What if the Insurance Carrier Offers Me Less Than What My Car is Worth?

A totaled vehicle brings with it a certain amount of stress.  The good news is that total vehicle losses are pretty rare and we hope that you don’t ever have to experience it.  In the event that you do, here are some tips from our years of assisting clients through this process.

  • Every insurance carrier pays vehicle losses based on actual cash value, or ACV.  This is the equivalent to the value of the car, in southern NH, at this particular point in time.  The value should fall within a range of private sale values (not Retail Values) from the NADA book value, Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, or values from similar automobile valuation sources.  They consider mileage, location in the country, vehicle options, and condition (like Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor) so be honest with yourself about the condition.  ACV will also consider what that same vehicle would sell for on Craigslist for example.  Again, look at Private Party Sellers.  If there are only Dealers, then consider that they are slightly higher for costs related to inspection, repairs, reconditioning etc.  Come up with range from all these sources; for example $1,000 to $1,500.
  • Provide receipts for recent repairs, tires, history of maintenance records that shows that the vehicle is worth more the low or average range of prices for this type of vehicle.  Historical records of maintenance tell a story.
  • Negotiate from a place of information…you have to have a leg to stand on.  What you paid for the car does mean that’s what you get from the insurance carrier.  It is entirely feasible that you paid too much for the car and that does happen.  Know what the true ACV is of a vehicle before purchasing.
  • Consider that you have had a deductible…$250, $500, $1000, $2000 or more.  That deductible amount gets deducted from the ACV and the balance is paid.
  • Negotiate with the claims adjuster.  Know they are working within a range of values as well and they may be initially offering the lowest value based on the “total” report that states the vehicle’s condition.  Sometimes inspectors make mistakes or it might be hard to assess the vehicle’s condition in its mangled-state.  Receipts, pre-loss photos of your baby,  and documentation of repairs are important here.
  • Remember, the initial offer is just an offer.  But, you have demonstrate why your vehicle is worth more.  Throwing a tantrum is not going to work.  Do a little homework, it’s well worth the effort in the end.
  • Most importantly, work with Fortified Insurance Agency in Manchester NH, to assist with negotiations and help show the value is something more than what’s offered.  We know a thing or two, cause we seen a thing or two.

Keith Beausoleil, CPCU

Keith Beausoleil is an insurance agent at Fortified Insurance Agency. Fortified Insurance Agency in Manchester NH specializes in coverage for auto insurance, automobile insurance, gap insurance, home insurance, homeowners insurance, umbrella insurance, renters insurance, condo insurance, RV insurance, motorcycle insurance, boat insurance, personal watercraft insurance, PWC insurance, snowmobile insurance, golf cart insurance, business insurance, commercial insurance, surety bonds, rental property insurance, auto dealers insurance, car dealers insurance, retail business insurance and more. Talk to our professional insurance agents about coverage in New Hampshire (NH) today or refer us to someone who needs an independent insurance agent.