What is a Total Loss?
In insurance, a total loss or write-off is a judgment, by the insurer, that the lost value or repair cost of a damaged property exceeds the value of its policy, resulting in what it concludes is a “total loss” or “constructive total loss” A constructive total loss factors other incidental expenses beyond repair, such …
Has you Vehicle been considered a “Total Loss”:
If your vehicle has been in an accident and is not drivable, a wrecker service has likely taken it to their secured storage lot. DO NOT ALLOW THEIR CLAIMS REPRESENTATIVE TO MOVE YOUR VEHICLE BEFORE YOU AGREE ON A SETTLEMENT! This may be the only leverage you have over them to pay you what they rightly owe you. While your car is sitting at the body shop or towing service lot, it is accruing storage fees. The accruing storage fees will ensure the adjuster be more prompt with a settlement. Once you release your vehicle to them, they will move it to their lot and since there are no storage fees, they may take a longer amount of time to agree with you on a settlement. Don’t fall for the scare tactics; they cannot make you release your vehicle until you have reached a reasonable settlement. Through the years, we have seen many people get shorted by 20-30% because they released their vehicle to the insurance company before finding out the value of their vehicle. Unlike DRP shops, non-DRP shops will work for you and look out for your best interest. Non-DRP shops are more likely to advise you on what to do to best benefit you.
The insurance company owes you the retail value based on the condition of your vehicle.
Don’t let them use their scare tactics to pressure you into settling for a low-ball offer. We recommend using NADA for the most accurate result. Find out what comparable vehicles in your area are selling for. Remember, they are looking for the cheapest way to settle your claim. If you feel their settlement offer is not reasonable, make sure you use the appraisal clause.
Right of appraisal, does such a thing exist? Yes it does, although an insurance company will likely not tell you about it. If your vehicle is damaged, and you cannot agree on the value of the repairs, or the value of the car in the case of a total loss, you can request an independent appraisal. The appraisal clause is in your auto insurance policy, USE IT!
You and the insurance company each hire an independent appraiser to assess the value of repairs or the value of your vehicle in the case of a total loss.
Both appraisers will submit their values independently and try to reach an agreement. If no agreement is reached, a third party will be chosen to evaluate the two values and submit their own if needed. A decision reached by two of the three parties will be binding and final.
Please be aware of your right to dispute an insurance companies offer in a total loss situation or the cost of repairs if the car is repairable. If you have questions or concerns regarding your right to invoke the appraisal clause, contact us and we can put you in touch with an independent appraiser in your area who can guide you on what to do.
**You only have the right of appraisal when you file a claim with your insurance company. If you are a claimant with another company and they are not reasonably compensating you, you need to file a claim with your company. If your company is not reasonably compensating you, then it is time to use the Appraisal Clause.