Toledo Talk

Insurance Valuation of Totaled Car

Has anyone ever appealed the value their insurance company has placed on a car that insurance totaled? My Prius was totaled last month and I disagree with the value that insurance has put on it. They won't budge despite the fact that the comps they are using are a mid-range option package and mine had the highest option package available. They are telling me my only option is to appeal it which means hiring an independent appraiser who then mutually agrees on an arbitrator with the insurance company's appraiser, blah, blah, blah.

I have no idea what this would cost, but am thinking its not going to be worth it. Any thoughts or experiences? It's been a month since the accident, so they are really pressuring me to wrap this up, by threatening that they will close the claim without a payout.

created by MsArcher on Jun 07, 2017 at 10:36:49 am     Legal     Comments: 19

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Who's your insurance company?

posted by SensorG on Jun 07, 2017 at 11:53:37 am     #  

All State - in Michigan if that matters.

posted by MsArcher on Jun 07, 2017 at 12:04:07 pm     #  

Paging Foodie.

posted by justread on Jun 07, 2017 at 12:56:06 pm     #  

All state is usually pretty good. Have you tried submitting a report from a company like Edmunds?

Was your car insured for the rates of the higher end model? That could be the issue if it wasn't. If you car was rated at the top model then they should be basing the claim on the value of that model

posted by classylady on Jun 07, 2017 at 01:05:45 pm     #  

I've been through it. What you think the value of the totaled car is, and what the insurance company is grudgingly willing to pay are always two vastly different amounts. I ended up taking it in the shorts, mainly because the difference between the two amounts wasn't worth fighting over. My point being that even if you win, the amount you'll receive in excess of what you've already been promised is going to be a few hundred dollars at most. At worst, All State may simply refuse to pay. They'll end up paying anyway, but in the meantime they can hold on to the money and make you suffer - which is their goal.

I suppose you might try suing the party at fault.

Sorry this happened to you, MsArcher.

posted by madjack on Jun 07, 2017 at 02:12:08 pm     #  

I thought it was Allstate that my boyfriend had when his car got totaled but found it was state farm so ignore my comment above about Allstate being good to work with. They gave him Edmunds fair market value for it and overnight him a check when he agreed to the payoff. He didn't argue since there was some cosmetic damage he was responsible for and didn't fix yet and didn't want to file a claim on and the power window motor needed replaced and State Farm based the claim on the car being in good condition and he would have never sold the car for what State Farm offered. He owned the car free and clear and wasn't at fault for the accident. The driver only had state minimum and his car was valued at more than $25,000 and state farm paid him and was going after the other insurance company and driver so not sure if that made a difference or not.

Someone in my office has Progressive and they are giving her a real hassle about giving her a fair payout but she was at fault and they have no other insurance company or driver to go against. She also owes more on the car than they are willing to pay so she is really in a bad position and needs to settle fast.

posted by classylady on Jun 07, 2017 at 02:47:19 pm     #  

I got hit by a driver with Progressive and they sent me a check for the damages. I complained about the amount being low compared to estimates I had gotten, they came out and re-estimated it and cut a check for $50 less and stopped payment on the first check. Worst Insurance company I ever dealt with.

posted by OldTimer on Jun 07, 2017 at 04:16:22 pm     #  

Answering the page.........

The reason they aren't comparing the same option packages may be that they couldn't find any recently sold or for sale. However, they should be making an adjustment (in your favor) for the higher option package. How's the mileage on your car compared to the "normal" mileage for that model year? What was the condition of your vehicle prior to the accident?

Those factors all make a difference. Have they provided the comp report to you? You have the right to see it.

Forget about NADA, KBB, Edmunds, etc. Insurance companies (or the 3rd party vendors they use for value determination) do not use those providers for total loss settlement. Typically, the vendor checks comparable vehicles either currently for sale or recently sold within a 75 to 100 mile radius then makes adjustments for prior condition, mileage, trim level, etc.

