Car Accident: What Am I Entitled To From The Insurance Company

On Friday my car was totalled in a collision. The other driver ran a stop sign and hit me in the intersection so there is no debate on fault and the claim is being filed with her insurance (Travelers).

I was injured slightly and the injury claim and the total loss of my car are being handled seperately.

My question is about the total vehicle loss aspect of the claim. My car was a '95 Mercury Tracer with 125,000 miles on it. I know that Travelers is going to try to lowball me with some ridiculously inadequate actual cash value settlement.

To me the car is worth more than the (likely) $1,000 or so they will want to toss my way. It was reliable transportation that I babied with regular maintainence. In my view they should provide me with an adequate sum to walk into a reputable used car dealership with a large inventory and pick out something at least close to equivalent and walk out with a decent car and warranty. This should require minimum effort on my part.

A quick check of the local Carmax inventory shows that I would have a decent selection with about $10,000. No Lexus or anythjing, but I could get something close to what I was driving for that (the Tracer was fully loaded).

Am I off base asking for that much? Would I have to take Travelers to court to get such an amount?

I was in an accident in October. The 16 year old that hit me did not yield to traffic and was consequently ticketed. She totaled both her car and mine. I was hurt in the accident as well as my son. Both of us carried State Farm.

State Farm paid me $4K less then what I owed on the car (I had a 2001 Corolla which holds good value) I had just spent $300 the week before on brand new tires. They did not give me any credit for dishing out that $300. They say “general maitenance is expected of every driver” They simply valued the car on the blue book value.

I was entitled to a rental car for 4 days. Trust me it was very difficult buying a new car in 4 days!

My insurance paid 80% of my medical bills after I paid a $500 deductible. The girl that hit me her insurance paid the remaining amount that mine woulnd’t.

Because my injuries were not life threating or didn’t hold scars for the rest of my life I was NOT entitled to any extra money for pain and suffering. (I had a broken arm and was not able to do my job 100% for 8 weeks)but was still not entited to any extra money.

Check your policy it is all in THE FINE PRINT!

Good luck

(Former Insurance Broker)

You will get fair market value for your car. If the market says you can get a 95 Mercury Tracer with that mileage on it for $1000, that’s what the company will offer you. Do not discount loss of use of your vehicle - you may be entitled to a rental - or medical expenses. Contact YOUR insurance company and explain what is going on, and they should go to bat for you.

I don’t think any regular insurance policy offers replacement value on a car. They offer fair market value. They don’t care how much you needed the car or how much trouble it’s going to be for you to replace it.

Naturally, you have only been paying premiums based on fair market value. It’s not like you were paying premiums on a car worth $10,000.00. You were paying for an 8-year-old car with 125,000 miles on it.

If insurance companies worked the way you think they should, then there would probably be a big underground industry in people buying $1,000 junkers, getting into “an accident,” and then receiving a $10,000 check from the insurance company to go buy themselves a much nicer car.

Though I do agree, it sucks when this kind of thing happens and I also wish they’d figure in the time and annoyance factor into the payoff. But they don’t.

But if you do work this out somehow, PLEASE give me the name of your agent! I have a station wagon that I’d like to turn into a Mercedes convertible. :wink:

I believe you, but what state (geographical, not mental!) are you in? Didn’t you get compensation for lost wages?

I guess we are not so bad off in NJ after all. Here a broken bone is considered sufficient injury to qualify for pain & suffering compensation since it’s factually verifiable, unlike soft tissue injury.

Same issue with Rib Eye – the laws and practices vary a lot from state to state. I had an accident about 10 - 12 years ago which was no-fault on my part. I got a rental car for 30 days, all of my medical bills were paid, and I got a fair market value for my totalled car. Yes, it was less than it cost me to buy another car, but that’s only right. I didn’t expect to get the cost of buying a brand-new one. My insurance company took care of everything and recovered their costs from the company of the woman who went through the stop sign. That’s the way it works here, and I was really glad to have New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance. Oh, and my rates didn’t go up, either.

I also consulted a lawyer and got $60K for pain & suffering. $20K went to the lawyer, of course, so I netted $40K. (I had a fracture in a neck bone, and a mashed-up knee that eventually required surgery.)

Your entitlement depends entirely on your insurance contract and your jurisdiction’s laws.

I bet your medical insurance company will try to get money from the driver’s insurance company for what they are paying for your treatment. Keep this in mind when signing anything. I’m still being treated for a 6-year-old accidental injury, and every time I file a medicla claim for anything related to that injury, I get an 8-page questionnaire to fill out swearing that there are no pending lawsuits or insurance settlements.

I went through this about fifteen years ago. I was hit, the car totalled, and the insurance company offer was straight out of the “blue book” – about $2,500. I believed I should be getting $4,500, especially as I had an offer from someone to buy the car for $4,500.

But they stood firm. Their policy was to use the blue book.

So I told the agent that I planned to sue their driver.

She told me I could do whatever I pleased, but their offer was not changing.

Oddly enough, after I had their driver served with the lawsuit and four pages of interrorgatories and requests for admissions, I got a much more conciliatory call from a lawyer there who wanted to know if the $4,500 offer was still open. It was, and that was that.

Normally, of course, a man who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client. But in this case, it was nice to be able to threaten them with litigation that would cost them much more than the extra $2,000, and do it at no cost, other than the filing fee, to me.

  • Rick