Experiencing a car accident is shocking by itself, and learning that your vehicle has been declared a total loss by your insurance company only adds stress to the situation, especially if you are also injured. However, you have rights in this situation, and accepting the initial offer from the insurance company is not mandatory.
Insurance companies might sometimes propose a lower valuation to conserve their resources. If the offered amount seems unfair, there are things you can do to challenge it.
1. Collect evidence of value:
- Investigate the recent sale prices of vehicles similar to yours within your area. Online platforms like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, or NADA Guides can be instrumental in providing this data.
- Independent Appraisals. Engage a private appraiser to ascertain your vehicle’s value.
- Special Features and Modifications Documentation: If your vehicle hosts unique features or modifications, ensure they are well-documented through photographs or receipts.
2. Engage in Negotiation with the Insurance Company:
- Maintain a Firm Stance: Be prepared to discontinue negotiations if the offer doesn’t meet your expectations.
- Be Polite yet Firm: While respecting the insurance adjuster, remain steadfast in your demands.
- Present the collected evidence to substantiate your claim.
- Don’t Hesitate to Seek a Higher Offer: If you are not happy with the offer, voice your desire for a better valuation.
3. Opt for an Appraisal if Necessary
If an agreement seems difficult, request an appraisal from a neutral party.
4. Consider Legal Representation
Should negotiations fail, a lawyer’s assistance could be beneficial. They can provide insights into your rights and represent your interests during negotiations with the insurance company.
This blog post offers general advice and not legal counsel. If you require further assistance or wish to discuss your specific situation, contacting an attorney is always a viable option.
-Rick D Wagner