The insurance company will almost certainly try to “low ball” you. I had that experience about 17 years ago. We had let our son take a car to college. He was working with a church and loaned the car to a family who needed to take their own daughter back to another college about 70 miles away and their car wouldn’t start. An older woman got out of her lane and hit our car head on. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
My first problem was in obtaining a rental car for my son to drive and to get the insurance company of the woman who was at fault to pay for the car. After my son got the run around, I called the insurance agent. I used my “doctor” title. I had my graduate assistant prepared to say the following when I gave the signal: “Doctor, you are needed immediately in the lab”. Of course, I didn’t say that my doctorate is in statistics, and the lab was the computer lab. The agent at the other end, after giving me a rough time about not being able to supply a car since my son was under 25, suddenly changed her tune when my graduate assistant loudly announced that I was needed in the lab. My son had a car delivered to his door in 20 minutes.
A day later, the claims adjuster from the insurance company called me and said that our vehicle was totaled and that they would send me a check for $3125. I had done my homework and found that 1988 Ford Tauruses were selling between $3800 and $4100 in my area(this was in December of 1995). I called a dealer that knew my car and he said that he wouldn’t take less than $4000 if my car were on his lot. I told the claims adjuster that I wanted $4000 and how I determined the price. He countered that he had a computer printout that showed the market value of my car. I told him that market value was what I would have to pay for a replacement car in my locale. I told him that if he would locate a replacement car and get a guaranteed price, I would look at the car and if it was equivalent, I would take the car or the cash. He responded, “I do not go shopping”. I then said, “I receive $200 an hour when I do consulting work. If I have to shop for a car, I will charge you this for my time”. He became indignant and exclaimed, “I don’t have to listen to this crap” and hung up. Since I had their rental car, I didn’t care. I figured he would call back the next day which he did. He started by saying, “We have to get together on this car business”. I then responded, “Young man, I want two things. I want an apology for your conduct on the telephone yesterday and I want $4000 for the car your insured party destroyed”. He then said, “I am putting a check for $4000 in the mail today. When you get the check, return the title”. He then hung up. I was one for two–I received the $4000 for the replacement of the car, but I didn’t get the apology.