Insurance company refuses to total my vehicle but I want it totaled – what can I do?

April 11, 2016By Justin Petty

What if I want to total my vehicle but the insurance company refuses to total?

Frankly, I’m surprised that I don’t get asked the title question more often, but I know why I don’t.  Simply put, it is the dogmatic way insurance adjusters explain the total loss or repair process to accident victims.

From the onset of dealing with most adjusters, the tone is set by the adjuster that what they say is how it is.  Most simply TELL people how it is.  The art of negotiation is lost and with it, common sense. 

This isn’t their fault; their supervisor told them how it was when they started and as they trained.  But don’t blame the supervisor because his manager told him how it was when he started.  But don’t blame the manager. . . you see where I am going with this? 

It is a mindset drilled into adjusters that THEY are the ones that decide if a vehicle is totaled or not.  They are sadly mistaken.

So, listen, it is YOUR vehicle. 

YOURS. 

Not theirs. 

YOU decide what to do with it, not them.  Remind them of this if you disagree with them.  Ask them whose name is on the title.  After you have cleared up the issue of ownership and ultimate control over the destiny of your vehicle, then you have to implement a plan to bring the destiny to reality.

WHAT’S THE MADE WHOLE DOCTRINE & WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ANYWAY?

March 31, 2016By Justin Petty

Made Whole Doctrine: Are you being preyed upon?

Insurance companies count on vehicle owners not knowing about the law, specifically the made whole doctrine.  They use the lack of knowledge by the layman to prey on accident victims for profit.  Right now, many of the accident victims that are reading this article are being further victimized by their own insurance company, and many times the adjusters that are doing the victimizing have been indoctrinated to believe they are doing the right thing and that they are within the law.

Let me be very clear here:

Insurance companies routinely steal money from their own customers through improper and illegal subrogation activities.

INVALID DIMINISHED VALUE CLAIM DENIAL – 8 Unfair Examples

January 22, 2016By Justin Petty

If you’ve had the displeasure of being in an accident where your vehicle was repairable, you’ve probably experienced a loss in the resale value of your vehicle, no matter how well it was repaired.

Additionally, in the vast majority of cases the insurance company that is responsible for settling the claim with you gives you an unfair and invalid diminished value claim denial.  In my view, the denial of these valid claims is an act of fraud.

If it is fraud, then why doesn’t the insurance company get in trouble for it?

The primary reason is that there are very few attorneys and even fewer accident victims that really understand the denials.  Because of that, it is difficult for the accident victim to defeat the illogical and unlawful reasons that insurance companies use to deny diminished value claims. 

I thought long and hard about what I could do to help accident victims get fair compensation for lost value, and outside of preparing an appraisal for them and directing them to an attorney that will take their case, the best I can do is to educate.  So that is exactly what I will do right now!

I’ve already published one article that gives some responses to common denials, but in this post, I am going to pull out the stops and address every denial reason I can find, and provide all the proper reasons why the denials are invalid, improper, and in most cases, fraudulent.

Auto Dealer Quotes & Diminished Value – The Solution

January 21, 2016By Justin Petty

If you are attempting to recover damages as a result of diminished value, you will undoubtedly be required to prove your loss.

This can be very difficult for the average accident victim. Can you just call around and get auto dealer quotes to prove your loss?  

Knowledge of the proper methodologies and form for presenting valid supporting data eludes most laymen.

As a former licensed adjuster and current owner of a claim services company, I can attest to how hard it is to document diminished value in a credible manner.

Spill The Beans!  

How Do I Prove My Diminished Value?

Has Attorney Montie Day Changed California Diminished Value Law?

January 13, 2016By Justin Petty 1 Comment

In the small world of automobile claims, there’s new buzz surrounding California Diminished Value law and the recent changes in California Jury Instructions regarding property damage to automobiles.

The changes came in response to one attorney’s relentless pursuit of justice. Attorney Montie S. Day refused to sit idly by when he realized California insurance carriers and their adjusters were using language in official jury instructions to try and make accident victims believe they could not legally recover lost value damages.  Specifically, we’re talking about inherent lost market value to automobiles, or as it is more commonly known, diminished value or simply DV.  Market surveys and sales prove that damaged and repaired vehicles are generally less desirable (thus, less valuable) on the resale market than identical vehicles that have never been damaged and repaired.

What’s interesting here is that big changes are expected, yet there is no new California Diminished Value law.  What the insightful Mr. Day attacked was not improper law (jury instructions are not law, and the law in California already recognized the right of a victim to recover inherent lost value aka diminished value).  Instead he realized insurance carriers were using language in the jury instructions to mislead accident victims and imply that the law in California would not allow recovery of inherent diminished value, so he attacked and exposed that unfair and misleading tactic.

How The Amount Of The Repair Bill Affects Diminished Value

January 12, 2016By Justin Petty

Severity of Damage and Inherent Diminished Value

In a professional forum for diminished value providers, we had a member inquire about how the amount of the repair bill affects the diminished value (inherent) of a vehicle.

It is my experience that the amount of damages is an imperative factor to have in order to accurately assess diminished value.

Let’s dig right into the details…

Collision Repair – 7 Things You Need to Know

January 11, 2016By Justin Petty

Worried about your collision repair after an auto accident?

You ought to be.

In nearly 15 years as an adjuster, I have seen some doozies when it comes to collision repair.

Not all shops are crooks, but body shops, like any other business, are in business to make money.

Most people are not experts on collision repair, and body shops know this.

Taking your car to a body shop is sort of like going to the doctor or hiring an attorney. You kind of have to trust what the doctor or lawyer says because they are specially trained.

It is the same for a body shop, you kind of have to trust what they tell you because they are specially trained.

Auto Accident: Third Party Claim and Myths About Adjusters

January 6, 2016By Justin Petty

What is a third party claim and what do you need to know?

Anytime you’re involved in an auto accident and it was not your fault, you potentially have a third party claim.

If the at fault party has liability insurance, then when you file a claim with their insurance company and you have a third party claim.

I have read quite a few articles that give a lot of bad information about adjusters. The thing I have noticed about those articles is that none of them were written by an insurance adjuster!

I’d be willing to bet that if you have not been an insurance adjuster, then you believe insurance adjusters are almost as bad as used car salesmen or attorneys, hehehe. It is a common view. I can’t speak for every single insurance claims office out there, but I can say that I have worked for 5 different non-standard companies as an adjuster, and I have worked on contract for many standard companies as a recovery specialist with a firm.

I have never been instructed to deny any valid claim, nor have I been advised to “low-ball” claimants.

This might happen at some companies, but it is definitely not the norm. Insurance adjusters (if they care about their license) will usually try very hard to fairly resolve claims.

I will say that I have definitely dealt with some companies that have some “questionable” practices.

I won’t name names, but some of these companies simply attempt to cut costs by hiring inexperienced adjusters and giving them a “rule-book”.

It is the inexperience of the adjuster in interpreting the “rules” that causes the majority of the issues.

Total Loss Settlement Tips

January 4, 2016By Justin Petty

The Petty Details of Total Losses

What should you do when you are dealing with a total loss?  

We get so many questions every day from people involved in an accident where their vehicle was totaled and they are now getting a low offer from the insurance company and just don’t know what to do next.  

We always tell them that it is always a negotiation and that they have to fight and prove their points with the information we are revealing below today!  

We put together some total loss settlement tips to get you moving in the right direction on your auto claim.