Car value/ insurance dispute

My car was a total loss and I just got the estimate from insurance. Kelly blue book gives me a wildly different estimate than looking for comparable vehicles in the area. I feel the insurance valuation report cherry picked prices that don’t reflect all the options on the vehicle. It’s hard to tell though w/ all the different models and packages they threw in. Is there a better way to figure this out? Anyone had any success challenging the insurance company?

Yes, I’ve been through this. It does depend on whether your insurance is paying the tab (first party) or another company is liable (3rd party). I had a real problem with 3rd party insurance. My son needed a car while in college because he was working with a church. He loaned the car to a family in the church to take their daughter back to college when their own car wouldn’t run. Our car was hit head-on, at low speed fortunately, by a driver who crossed the center line. The car was declared a total loss. My son needed a car to drive. The 3rd party insurance made up all kinds of excuses as to why they would not furnish a rental car until all was settled. I firmly informed them that I paid insurance for a driver under the same and that they could do the same. I also informed them that if I had to make a trip of 50 miles to the town where my son was in college, I would charge them for my time. They finally furnished a rental car for my son. Two days later, the 3rd party insurance adjuster called and said that the car was a total loss. He had a computer printout that showed the market value of the car to be $3125. I had talked with a car dealer who knew my car and he estimated that it was worth $4000. I checked classified ads and local publication “Wheels and Deals” where sellers list their cars. The going price seemed to be $3900 to $4200. I told the adjuster that market value was what I would have to pay in my area to replace the car. I asked him to find an equivalent car at a dealer, get a guaranteed price, and I would either take the car or accept a check for the amount. The adjuster non-too-politely informed me that he did not go shopping. I informed him of my hourly charge when I do consulting work and said that if I had to search out the car, I would add this to the bill. He responded “I do not have to listen to this crap!” and hung up. Since I had the rental car that his company had furnished, I really didn’t care and figured he would call back. Sure enough, the next day he did call back. He said, “We have to get together on this car business”. I retorted, “Young man, I want to things from you. I want an apology for your conduct on the telephone yesterday and I want $4000 for the car your insured party destroyed”. He then came back and said, “I’ll send you a check for $4000, and you return your title when you receive the check”. He then hung up. I only got half of what I wanted–I didn’t get the apology–but the check came in two days and we concluded the deal. My advice is to get the going price of your vehicle in your area and hold the insurance company up to this price.

Yes, they’ll try to lowball you. The book the adjuster uses is one similar to a car dealer and is different than one that a member of the general public might buy at a book store or auto parts house.

I’ve been through this a couple of times. In my cases, the insinuation of headaches and a stiff neck coming on seemed to increase the value of the car tremendously. :slight_smile:

Yes, all things are negotiable. You only have their first offer. Do a little local shopping, and get back with them. Let them know what you are willing to take. I sold a car to a girl who wrecked it the next night. It was hard for them to give her less that she’d paid 30 hours earlier, but they sure tried. At least you don’t have to contend with a deductable since it was the other guys fault.

If you don’t get satisfaction, your state probably has an insurance commissioner or some such office that you can involve. Believe me, the insurance company doesn’t want to talk to them.

You can challenge the value. KBB is beyond optimistic while isnurance tends to low ball. I would try and present your case in a logical manner using local ads and highlight the mileage and similar options or missing options.

Don’t push too much though as you can end up in a bad situation

What you need to do to fight this is get newspaper clippings or on-line postings of vehicles like your with same options and close to same mileage. Get SEVERAL ads to show the adjuster.

As for OPTIONS…If you’re talking about ad-ons (i.e. Aftermarket options)…Those you’ll NEVER be able to recover from a accident. Insurance ONLY covers Manufacturer/dealer options. After market ad-ons will ONLY be covered IF you specificially notified your insurance company and were paying the higher premiums.

As for OPTIONS…If you’re talking about ad-ons (i.e. Aftermarket options)…Those you’ll NEVER be able to recover from a accident. Insurance ONLY covers Manufacturer/dealer options.

That only applies to the insured car.  If the other driver's insurance is handling it because their customer was at fault, then I believe most states don't allow for those kinds of limitations unless the insurance company is making some very large political contributions.

remember insurance companies basically give you the wholesale value, not the retail nor what a private buyer would pay, wholesale. What a dealer would give you on a trade it is about what they consider the car to be worth.

They might try to do that, but the purpose of insurance is to make the wronged part whole. The only way to do that is to provide enough money to buy an equivalent car. Trade-in value won’t cut it. My insurer deals with the third party so thata I don’t have to.

denver280, have you discussed this with your insurer? The other insurer might try to bypass your insurer, hoping to bully you into accepting a lower value than you deserve.