My wife’s car was recently hit by another car. It was the other driver’s fault & their insurance company is paying for the damage. Since it’s a '96 Chevy Corsica and the damage looks to be between $3,000 & $4,000 they are probably going to total it. There were no injuries so we’re just looking at a settlement for the car.
So is there anything I need to know when settling with the insurance company. For instance, the person who checked the car out for the insurance company mentioned something about salvage. If they total it and get the car, do they owe me something for the salvage value?
I don’t really want to go the lawyer route. This should be relatively simple. So if anyone has any knowledge to impart, I would be much appreciative.
Have you contacted your insurance company? They may be able to help you out.
When I had my accident, the guys insurance company tried to lowball me by sending me a check for about half of what it cost to fix my truck. My insurance company (AAA) had me send the check to them and they would collect the rest from the scumba…er, the other guys company. AAA paid to fix my truck in the meantime
As I understand it, if they declare your car a total loss, they give you the book value (pre-crash, of course!), and they get the car. If they can get anything for it from salvage, that just helps them offset their loss - you’re no longer part of the equation, having been paid off, and having signed the appropriate release.
Having handled hundereds of auto accidents in my early days as a claims adjuster I think I can help. Standard disclaimer follows:
This information is offered from my personal experience. I am not a lawyer and this should not be construed as legal advice.
In order to get the fair price for your car you’re going to have to do a little work. First head to the library and get a copy of the Kelly Blue Book. It will be at the Reference Desk. It’s very easy to use and will give you a range of values for your car. Pick the value that best matches the condition of your car. Then look through either last or next Sunday’s used car section of the paper for similar cars in similar shape. Pick the best three. These values should be relatively close together. If not start with highest but be prepaired to end up somewhere in the middle.
Armed with this let the insurance company make you an offer. (They might come in high, unlikely but it could happen.) If you don’t like thier offer make your counter demand. Explain why offer to prove up your side. Tell them you want the value as you’ve researched it, plus sales tax and the title registration fee. (These costs are allowed in many areas). You could also claim any costs whether incured or not for a rental car. For the age of and size of your car this should be about $20 a day from the date of the accident until the date you agree on settlement. (In some areas these cost are only awarded if incured in others they are awarded even if not incured)
If you or your wife were in any way at fault for the accident the other company will reduce the amount owed by your compairative fault (depending on the laws of your state).
If you’re having trouble or the other side is being unreasonible (all to common in my industry) then contact your own insurance company and make a claim. Again tell them you have researched the value of the car and present them with your evidence. Keep in mind you will have to pay your deductible and your rates will likely go up.