After the initial shock of being involved in a serious automobile accident has subsided, you must deal with your insurance provider regarding the repair of your vehicle. No problem; that's what insurance is for, right? Another shock may be in store for you when the adjuster declares the vehicle a total loss, especially if the reimbursement payout offered to you is substantially less than what you feel entitled to receive.
The term "totaled" can mean different things, depending on a car's retail value. A vehicle is considered a total loss if it will cost ¾ of its retail value to make the necessary repairs to restore it back to its condition before the accident. If the car is an older model, it may not take much damage at all for it to be totaled. A newer model must sustain severe damage—most likely from a front-end collision or rollover—in order to reach such a conclusion.
It doesn't happen often, but sometimes the payment offered is not enough to obtain a replacement that is suitable. You can take steps in order to make sure that your best interests are served.
- You should know the value of your vehicle, including any dealer-added options or aftermarket accessories. Any receipts for accessories will be helpful. Several online sites offer help in making this determination, including the industry standard, Kelly Blue Book. Be sure to take the vehicle's condition and mileage into account.
- Because vehicle ownership has additional costs, you need to add these to the replacement value calculation. Sales tax and motor vehicle registration and title fees are examples.
- You need to carefully review the paperwork regarding payout before agreeing to the amount. Does it meet the results of your personal research? If not, give your research and documentation to the adjuster for reconsideration.
- If you do not find the payout reimbursement satisfactory, it's time to involve your state insurance commission to see how totaled vehicle settlements are addressed. These agencies also have advocates who assist customers in reaching a satisfactory result. Your other option is to hire an independent appraiser and see how much money they say should be offered to you.
It may be possible for you to keep your totaled car. Your insurance agency could be convinced to deduct a salvage value from the payout, and you could use the remaining amount to repair your vehicle. This will require a salvage title, which will make your car illegal to be driven until it is repaired and passes inspection. If you need help in navigating the claims process for automobile accidents, consider calling us at 813-933-6691. Information is available to help in making the best financial decision. Call Adcock-Adcock Insurance today for all of your Tampa auto insurance needs.