I am so afraid they're going to miss something that got wet (it took them five days to even appraise it) and mold or mildew grows, and I end up in the hospital. (it's happened before). AND my 3 year old has the environmental asthma as well. So I'm TERRIFIED to have this car and I want my car totaled ..what else can I do??? Is my car totaled once I make things clear to them?

Total Comments: 39

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:03 pm Post Subject: Total Loss

You have a real sticky issue here as you probably already know.
First of all, how many estimates did you get for the damages to your car?
It would be a good idea to get at least three from independent people, not the ones the insurance company uses.
Where did you get the $15,000 figure on the value of your car?
If you have rental reimbursement coverage on your aulto policy, you could rent a vehicle until your car is repaired.
Sometimes it's hard to get an insurance company to declare that a vehicle is totaled.
If the settlement offered by the company is not satisfactory to you, you certainly don't have to accept it. It would not be a good idea to sign any type of release document until you are convinced that the insurance company is right.
You may have to seek some legal advice especially taking into account your and your 3-year-old's medical condition.
I wish I could be more help to you, but the one thing that is always certain about insurance is - there is not a "this is how you do it all the time" answer.

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:58 am Post Subject: Is my car totaled?

well, the appraiser did an estamate, and then let me bring it to a place of MY chosing to have a mechanical estamate done for what he himself could not see. But none else thus far. I got the $15,000 figure based on averaging out 3 different sites. (nada, kbb, edmunds). It ranged from $13,000+ - $17,000+. I used the middle figure between the trade-in and retail value.
Unfortunately, I do not have rental coverage on my policy, which is weird to me because I don't ever remember being asked. I said yes to everything they offered me in the policy when I first baught it. so?? I guess that doesn't matter if it's not on there.
Also, what I thought was weird was when the appraiser was first with the car appraising it, I had a lot of questions, and one of my major concerns was the electrical on the right side of the car that was sitting in the water for over an hour. He said that it would all be replaced. I also asked about the right side door-speaker (valued @ $130-$150). The speaker worked, but I (of corse) was worried about it working in the futer. When the adjuster went over what they had apraissed so far before the supplement, there was no electrial anything, but, there WAS the right door-speaker. So why is it that they'll replace a speaker that works now, but may cause problems in the futer, but not the electrical that works now but might very well short out on me in the futer? I just wanted to explain why i want my car totaled ..
(thank you for replying btw! :) )

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 05:31 am Post Subject:

Here is the thing... and I'll get right to the point. You want to insurance companies to pay more then they owe (repairs) so that you can buy another vehicle and not have to worry about what you owe on this one.

If you don't want to keep the vehicle because of your issues, have them repair it and then sell it. Once sold, buy another vehicle. But again, I think you really want those insurance companies to take the loss on your accident in the form of them paying more then your insurance contract requires in order to put you in a much better position.

What that being said, the vehicle is not even close to being a total loss. You'd have to have around $12k in repairs for it to be considered a total loss. Also, if your insurance company cannot come up with this figure, your GAP carrier might not honor a total loss claim. But bottom line, your carrier is not going to pay an additional $3k without a good reason.

Repairs. 2-3' of the front end in the water is nothing. Water should not be in the engine and the interior of the vehicle can be removed and replaced. Under that flooring material is just metal. Mold really needs to have a consistent dampness or renewed moisture. To be honest, I've never heard of a mold issue in a vehicle before. People spill liquid on seats all the time.

I understand you don't want the vehicle any longer and I'm not saying I disagree. But you still have the option of selling it after its repaired.

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 07:24 am Post Subject: i want my car totaled ..

My friend,

Insurance Maze has done a right thing to have branded your case as a 'sticky' one. Also I do have a great respect towards tcope's expert vision. But for your satisfaction, I'd like to stress upon some facts over here-
>>>Also, what I thought was weird was when the appraiser was first with the car appraising it, I had a lot of questions, and one of my major concerns was the electrical on the right side of the car that was sitting in the water for over an hour.
See appraisers are people who'd settle your claim upon the interest of his company & keeping in mind the outflow of funds. So they'd definitely recognize facts that are not too burdening on them.

>>>>So why is it that they'll replace a speaker that works now, but may cause problems in the futer, but not the electrical that works now but might very well short out on me in the futer?

Well, you should not for the time sign any agreement that states anything about replacing your speaker unless its stressing upon replacing the electricals. Listen, first of all you'd need to get your losses enlisted & attach pics of the condition of your car (both before n after the accident) & then produce it at the State DMV office. If possible attach a couple of contact info related to any of the witnesses. A couple of comparative rates for the damaged parts could also help establish your cause. Yupp, in case you can't avail any benefits through the DMV, then you need to seek the help of an experienced attorney!

