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Old 10-17-2008, 06:41 PM   #1
David Miller
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Question Car insurance buffs?

Just thought I would throw this up here and see if anyone has some good advice for me....I was in a motor vehicle accident this past Monday which was not my fault. I filed a claim with my insurance company but the claim has been picked up by the insurance company of the driver that was at fault. My car, which is an '08 was taken to the autobody shop, listed as undrivable, and has extensive damage to the rear and front passenger side corner......to the tune of $6,700. I'm wishing they would have just totaled the car out because of the massive hit I'm going to be taking in terms of resale value alone but the value of the car was, I guess, too great compared to the cost of the repair. Is there any way I can argue that the car will never be the same, is brand new, I was not at fault, and the resale value is now screwed, so that they will total the car out or do I just have to suffer that loss? This whole process sucks...
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Old 10-17-2008, 07:21 PM   #2
George Mounce
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Re: Car insurance buffs?

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Originally Posted by David Miller View Post
Just thought I would throw this up here and see if anyone has some good advice for me....I was in a motor vehicle accident this past Monday which was not my fault. I filed a claim with my insurance company but the claim has been picked up by the insurance company of the driver that was at fault. My car, which is an '08 was taken to the autobody shop, listed as undrivable, and has extensive damage to the rear and front passenger side corner......to the tune of $6,700. I'm wishing they would have just totaled the car out because of the massive hit I'm going to be taking in terms of resale value alone but the value of the car was, I guess, too great compared to the cost of the repair. Is there any way I can argue that the car will never be the same, is brand new, I was not at fault, and the resale value is now screwed, so that they will total the car out or do I just have to suffer that loss? This whole process sucks...
Your insurance company did the damage estimate right (i.e. they had you go to a shop they have as an associate)? If they estimated that with damage that it wasn't totaled, then you can argue all you want, you probably won't win.
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Old 10-17-2008, 07:40 PM   #3
David Miller
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Re: Car insurance buffs?

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Originally Posted by George Mounce View Post
Your insurance company did the damage estimate right (i.e. they had you go to a shop they have as an associate)? If they estimated that with damage that it wasn't totaled, then you can argue all you want, you probably won't win.
George, that's pretty much what I was thinking. I was just indulging in some wishful thinking that perhaps there was a loophole or something that would allow me to get a car that wasn't involved in a wreck. With carfax.com and other similar services out now I will be behind the eightball when trying to sell the car in the future and that doesn't seem fair, but I suppose I just have to chalk that up to life not always being fair......thanks for the input.
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:45 AM   #4
David Gray
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Re: Car insurance buffs?

David, I've been through this drill too many times with my carrier, who is an outstanding carrier. Depending on state law, the thing your company will never tell you is what your "totaled" vehicle is worth now. You are paying a premium under condition that they will either a) give you a payout equal to the value of your totaled car so that you can replace it, or b) they will restore it to its original pre-accident condition. Both of which options you will never get because a) they will never tell you what their actuarial tables tell you your car was worth at the moment someone else smashed into it (if they did, you could do quick math and decide if the premium was worth the risk, something they don't want you to do), and b) a car with a history of accidents may have a lower resale value regardless of how well the company has it repaired. So the only way you can get the best of this is to take the time to make sure the repairs get done flawlessly--don't accept anything less than top quality, mechanical and especially cosmetic.

Someday, you may encounter a different phenomenon. Say, like me, you bought a car for $5k cash. A drunk hit it, $2k later it's back on the road. Another drunk hit it (I was living in the Florida Keys at the time, go figger), another $2k later it's back on the road. This time it wasn't a drunk, but a third car hit it. My car was impounded because the total amount of damages cumulatively now exceeded the original worth of the car. But the company repaired it to its original value, you say. Not according to Florida law. The state seized my "totaled" car to keep druglords from getting it (our War on Drugs at work), then turned around and sold it at auction. WTF? This clever devaluation after an accident is never revealed to you, the consumer. A woman sued my carrier in Georgia in a class action suit to get them to end this practice. The company paid her a big fat settlement, I got a check for $37 or so for being in the class action, and the practice never changed.