How far off do you believe their offer is?

posted by Foodie on Jun 07, 2017 at 04:23:37 pm     #  

I did several years ago. A drunk driver hit me after i had a brand new transmission just put in my car. I fought with them until they gave me like 1K more.

posted by Novrain on Jun 07, 2017 at 04:27:09 pm     #  

As they should have. Total loss payoffs are based on "Actual Cash Value" therefore a brand new transmission adds to that value.

posted by Foodie on Jun 07, 2017 at 05:01:24 pm     #  

I did ask for the comp report - it is using five vehicles from the last three months but all of them are option package 4, while mine is package 6. I admit my mileage is on the high side - almost 170,000 for a 2007 and they do make adjustments for that as well as the different option package. But they also are taking value away for things like worn and dirty carpet - sorry, the next time I expect to get in an accident I'll have my car detailed first. Beyond that any ten year old car is going to have some where as do the ones they are comparing it to yet they take value away on mine.

I found two comps that I thought were the package 6 and sent them to my contact. They said one was a package 4 (but apparently still had some added options like nav, back up camera and leather seats that mine had) so they wouldn't use it even though their comps were marked package 4. The other comp I gave them they did use but then added four more to the valuation (one with package 6 and three with package 4) and after recalculating it ... came up with the exact same value. That just seems real suspicious to me.

Bottom line they valued the car at $5500, and I can't replace it for that. I think with the option package it was worth at least $1000 more. The rep told me that it is cash value not replacement value but I'm not talking replacement with a new model I'm talking replacing exactly what I had which should mean market value. IMO. I get cash value and replacement value are different in replacing say a house or contents of a fire but we're talking about a very popular car with plenty of close comparables available. I should be able to buy a 2007 with my options with about 170,000 miles but I can't with what they want to pay me.

(Just a little bit of venting in there!).

I had also put in over $1500in maintenance in the last six months: new starter battery $230, new lrr tires $800, new headlight bulbs $150, and new brakes $350. But the receipts were in the car and I was on vacation when it happened (my son was driving it) so they cleaned it out and claim the receipts aren't in it. I know these are maintenance items but to a buyer of I was selling it they would have some value.

On the good side - my son wasn't hurt and they did agree to waive the deductible because if he would have swerved to avoid the chunks of concrete that he hit, the personal injury and damage to other nearby cars would have been a lot more. But bottom line - no other insurance company to go after. Theoretically i think I could go after Michigan DOT but I don't have the patience to do that especially since he didn't file a police report.

posted by MsArcher on Jun 07, 2017 at 06:23:06 pm     #  

Do insurance companies ever let you or would let you keep the car if it was totaled on top of what the paid out to you? Mrs. A had all that work done to it. Could make some cash parting it out.

posted by reggie on Jun 08, 2017 at 06:16:56 am     #  


Any chance you can get copies of those receipts from the vendor(s)? The recent maintenance does indeed add value. However, the 170k mileage is likely causing a big hit on the value.


Yes, you do have the option of keeping the vehicle - but the insurance company will deduct the salvage value from their offer to you. Most total loss vehicles end up being purchased by COPART - nearest locations are in the Cleveland area and Woodhaven/Trenton MI. So whatever COPART would pay the insurance company would be deducted from their offer to you since they would not receive the salvage value.
Some people choose to keep the vehicle and have it repaired themselves - particularly in the case where the damage may not be that great but other issues - such as the airbags deployed pushed the loss amount into the total loss category. Airbag replacement can cost thousands. I've seen many vehicles with relatively little damage end up being a total loss due to airbag deployment. The downside to keeping the vehicle is that you end up with a salvage title. You can not plate a vehicle with a salvage title. Once repairs are complete, you have to get the vehicle down to the Findlay Ohio Highway Patrol office (if in Ohio) for an inspection. If it passes, you take the certificate they give you to the BMV along with the salvage title. You then end up with a "Rebuilt" title. The whole process can be more trouble than it is worth and, if you plan on selling the vehicle, it will forever have the stigma of a "rebuilt" title. If you plan on keeping it and driving it until the wheels fall off, then, who cares?

posted by Foodie on Jun 08, 2017 at 09:06:05 am     #   1 person liked this

I did consider asking for the salvage rights but something got bent underneath and I didn't feel comfortable with that unknown on repairing it.

