Are you trying to claim for a totaled car?
Buying a car in the US is more expensive than it’s ever been before. Over the last four years, new vehicle prices have skyrocketed by over 50%. Second values have also shot up by over 30%.
If your car’s been totaled, it’s critical to make sure the insurance company involved doesn’t try to lowball you. If you accept a payout that’s lower than your vehicle’s value, you’ll be left having to make up the shortfall from your own pocket.
Keep reading to find out what to do if the insurance company is not offering enough for your totaled car.
Never Accept the First Offer on a Totaled Car
One of the biggest mistakes consumers make is accepting the first offer they get on totaled cars. Many people assume that the first offer is the final offer, but you have every right to negotiate if you feel it’s too low.
A lot of car insurance companies will start off with a low offer. They know that most people don’t have a lot of experience dealing with car insurance claims for totaled vehicles.
Often, the claimant is actually entitled to far more than what the adjuster offers.
Get Your Car Valued by a Body Shop
If the car insurance company isn’t offering you enough for your totaled car, the next step is to get a written estimate from a body shop.
You can also ask your insurance company for your Certified Collateral Corporation (CCC) report. This is an itemized list of all the features your vehicle has. Adjusters use these lists to estimate the value of your vehicle.
Go over your CCC report carefully, and make sure that your car trim levels and features appear on the list.
Also, did you make any add-ons or upgrades? Things like a new paint job, new tires, a remote starter, or an add-on spoiler can all increase the value of your car.
You can also look around at similar cars that are for sale in your area, and research the fair market value using something like the Kelly Blue Book or NADA Guides.
Hire an Attorney
Besides getting clear on the real value of your car before it was totaled, you should also look into hiring an attorney.
Getting a fair payout on your totaled car is important, not just for purchasing a replacement, but also for completing any vehicle loan payments you might have left. If the insurance company lowballs you, you might even find that the settlement is less than what you owe on the car.
Hiring a lawyer will show the car insurance company that you mean business and won’t let yourself be messed around. An experienced lawyer also knows exactly how to handle negotiations with insurance companies, and what evidence you might need to prove the value of your totaled car.
What’s more, if you hire an attorney that also specializes in lemon laws, they will be able to look into whether or not your vehicle might have been a lemon. If your car was a lemon, and the accident was caused by a manufacturing fault, this can influence your payout substantially.
Need Help Getting a Fair Payout for Your Totaled Car?
If you’ve been offering what seems like a low payout for your totaled car, you don’t have to accept it. By establishing the true value of your totaled car and hiring legal help, you can ensure that you get a fair payout that won’t leave you with a shortfall.
Do you need a lawyer to help you gain a fair settlement for a totaled car?
Jonathan D. Schwartz is a specialized auto insurance claims attorney serving Florida.
If you need an attorney for your auto insurance claim, contact Jonathan D. Schwartz today.