If Your Car is Totaled in an Accident, Don’t Accept the Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer

negotiating-totaled-car-replacement-cost

Was your car totaled in an accident?  Whether you were at fault or not, you may be entitled to much more than the insurance company’s initial offer to settle the claim.

Insurance companies are a business (duh) and they’re going to look out for their own interests first, not yours.  They’re going to try and settle their customer’s claims for as little as they possibly can and they have a vested interest in doing so [profit].

You can bet that “replacement value” to them means something entirely different than what replacement value means to you.  In almost every case, whether you’re using a highly rated insurance company or not, the insurance company’s “initial offer” to cover your totaled car will be much less than you believe your car was worth prior to the accident.

What to Do if the Insurance Company Lowballs Your Totaled Car’s Value

If you’re not happy with the insurance company’s first offer for your totaled vehicle, you don’t have to accept it.  The first thing you need to do is look for comparable vehicles for sale in your area.  If they’re selling for substantially more than what you are offered for your vehicle you probably have a pretty good case to make with the insurance company to revise their offer.

Kelly Blue Book, Craigslist and AutoTrader are excellent resources for researching prices on similar vehicles.  Put together a packet and email it to the claims representative you’re working with.  If the insurance company refuses to budge, ask to speak with a supervisor that can reevaluate your request or explain your options for recourse.

The last thing you’ll want to have to do is file a case in small claims court, but this last resort effort has proven to be a very effective strategy as well.  The point is, don’t settle for an insurance adjuster’s initial offer without taking the time to evaluate whether or not it is fair.

For more information and tips on car insurance, check out the related articles below.

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