Also, see availing the benefits for a rental car could also be achieved to some extent through your capability to negotiate with the adjuster. For all this you'd surely need to go through your policy papers fairly & carefully so that you could understand what each of the clauses specify & are meant for. See if anything is mentioned about the accidental medical benefits (I thought you'd have them covered under your accident insurance). I personally feel everyone of us who drives a car should now possess an accident insurance policy.
Once you're fully equipped with the knowledge of your policy benefits, can you only fight for your benefits. Otherwise as tcope said insurance companies have the experience to cut-it-short!
Hope you'd come out of this very soon!
Regards, ArindamSenIndies

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:41 am Post Subject:

Good morning Amanda, and welcome to the community,

You have received some good advise here, along with some :? confusing advise :? .

You don't say what state you are in, check with either your carrier or the Dept of Ins. Many states (mine and two that border me) have a 'percent' law on the books in addition to 'obvious totals' (OTL) and eonomical total'
losses. My state just changed it from 75-80% of the vehicles acv (actual cash value)...if your vehicle is worth 15k, you'd (as tcope correctly mentioned) would be about 2k-3k from a total.

As to 'flood' damage. All carriers have 'rules' surrounding flood cars. If water mark reaches a certain point vehicle is an automatic total loss, (ie into dash, gone! totaled!, half way up doors etc.) I'm sure whatever your level of water must not have met your companies OTL guideline. I can assure you if this adjuster is experienced at all or has to handle any 'come backs' he would've liked this vehicle to total as well, flood vehicles are headaches, and dependant upon the depth of the water and parts submerged, you could have electrical issues way down the road. But then again you might not. THAT is the problem with flood vehicles.

So I'm TERRIFEID to have this car. what can I do???

Here is what I think you should do...your vehicle is in a shop now correct? Have a through tear down, and any supplemental items listed, (I assume this shop is also a body shop and able to address any body work if there is any). After the full supplement is ready additional hidden damage found, include your door business here if you think you can get away with it, also if not on the original estimate, interior ALL of it except dash unless they are replacing it will need to be removed, cleaned and dried by a person who specializes in mold/flood clean up. Be sure the shop contacts your adjuster, and go from there. If the total cost of repair meets the criteria your state/company has on the books it's a total, if it doesn't it is not a total, and will need repaired. Was the tranny addressed? Most newer vehicles will simply shut down when run out of fluid before the tranny is ruined but make sure that is checked as well. Also this supplement needs to be done NOW, well within a week anyway! :wink:

Tcope is right if you are sure you don't want the vehicle back after it is repaired sell/trade it.

Check on the supplement first, advise your shop not to begin any REPAIRS until a completed supplement has been presented to your company and addressed (either paid, denied or totaled vehicle). Find out your states total loss law. Then you will have to make a decision, also talk with your states Dept of Ins re: your company owing for clean up and any mold removal, (if this isn't on the estimate already) although as
Tcope mentioned, I have not had this come up on vehicles either. I have repaired many 'flood' vehicles like yours, and have always pulled whatever interior needed pulled and cleaned up, and all was ok then. Surely that is one the estimate (?)

Let us know.........

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 03:52 pm Post Subject: Come on!

You're paying $800 a month for a car that's only worth $15,000. Your story sounds sketchy the whole way through. You obviously want out of the car for economic reasons primarily, I can only imagine what your payoff is (you're probably a little under $10,000 upside-down right now, 15,000 if you try to trade the car in to a dealership). My advice would be to make sure that next time you get into an accident, it IS totaled. Or pay somebody to steal it or blow it up.

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 08:13 pm Post Subject:

I wanted my tracker to be a total loss to, but some how they figured they could fix it, they did and it was never the same, the following year I had residual problems that did not show up immediately, the repairs came out of my pocket. I always said that if this ever happen to me again on a newer vehicle, I would get it fixed and trade it out as soon as I could.

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:03 pm Post Subject:

My advice would be to make sure that next time you get into an accident, it IS totaled.

how you gonna do that?

Or pay somebody to steal it or blow it up.

hope that was a joke! :roll: :? :?:

Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 05:27 am Post Subject: Welcome!

Hi Corrine,
Your post has been shifted to the following url:

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:46 pm Post Subject: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's the deal I need to total my car so I don't have a payment anymore but I owe twice as much as the value will it be paid off or will I be stuck with the bill

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