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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33073
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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How much can I expect from my insurance company for my totaled

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How much can I expect from my insurance company for my totaled vehicle?

My SUV was stolen from my home and then totaled when the driver ran off the road. Of course, the driver had zero insurance, but I contacted my provider immediately upon hearing of the wreck. I had already contacted them five days earlier to let them know the vehicle was stolen. An appraiser from my insurance company called last week to say he would be going to inspect the damage to the vehicle. Since I had viewed the damage myself, he asked my opinion of the condition of the car. I stated that it was totaled, extensive damage to the front end, under body, etc. (one wheel was completely torn off from the vehicle). He stated that he would go to the site and determine the salvage value. What does that mean? Now I am wondering what amount of compensation I will receive from my provider. My SUV was in excellent condition, no damage whatsoever, and came equipped with every upgrade you can imagine. I'm hoping to be able to replace it. Is that wishful thinking?

JD 1992 :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

JD 1992 :

Unfortunately, it is unlikely you will get enough to replace the vehicle.

JD 1992 :

Most people think the insurance companies use "The Blue Book" to determine values but that is untrue. They use a service that has a database of what vehicles like yours with similar equipment, mileage, etc. sell for in your area. The vehicles they look at are always used so the price is always less than what you would have paid.

Customer:

I have begun looking online for comparable vehicles for sale. Very few have all the bells and whistles my had. Would it benefit me to keep a record of the values I find? Is the insurance company's determination final?

JD 1992 :

Yes, keep a record and print out whatever you find. The insurance company's price is set in stone 95% of the time but occasionally if they make a mistake and you have it on paper they will back off.

Customer:

I'm curious to what salvage value means?

JD 1992 :

That is the amount the vehicle is still worth as it sits there. All vehicles have a salvage value even if it is a few dollars. Some people want to keep the salvage and try and restore the vehicle themselves using the money they get and doing the work themselves. In that case the insurance company would let them "buy" the totaled vehicle by deducting the salvage value from the check.

Customer:

I see. So that value would only come into play if I were interested in keeping the vehicle. Otherwise, they will use the service and offer me that value as settlement, Correct?

JD 1992 :

Yes, that's correct.

Customer:

Do you have any pointers on what I can do to help me receive the highest settlement that I can, or at least what to look out for so that I am not under compensated. I realize it is their "job" to pay out the least amount they can get away with.

JD 1992 :

Just get together a number of other prices that tell what it should sell for. Also, if they dramatically lowball you go and hire a lawyer right away to send them a "bad faith" letter with all of the information that you have.

Customer:

Thank you for the information. Have a great day. I have some homework to do.

JD 1992 :

You're very welcome!

JD 1992 :

Best wishes to you on this and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work.

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