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They are trying to total my car!


Dr_rich

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I was rear-ended, and their insurance is wanting to total my baby. I have had three estimates to fix, and they are all running around $3,000. She is in fair-good condition, having many parts I have not put on/installed due to weather. I am just needing some advice on how to proceed with the insurance company. I truely want to keep her, but don't want a reconstructed title to ruin the value.

What can I do?

Thanks!!!

~Richard

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If they are trying to "total" it... it just means the value of the car is less than the damages. Ie: If your car is only worth $1,500 and the damages are $3,000... they will call it "totalled"...

You do have the option of taking the money and NOT totalling the car. But, sometimes they want it so they can make extra money on the parts.

I would ask them if you can keep the car and take the money. You won't get enough for the damages, but, at least it's something.

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I would be asking myself how much would it cost to replace with a similar zed?

Obviously, if it's less than 3K, then take the money and run [try to negotiate to keep the remains].

If it's more than 3K, I would be inclinded to force the insurance company to repair the vehicle.

An offer doesn't mean you have to accept it, legally you can force them to repair your car back to the standard that it was before the collision.

HIH

MOM

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Usually when they total the car, you will have the option to "buy back" the car for some portion of the cash that was paid to you. The problem is when you accept the money, you have released your interest in the car to the insurance company. They (the insurance company) may allow you to buy back the car, but it is sold to you with a "Salvage" title. (Not a good thing, IMO) Fight them.

In the USA, I don't think you can force them to repair a car that is worth less than the cost of repairs. If this was true there would be no need for agreed value insurance policies and companies like Haggerty.

(at least I don't know of anyone who has been able to do so. It really doesn't make any business sense for that to be allowed and you know how powerful the insurance companies are.)

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When an idiot made a left turn in front of me and I had to clip his right rear because I wasn't leaving my lane (cars behind him in left turn lane), they tried to total my ''83 ZXT.

I keep all invoices/maintenance records and inundated the adjuster with many faxes.

They wound up replacing right front fender, hood, radiator support, right front headlight- Cibie - and bucket and of course paint.

I kept stating to the adjuster - "you owe me what I had - nothing more, nothing less". A few times I stated "Find me another in this good shape and buy it for me and you can have this one, but it better be at least this good".

This system works well when you are dealing with the other person's (at fault) insurance company - they are eager to settle before you find out you have injuries that don't surface right away...

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as brad man said, they are very eager to settle, even thou im in australia, the insurance companys are basically the same with money etc, they want to give you as least as possible, but there are laws, even in the states that act on your side as yo were not at fault, there are quite a few options for the insurance company to give you, but a money payout is the fastest and easiest way for them to get you out of there hair, and most people take the money reason why they offer that first, talk to the insurance company first and see if you can work something out so its not on a salvage title, otherwise find all your receipts, find others in the same or better condition as yours , that are selling at the moment and that are higher than the amount they said your car is worth and show this to them (the adds and receipts), and see what they say then.

My first Z was stolen and burnt, i showd the insurance company receipts, and others Zs selling for 6k ish etc etc, and and so i got the full amont the insurance company could give me,

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Ok, you can not 'force' an insurance company into doing what you want...but you can try and direct them in the direction you would like to see it go.

As the others have said, if they are trying to total the car it's simply because the cost of repairs are at or over what they feel the value of the car is. This in NO way implies that the car can not be repaired. They are in business to make money and this means paying out the least amount on a claim they can get away with.

I also want to clarify something that a couple others have states here. If the repair quotes you got are $3k this in no way means that the insurance company will pay you $3k. It has been mentioned that you take the $3k and find another car or take the $3k and buy back your car and fix it. I do not see anywhere that you have said that they offered you $3k for your car so please understand how the process works.

Now as for how to keep your car and get it fixed. I once was in this situation and the car I had was above average for it's age/make/model but the insurance company still wanted to total it because of the cost of repairs vs. the value they determined the car to be worth. In my case I did end up taking the money we finally agreed upon for the car to be totalled (more than the initial offer) and then "bought the car back from them" and had it repaired. NO title was ever exchanged therefore it never showed as a salvage auto. :)

How did I manage this you ask? I refused to settle the claim, I NEVER released the car to them. This did a couple things, they could not send the car off to the crusher as I never released it to them, and the longer it sat the more they were racking up in storage fees from the repair shop it was at. This equates to a little bit of leverage. I also did what has been mentioned here...I gave them three options, 1) fix it 2) replace it with one in like condition (this would have cost them the most) 3) pay me what I showed the car to really be worth (not the blue book value) less their salvage cost and I would get it fixed. They obviously choose option 3...but not for several weeks. It ended up where the claims supervisor called me and flat out asked me what I wanted and that's finally when we were able to come to an agreement. Of course by this time the repair shop had already fixed it by my request as I knew that I would be keeping the car one way or another (options 1 or 3 above as I knew that they would not take 2 due to the added expense in locating a car, inspections, and the purchase price that one would run). Yes, this was a risk I ran but it paid off.

Now this car was nothing special, it was only an '84 Accord, but as many may know the Honda's are worth more than what the blue book lists them at (or at least that's the way it was at the time). Oh and for reference this accident was in early summer of '90.

Ways I showed the car's true value was through receipts, however know that if you show a repair for brake work they will say "so what, that's normal maintence" but any modifications done that would increase the value will help. Don't believe me...I tried this because I had just pur $350 worth of new tires on the car two weeks before the accident and got the same reply! I also pulled ads from the paper and car dealerships for other cars of the same make/model and explained that neither I nor they knew the condition of these other cars but we both knew the condition of mine and could clearly see that their value was too low. I also provided the paperwork from where I had bought it two years earlier for more than twice what they claimed it to be worth. All of this kind of information will help you and support your claims about the value of the car.

If you are also wondering my basis for some of what I stated here...I used to work for one of the largest auto insurance companies in the country. I didn't work in claims but certainly do understand how they work and still remember many of the rules...every state IS different so please also keep this in mind.

I hope that this information and my story helps you out. I suggest not pressing too many buttons until you are certain that you will not be able to close the claim to your satisfaction. The claims person is you friend and can be very helpful to you so do not alienate them right off the bat or you will have an up hill battle on your hands.

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Wow, thanks guys! I appreciate all of the input. I am going to call the adjuster tomorrow morn to see if we can get to a happy medium. And as Brad-Man stated, I agree with your sentiment; all I want is what I had, nothing more, nothing less.

Thanks again, I really do appreciate it!

~Richard

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If you end up having to purchase your "totaled" Z back from the insurance company you only have to pay what a local junkyard would be willing to pay for it. Meaning next to nothing. The insurance company will NOT make any calls, so call around and get some quotes and take notes. I went through this 2 years ago and the average of three quotes came out to $78. My car was a real total but the suspension, interior, wheels, and drivetrain were worth over $10,000. (rebello 3.2L, custom wheels, quaiffe diff, coil-overs, etc.). I got it all back for $78.00 plus the damages on the car.

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