I can go and get the tire receipt, which is the major one. They just won't even give me an estimate of what it's worth. I didn't want to go to the hassle and have them increase it $10 IYNWIM.

posted by MsArcher on Jun 08, 2017 at 09:15:25 am     #  

If you can't get a salvaged vehicle plated without the inspection how can you drive it legally to Findlay for the inspection? Or do you have to tow it down? Why can't they do it at the Toledo highway patrol?

posted by classylady on Jun 08, 2017 at 10:35:58 am     #  

Beginning to think have stayed at the party too long. It's rare not to have a topic or subject come up that I don't have some experience with. Probably should just sit back, zip it up and copy the mail. Anyway had a Jeep Grand Wagoner totaled by Mich. Ins. carrier and they came up with a low ball figure which I found unacceptable. Talked with friends in the business, a relative in the industry and guys in the car business. Found an old friend who established the present market value and put in writting on his dealerships' letterhead. Foodie's very accurate on fixing the current market value of a vehicle. Blue Book is only a benchmark. The carrier can certainly wait out a resolution far longer than you can and they know that. What I did was try to move the issue up the chain and out of middle management hands who might have a reflection on their work ability effecting the outcome. Getting it pushed up to a VP's level by cajoling, he was able to get it off his plate quickly and to my satisfaction. Actually did go the salvage route, put it back on the road with shekels to spare. Had a pretty good mechanical ability so if you say there might be frame damage you're smart to stay away from that idea. Seem to have a need to tie things to the wind and the waves. Years ago was aboard one of Ted Turner's boats off Florida called "Tenacious." Sometimes it takes that if you really feel your right.

posted by Mariner on Jun 08, 2017 at 10:37:25 am     #  

If you can't get a salvaged vehicle plated without the inspection how can you drive it legally to Findlay for the inspection? Or do you have to tow it down? Why can't they do it at the Toledo highway patrol?

It's a State government procedure; it doesn't have to make sense, nor does it have to be convenient for the poor sap that has to go get his car inspected.

If the driver got tangled up with a construction project on a Michigan highway, one or more front end components were probably bent. Unless you absolutely know what you're getting into and don't mind the back breaking labor, you're smart to walk away from it.

Face it. You got hosed by the insurance company. You aren't the first, you sure aren't going to be the last, and you're in good company. Write to your elected tree-weasel and complain.

posted by madjack on Jun 08, 2017 at 01:21:03 pm     #   1 person liked this

classylady posted at 10:35:58 AM on Jun 08, 2017:

If you can't get a salvaged vehicle plated without the inspection how can you drive it legally to Findlay for the inspection? Or do you have to tow it down? Why can't they do it at the Toledo highway patrol?

You cannot legally drive it there. Why they don't do it out on Airport Hwy - I have no idea.

posted by Foodie on Jun 08, 2017 at 02:41:41 pm     #  

MsArcher, I went through this on two occasions in the past. The first time, I stood my ground and argued on and off with them for about a week, got them to come up a few hundred bucks, but that was it.

The second time (different car) a few years later, I decided to take less, keep the car, and do the salvage title route. The car was damaged on both doors on the left side, but other than that, it was fine. They totalled it because it was old, and the value was low. I had the doors repaired, my husband drove it to Findlay for the inspection, and I was able to get a rebuilt salvage title. Then I just drove it for a few more years, till it died.

When I made the appointment for the inspection, I asked how do I drive it down there when it's not plated/titled properly , they told me that if I get pulled over, just have the officer/trooper call to verify my appointment, and everything will be fine. I remember at the time thinking that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

Good luck , hope everything works out for you !

posted by foodie88 on Jun 08, 2017 at 08:03:24 pm     #