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Should You Negotiate with an Insurance Company After Regarding Your Car’s Total Loss?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Dec 11, 2020

Should You Negotiate with an Insurance Company After Regarding Your Car's Total Loss?

In many cases, victims of car accidents feel overwhelmed attempting to juggle their medical bills, loss of wages and income, pain and suffering, and property damage to their vehicle. When you experience a severe car crash, in many cases, a car may be damaged past the point of repair. In these cases, the car insurance company for the negligent party should provide a full and fair settlement offer that compensates you for the entire damage to your vehicle. If you feel overwhelmed regarding how to negotiate with car insurance adjusters about your car's total loss, you are not alone. Learn more about how to negotiate with an insurance company after your car accident, or contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 to negotiate on your behalf to receive the compensation you deserve.

Understanding “Total Loss”

Many people are unclear regarding the definition of a total loss. Total loss does not simply mean that your vehicle is no longer drivable and that no amount of repair can fix it. Instead, total loss actually is a mathematical construct. A total loss occurs when you believe, or an insurance company believes, that the fair market value of the vehicle is lower than the estimated cost to actually repair the vehicle. While this formula may differ between different insurance companies, typically, if the repair costs for the vehicle are greater than 80% of the entire fair market value of the vehicle, it will be considered a total loss. Making this determination can prove more subjective than this formula seems. Many insurance adjusters will attempt to manipulate the information so that they will not have to pay fully for your car's total loss. Make sure to truly understand the worth of your vehicle and the cost to repair it before you accept any settlement offer from an insurance company.

Steps to Take If You Negotiate with an Insurance Adjuster For Your Car's Total Loss

Before you make the decision to negotiate with a car insurance adjuster regarding your car's total loss, consider the following steps.

Understand the Value of Your Vehicle

If you believe that your vehicle was “totaled” (past the point of being able to be repaired) in your car accident, then the insurance company has a responsibility to purchase your vehicle from you at a reasonable price under the law based on the value of your car prior to the car accident. If you still have the sticker details that accompanied your car, you may consider providing that to the insurance company. Additionally, you may consider contacting the original car dealer that sold you the vehicle in order to provide those sticker details, which contain the specific features of your car. This information can often now be found online as well. Providing this information can illustrate all of the features of your specific vehicle and increase the amount of compensation you receive. Take the time to visit some websites and view cars that are for sale that match your vehicle. However, it is important to remember that an insurance company has a legal obligation to compensate you for your retail value and not your trade-in value.

Prepare for a Low Offer

Insurance companies are not typically prone to providing full and fair compensation offers to victims immediately after an accident. Therefore, begin to prepare a counteroffer that you feel is fair based on your research and your vehicle's specific features. Again, the value of your vehicle is the retail value and not the trade-in value. You may also want to revisit whether or not you put any additional value into the vehicle in the past few years, such as new tires.

Request A Written Statement Regarding the Offer

Before you make a counteroffer, request that the insurance adjuster provide you with a written settlement regarding your car's total loss. Additionally, you should request that the insurance adjuster send you this statement with a valuation report or a Certified Collateral Corporation report. Additionally, request that the insurance adjuster shows where they will compensate you for sales tax, a payoff lien amount, and the net settlement amount.

Submit a Counteroffer

After you receive all of the information listed above, consider carefully what you want your counteroffer to be. Make sure to include all information in your counteroffer and include documentation as well. Expect that the insurance company will not accept a counteroffer without some adversarial discussions. Remember that you always have the legal right to continue to dispute any type of offer provided by the car insurance company. However, if the insurance company fails to provide you with a fair and full settlement offer, you will need to take the case to court. There are strict deadlines (called statutes of limitations) that you must meet or lose your ability to file a claim and receive compensation permanently. If you disagree with the final offer amount given to you by an insurance adjuster related to your car's total loss, consider visiting with the experienced car accident attorneys at Labrum Law Firm to negotiate on your behalf to receive the compensation you deserve.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help You Negotiate With an Insurance Adjuster Regarding Your Car's Total Loss

You may feel unsure whether or not the amount offered to you by an insurance adjuster regarding your car's total loss is a full and fair offer. Negotiating with insurance companies can prove to be adversarial and confrontational. Insurance companies want to pay out the least amount of money they can to victims regarding their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and any property damage to a vehicle. Contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 to better understand how we can negotiate on your behalf with an insurance company in order to get you the compensation for your car's total loss that you deserve.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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