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The Insurance Company Is Not Offering Me Fair Value for My Vehicle: What Can I Do?

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on May 12, 2009

Negotiating with Insurance Companies over Vehicle Damage

When it comes to being in an automobile accident in Arizona, if your vehicle is totaled, there are several things you can do when negotiating with the insurance company. First, it may be best to hire an attorney if you are hurt because many attorneys, like our office, will take care of your property damage for free when handling your injury claim. Therefore, you are likely to get a better settlement for your injury and property damage claim and you will not be charged any more. It is important to ask the attorney if they charge for handling the property damage. Our office does not charge at all and many attorneys do not charge for handling property damage.

If you are handling your property damage on your own and your vehicle is totaled, the first thing to do is ask the insurance adjuster for the evaluation that they used to come to the amount that they offered you for your vehicle. Almost every insurance company uses another company to evaluate the damaged vehicle. The problem is that the company the insurance company hires has a job to do, which is to make sure the damaged vehicle’s total loss amount is as little as possible. The insurance company will get a report that has the description of your vehicle along with other vehicles that your vehicle was compared to in order to arrive at a total loss amount.

Look at the evaluation to make sure the mileage and any extras that are on your vehicle are correct. Many times the insurance company does not have all the facts about your vehicle correct. For instance, we have had many cases where the mileage was wrong. If the mileage on your vehicle is higher than the cars compared to, then the insurance company will deduct a lot of money for extra mileage on your vehicle.

Second look at the auto trader and other auto magazines to find cars that are similar to yours. Many times the insurance company’s evaluation will use cars that are not like your car. It may be the same type of car but a different model. It is best to try to find cars that are the same model as your vehicle. This will help to increase the value of your vehicle.

Lastly, negotiate with the insurance adjuster. After you have looked at the evaluation, examined your auto insurance coverage and looked at the auto trader, create a report and send it to the insurance adjuster so that you can show them why the value of your vehicle should be higher.

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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer