Dealing with the insurance company

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As some of you may know, I was in an accident on the 29th of last month. I've had a few problems since then, health wise, but right now, I'm more pissed about what the other guy's insurance wants to give me for my car. The accident was his fault, and he was ticketed for it, so it's my opinion that my car should either be repaired or replaced with something of equal value. I know it's nothing special to look at, it's only a '90 Buick Skylark, but I've maintained it regularly and it's a very dependable car. The interior is in good shape, but the paint is really bad, but I don't care about that. I just need to know that I can get in and drive to New York if I wanted to.
So anyway, the insurance adjuster came out to look at it today, and offered me $500.00 for it. I told him that's not acceptable, and I either want it repaired, or replaced. I've replaced the radiator, tires, alternator, water pump, oil pan gasket and timing chain tensioner, and a whole lot of other things. The car has 132,000 miles on it, but like I said, it runs great. I've got 4 other vehicles that all have gotten well over 200,000 miles, and one was actually double of that.
So I guess what I want to know is this, is it fair for the insurance company to basically take my car for 500.00 dollars, when to actually buy another one that is in the equivalent condition will cost me twice that, if not more? Because if it wasn't for the other guy's careless driving, I would still be happily driving my Buick.
Your thoughts?
 

Pramrider

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I know what you're saying, Ricky! That's the one drawback on keeping a car for years, if it's wrecked you're only going to get the book value (car will be considered totaled) if the cost of repair exceeds that amount. It really sucks when you're in a low income bracket or a fixed income and can't afford to replace the vehicle on what the insurance will give you. I don't think you're in that situation, but it still hurts you in the wallet now because you can't replace the car with anything half decent and running for anywhere near $500. We're in the same boat with a 1989 GMC van and a 1994 Toyota. When the car gets several years on it, you might as well drop collision coverage and put that money in savings to go towards a new purchase down the road. Otherwise, you're just giving the extra money away to the insurance company. Insurance companies and banks are my least favorite corps. to deal with. Unfortunately, they're pretty much a necessity whether we agree with their policies or not. I usually don't agree!:frown:

EDIT: My wife's brother just went through the same gyrations because someone else caused their car to be totaled. He protested to the insurance company and showed receipts for all the things he had recently put in the car. Because he had receipts they upped the amount they'd give him. Maybe you could use that approach if you still have receipts or other proof of what you've put into the car. Just a thought...

~Pramrider
 

Trevor

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"Fair" is such a peculiar term when dealing with insurance people. When I got my car a bit smushed up by someone else, there was very little damage, but given the age, they still declared it totalled for a not very good price (pretty much the same kind of deal you're getting). They did let us keep the car, so we just pocketed the money, got the front end fixed, and made periodic use of it until we sold it.

Basically, you'll never get replacement costs from insurance for a vehicle. Injury, pain, and suffering might buy that, but those are intangibles.
 

steel

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Well this may not solve anything man but what I would do is punch him......... right in the nose. Just pop him.
 

ballucanb

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He wants to give you 5 hundred and take the car, you tell him NO repair my car to my satisfaction.

Or replace the car with another car that is the same, get a few estimates on what it will cost to repair the car, the guy that hit you already assumed responseability or he woundn't have come to you.

It is way cheaper to toss you 500, than to repair the damage, and that is what they are trying to do.


And if you know someone that owns a body shop, ask him to get involved, the guys I know will fight the insurance co for the coustomer.

If that don't work look for a lawyer who will help for a peice of the pie, it might cost you 20 to 40%, but it's worth it.

If I took what the insurance co offered me, at first, I would have nothing today, but I still have a whole pile of there money.
 

Peachy

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I'd say go to a professional car fixer place and get an estimate for how much it would cost to get it fixed. Then look around the internet for prices of cars of the same model, make, year and mileage. Then take the documents to your opponent's insurance agent and demand that he pay you at least the lowest amount from the replacement / repair estimates or get you a replacement on his own.
Unfortunately, the claim of the car being "well maintained" or "could have run another 70k miles" cannot be proven.

