How to Negotiate a Total Loss Auto Insurance Settlement » YNaija

It may seem very unlikely that you will have an accident that damages your car, but trust us, it could happen. There are over 6 million passenger car accidents each year in the United States, and that number is growing right now. Of these 6 million vehicles, a good percentage is totaled each year. So what do you do once your car is completely broken for the kingdom to come? You profit from it! But that might get a little tricky if you want to get the best value for your car, or what’s left of it.

Getting the right amount for your damaged car from insurance companies can be hard not to crack. You may come across a totaled car maybe once or twice in a lifetime, but for insurance companies, it’s every Monday. This is what makes it so difficult to get the desired amount. But with a few tips and practices, you can get a good payout. So here are some tips on how to negotiate a total loss auto insurance settlement with your insurance company.

What is “total loss”?

Before we start talking about negotiations, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of total loss. In an accident, if the car has been so damaged that the cost of repairing and restoring it will be more than the current value of the car, it is considered totaled. This is the general definition and is applicable in almost every state and for every car insurance company.

So if you crashed your old Nissan badly enough and the repair costs are around $5,000, but the current value of the car is around $4,000, the insurance company will consider it total. It will be a big loss for them if they paid $5,000 for the repairs. It is therefore preferable to pay the fair value of the car.

So, if all is well, why do you have to negotiate? Negotiation occurs when the real value of your old car, which is the current market value (also called fair value), is calculated. If you think your car is worth $4,000 but the insurance company says it’s only $2,800, there’s bound to be a disagreement.

Negotiate the price

Insurance companies are businesses, and businesses not only try to avoid losses, but want to make more money. This is the reason why you will always get the fair value of your car much less than you would estimate. So should you accept the value they offer? You can, if you’re happy with it, but be aware that with a little negotiation you can get more than what they offer. So why not try ?

Prepare before you trade

Simply saying that you think your car is worth more than the insurance company’s experts have quoted won’t help at all. You need to back up your claims with evidence if you want to have an impact and improve rates. So what to do?

Get an expert: The auto insurance company may deny your claims about the fair value of the car, but what about other experts? You can contact garages and mechanics and ask to provide a written document showing the fair market value of the car. This will surely make it difficult for insurance companies to counter. But that’s not all.

Amendments: This one could be a hit or a miss, but missing it won’t cost you anything. If you have added modifications to your car, such as a better music system, seat changes, interior works, spoilers, engine modifications, wraps, etc., anything that costs you silver would further increase your chances of getting more value. The insurer may deny that these things add value, but it shows that the current market value they offer discounts the modification.

Maintenance and damage history: If your car was serviced at appropriate intervals, or more frequently, it shows that it was in much better condition than other cars of the same age. This adds a lot to your trading prowess. Also, if you keep your car intact without any damage or repair, it would be very helpful in increasing the value of your car.

How to negotiate

Both parties (you and your insurer) would like the value of the car according to their estimates. There can be no stable middle ground unless both sides want to meet in the middle. You might not get the value you wanted, but it can save you a lot of hassle and you’ll still get more than what was previously offered. So always have room to shift a little and find yourself in the middle.

Bring your arguments: Tell them what your car means to you and how the amount they quote won’t be enough to get a new car. Having a civil discussion will always lead to healthy outcomes. Do not argue or try to prove the insurer wrong.

Show the proof: This is when you show all the documents you have collected, including written statements from mechanics and garages that say your car is worth more than the insurance company gives. This will create the most impact.

Suggest a middle ground: If it is not initiated by the insurer, you ask him to go up a little in his offer and tell him insistently that you are ready to go down too. This creates an “equal sacrifice” situation and helps you get a better deal.

And that’s how you negotiate total loss auto insurance. Always back up your claims with evidence and documents and have a civil discussion. No need to threaten a lawsuit or anything.

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Justin D. O'Neill