There's a reason that the biggest buildings in cities are always owned by insurance companies.
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:59 AM   #5
Michael Manisca
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Question Re: Car insurance buffs?

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Originally Posted by David Gray View Post
My car was impounded because the total amount of damages cumulatively now exceeded the original worth of the car. But the company repaired it to its original value, you say. Not according to Florida law. The state seized my "totaled" car to keep druglords from getting it (our War on Drugs at work), then turned around and sold it at auction. WTF?
I think this part is going to need a little more clarification..

How did the state come into possession of your vehicle? Did the insurance company give it to them?
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:14 AM   #6
David Gray
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Re: Car insurance buffs?

In the State of Florida at that time (1992 IIRC), by state law vehicles deemed "totaled" became the property of the state. I lost all my rights to that vehicle, and so did the insurer to the best of my understanding. My "due process" was deemed fulfilled by the carrier's payments to me, but the carrier (and of course myself) lost any chance to recoup some or all of our losses by parting out the vehicle or through resale at auction. The carrier sent a tow truck who took the vehicle from my driveway to a state impound lot. I was denied even the right to pay for all the repairs out of my own pocket, all because the insurance company assessed the vehicle as "totaled." Had I known what the consequences would be, I would never have reported this third accident. The taking of my property was ostensibly to prevent drug lords like myself from transferring the VIN on the vehicle to another vehicle. End result--evil drug lord denied access to a VIN he probably didn't really need, insurance company denied ability to recoup losses leading to higher rates, and owner deprived of rights to property in the name of the War on Drugs. I don't think I need to explain how these disincentives screw up the auto insurance market in Florida.

Which leads me back to David's original situation. I will add this--if you are financing the vehicle, the sooner you can pay off the financing, even by using an equity line or a signature loan, the sooner you can stop feeding the insurance company a couple thousand dollars a year. Slam it into a savings account or CD and keep it there for that emergency. For collision, you will almost always be better off paying for the repairs yourself down the line, even if means short-term borrowing to cover the expense. You just want to carry insurance for damage done to other people's cars or persons, and if you can pay for the dings in their cars (should this happen) out of your own pocket without either of you filing a claim, do it.
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:18 AM   #7
Derek Franks
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Re: Car insurance buffs?

Get them to compensate you for "diminished value". Google the term and you'll find lots and lots of info.
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:32 AM   #8
Jill Zimmerman
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Re: Car insurance buffs?

I will pass this info on to FF daughter who is going through the same thing after the motorcycle clobbered her Thursday. He hit her so hard it even rippled up the roof. Value of car not covered and getting screwed with less than prefect or totaled car, we shall see. No one has looked at it yet. Thanks for all the good responses.
Vegan daughter purchased back a totaled beamer once (I did not know that was possible) after a guy trailing a boat backed over top of her. Then she frankensteined it with another one but it was 20 years old. She ended up breaking even by the time she sold them both to get a more reliable (non cool) car. Totally different situation when you have a newer car. This was FF daughter's first newish car - a shame.

Sorry for your car loss, I know it is frustrating. Best of luck.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:12 AM   #9
David Miller
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Re: Car insurance buffs?

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Originally Posted by Derek Franks View Post
Get them to compensate you for "diminished value". Google the term and you'll find lots and lots of info.
Derek,
Thanks for the info....is this something you've successfully argued before? I see that I could make a strong argument for diminished value, but how likely are they to actually cough up the money?

Thanks to everyone else as well for all the input...
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:40 PM   #10
David Miller
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Re: Car insurance buffs?

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Originally Posted by Derek Franks View Post
Get them to compensate you for "diminished value". Google the term and you'll find lots and lots of info.
Derek,
Called State Farm (the at fault party's insurance company) and advised them that I would be filing a separate claim with them for Inherit Diminished Value and they were very friendly and cooperative, so we'll see how it works out and if I end up seeing any money out of this. Thanks again for the heads up, as I would have had no idea prior to your post that this was even an option.

-David
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