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How to Get a Higher Total Loss Offer from an Auto Insurance Company


OK – You’ve been in the worst accident of your life. Thankfully, you were able to walk away. Then, after you finally get home, you start what feels like the longest process of your life: filing and settling a claim for your totaled car. What’s slowing down the process? It is the low offer given to you on your totaled car from the insurance company.

After paying money for years to keep your car insured, you feel a little insulted when you get a low offer to settle the total loss of your vehicle. You expected much better treatment. Outside of accepting a low, inaccurate offer from your insurance company on your car, what can you do? The answer: you have to do your homework and prove that your car is worth more. Here’s how:

1. Find ads for vehicles like yours selling at higher prices. You can do this by printing ads off of the Internet or cutting them out of the paper. The important thing is to just find ones that support the fact that your vehicle is worth more than the insurance company is offering. Also, be sure these vehicles are ones being sold within your zip code and by locals. Otherwise, the insurance company will attribute the higher value of the cars to the going rate of vehicles in a different location or by the jacked up fees of a car dealer.

2. Turn in copies of receipts showing upgrades. Before the accident, did you add in a new stereo to your car or any other item that would add value to it like new tires? You might think that the insurance company would automatically see your car and figure this out. Wrong! It’s up to you to point out what you’ve done “new” to your car over the past year. Keep this in mind and gather up all of your receipts. Also, it’s important to know that maintenance work does not add value to a vehicle. So don’t turn any of those receipts in unless you are arguing about the overall condition of your car.

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3. Make sure the description of your car is correct. Just as in any profession, adjusters make mistakes. As a result, one reason why your total loss offer might be low is because the incorrect model, year, mileage and accessories are listed on the total loss work sheet. Therefore, go over every detail of your car with your adjuster when you discuss the offer. Make sure all of the details of your car are in order, so that the value of your car will be in line.

4. Use the arbitration clause in your auto policy. A lot of auto policies have an arbitration clause that can be used in the case that you don’t agree with your adjuster about the repairs or the total loss value of your car. So, check your policy and take the next step. The only thing you need to remember is that you’ll have to pay the expense of your own arbitrator and, also, you’ll still need to have concrete proof that your car is worth more than what the adjuster is offering to you.

5. Ask to speak to a supervisor. This last point is one you should only do if the communication between you and that adjuster has completely broken down. If you cannot speak to each other calmly and the adjuster refuses to look at new information about your vehicle or address questions about the total loss figures being offered, then ask to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor will listen and hear what you have to say in order to squash the complaint. Some times, they’ll even compromise on the money in order to appease a good customer.