Peachy
 
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Actually, I can prove the car is well maintained, as I have all the receipts for the maintenance that I've done over the last few years. And I told them that they either replace it with another car of equal value, or repair mine. But they told me it's totaled, and that it's not worth fixing. They claim that if I were to try to sell it in the condition it was in just before the accident, I wouldn't get more than 500.00 for it. But my argument was that I had no intention of selling it, and I don't give a rats ass what it looks like, as long as it's dependable. But they didn't buy that and still insist that the car isn't worth it. When I pressed the adjuster about repairing it, he said that they could possibly get a body from a salvage yard and transfer the parts from mine to it, but even that would cost too much. I said go for it, I want you to do that then, but again, no dice.
I haven't gotten my insurance company involved yet, but I think I will now. The adjuster for my company just happens to be a friend of mine, so maybe he will have some ideas, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
I think it's a really shitty thing the way these insurance companies can just tell you "sorry, you will just have to accept what we offer you, or go to hell". After all, I didn't wreck my car, they did. Wouldn't it only be fair to replace it? I'm not asking for a new Rolls Royce here, just a car that's equal to what I had.
 

Darkfinn

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Honestly... see if you can sue the guy for the difference. Insurance companies love to screw people with older cars like that. Do you happen to have documentation of all the repairs/replacements you have made?

A friend of mine in high school was in a similar situation. Her uncle gave her one of his cars to use to get back and forth... it was an 80's model... but the engine, transmission, and running gear had been recently replaced... so it was in good shape. She got rear-ended and pushed into another car... "sandwiched" as we said... so the car was a total loss. Book value for the vehicle was about $500... so that was all she got out of it. She had to get a lawyer and take the guy that hit her to court to get enough money to buy another car.

It's not fair in the least... and I don't like it one bit. But that is how it works. That is why I have gap insurance with replacement coverage on my Cobalt. If someone hits me and totals my car the insurance company will give me the option of either paying the car off no matter how much I owe on it, or they will replace my car with another one that is as close in make/model/options/mileage as can be found. It did make my premiums go up a bit... but I think it is worth it for piece of mind.
 
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Yeah, I'm not happy to say the least about this, but I was just thinking that I'll give them the ultimatum of settling for what I want for the car and something for my time, and pain and suffering, or I'll see them in court. I think they would rather pay out a little more now, than to have to deal with a lawyer and court costs and possibly losing even more, because I've got a good case against them.
But before I do that, I'm still going to check with my friend, the insurance adjuster for my insurance company. We went to school together, that's how I know him BTW.
I'll keep you guys posted as to the outcome, good or bad.
 

Peachy

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She had to get a lawyer and take the guy that hit her to court to get enough money to buy another car.
Dunno about over there, but over here, the insurance contract means that the insurance company has to pay for any claims against the insured car's owner resulting from accidents involving the insured car. In other words: If a court says that Ricky's car was worth $1,000 and not $500, the insurance company has to cover the whole $1k. So over here, you would simply refuse the offer from the insurance company and sue the owner of the car who caused the accident to pay for the replacement value of the totaled car. If you were to accept the offer of the insurance company, no court will even look at your case.
But then, that may be different in the U.S.

Peachy
 

ballucanb

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I doubt if you will get anyplace with the insurance co unless you bring in a lawyer, because after that they need to start thinking along the lines of paying cort costs when you win and you are the guy that was hit.

Tou can buy insurance for your older or newer cars, that pays what the car is worth if it is totaled or stolen, it's called agreed value insurance, I never looked into it but if you have expensive older or newer cars, I imagine its worth it.
 
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I doubt if you will get anyplace with the insurance co unless you bring in a lawyer, because after that they need to start thinking along the lines of paying cort costs when you win and you are the guy that was hit.

Tou can buy insurance for your older or newer cars, that pays what the car is worth if it is totaled or stolen, it's called agreed value insurance, I never looked into it but if you have expensive older or newer cars, I imagine its worth it.
Yes, I've got "stated value" insurance through a classic car insurer for my '64 Chevelle and '64 Olds convertible, my wife's '72 Corvette, and my son's 34 Ford kit car.
My friend the adjuster told me to go to several car lots and find a comparable car and check the prices, take pictures, etc... and give those to the insurance company to back up my claim. So in the next day or so, I'll go around and do just that.
Thanks for the suggestions guys, I do appreciate them. And I'll continue to keep you posted as to how bad this insurance company wants to screw me.
 

dogboy

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I would come to court with all of my documented back problems. Insurance companies do not want to deal with bad backs after a collision. I think you could get a lot more money taking that route. The accident certainly couldn't have been good for your back, and you should be compensated.
 
