October 6, 2009 Justin Petty

Total Loss – Help Yourself on Automobile Total Losses

total loss

I get a lot of questions about what the consumer can do to fight the insurance company when it comes to the value of their total loss.  Unfortunately, if you don’t have an adjuster’s license or some other credentials that qualify you to render an opinion on a vehicle’s value, then you are at the mercy of the insurance company.

All hope is not lost, though.

There are a few things you can do that may help you get a better settlement without spending another dime on your insurance claim.

Argue.

This may work if you make some valid arguments.  The insurance adjuster should be able to discern whether your arguments are valid or not and if they are valid, they should adjust the claim accordingly.  Make sure you have a copy of how they evaluated the value of your car and then look it over very carefully for any discrepancies in the mileage, options, or condition of your vehicle.  If there are no discrepancies, you will likely have a hard time arguing value because the value is an opinion of market worth that can only be certified by an insurance company or licensed and trained professional.

Get A Second Opinion.

So if you can not find any discrepancies in the description of your vehicle’s condition, options, or mileage, and you still think you are being given the short end of the stick, you may want to invest in a second opinion.

Fight for your total loss ebookIf you are filing a claim on your own insurance policy, there is likely a clause that allows you and the insurance company to pick an independent appraiser and split the cost of getting a second opinion.  If you are filing a third party claim against another’s policy, you will just have to pay for the cost of the second opinion and ask for them to pay you back later.  In many instances, the cost of an independent appraiser or adjuster is too expensive for it to make sense to hire them, so in that case, just bite the bullet and understand that is how the system works, but if you are really getting stiffed, the cost of the appraisal may make economic sense.

As a business owner that provides this service, I set my price mark at a flat $150.00.  Most of the time, a dispute in excess of this amount makes sense to pursue.  I will always provide a free consultation and opinion on your case, so don’t feel like you have no options.  If you have found this blog, at the very least you can get the satisfaction of talking to an adjuster that is no being paid by the insurance company.  Good luck!

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