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I would come to court with all of my documented back problems. Insurance companies do not want to deal with bad backs after a collision. I think you could get a lot more money taking that route. The accident certainly couldn't have been good for your back, and you should be compensated.
Yeah, these guys already know just how bad my back is, as the ER X-rays showed it. They keep calling me now and leaving me messages to call them back, because I hung up on them the other day after the argument about what my car was worth. They are really trying to get me to settle with them in a hurry. I'm guessing so they will be off the hook for anything that may pop up later with my back. And I talked to my friend who is an adjuster with Farmers, and he said that I've got a full 2 years to settle this, there is no hurry.
I've got an appointment with my surgeon next month, that was as soon as I could get in to see him. I want him to take x-rays and compare them with the ones from last time, just to make sure there isn't anything else wrong. And only he can really determine that, as he's got all the records. The hospital I was taken to couldn't confirm that I was any worse or better because they've never seen me for my back. ( I don't trust this hospital either.)
 

NEJay

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Unfortunately, even a decent, good running '90 Skylark is only worth about $500. Insurance companies are only obliged to give you "fair market value", and that is pretty much what they've done.

The only recourse you have is to submit to them examples of similar cars that have sold recently, locally, for higher dollar amounts. I think you're going to be hard pressed to find any sale info on those cars though, as most by now have found their way to the junkyard.

These cars weren't exactly good when new (and definitely weren't safe by any stretch of the imagination), and they've long since been "kicked to the curb". Take it as an omen, and take the $500 and put it towards a better car.

The medical stuff is a different story. I'd definitely consider getting your insurance involved, as you pay them to fight these types of fights for you. It will not affect your rates to ask them for help with a not-at-fault accident, and their lawyers will have a lot more pull with the at-fault's insurance company than you will.
 

abdlboy2004

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As a couple people have states, you are entitled to the blue book value unless you can prove that other cars that are similar are selling and have sold for more. If the insurance company does not pay fair value, you can sue the insurance company, sue the person who hit you, or contact your states insurance commissioner.

One trick with the insurance company is don't settle on the personal injury portion until the property damage is settled. It puts more pressure on them. They ususally want to buy you off with $100 - $200 then having you sign a release of liability waiving all rights to sue them in the future. You don't want to do this unless you are sure you are not injured because you will lose all rights to recover medical costs later.

If in doubt, speak to a lawyer or your insurance company.
 

ShippoFox

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I know someone that got screwed over after someone wrecked into her. She only got about $500 because they made up stories about pre-existing damage to her car... damage that didn't exist before the crash! She couldn't fight it though because she really needed another car. Insurance companies are full of crap. They seem to do whatever they can to screw people over at any chance available.
 
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Thanks for the input guys, I do appreciate it.

I was contacted today by the insurance company again. I had been ignoring their calls, and could tell it was them by the caller ID, but today they got sneaky and used a cell phone. The agent wanted to settle the damage claim again for my car, and would still only offer 719.00 for it, claiming that they had to drop 900.00 from the total because it had no paint on it. I argued with her for over an hour about it, and finally told her that I'll not take anything less than 1500.00 for it, or 1200.00 and I keep the car. She said she would talk to her superiors about it, but that it wasn't likely.
My contention is that I could drive that car anywhere, regardless of how it looks, and that anything that runs and gets over 28 MPG is worth more these days. And that to replace it with something comparable, it would cost me at least 1500.00 dollars. It's not my fault that my car is totaled, and they either need to repair it, or replace it because of that fact, period. But her argument is that they only have to give me fair market value for the car, and if it was only worth 50.00, that's all I would get. So I'm standing by my guns, I want it fixed, or replaced, and I don't give a sh*t if that's going to cost more than the "fair market value". I shouldn't be inconvenienced and cheated out of my car for something that wasn't my fault. It's not right that these insurance companies can ride rough shod over us like that. And I will go to a lawyer if I have to. I'm pissed!!
 

Darkfinn

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Perhaps you should seek legal council on this... you can barely get a good running car for $1500 these days... then you have to pay tax/tag/title fees on it and etc. In the end it's gonna cost more than $2000.

You are definately right in fighting for a replacement vehicle. Too many people get screwed by this "far market value" BS. The car may have only been worth $500... but to get a comparable ride from a dealer lot is going to cost $2000.
 
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