Understanding How To Negotiate – 5 Tips For Negotiating Totaled Car

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Understanding How To Negotiate – 5 Tips For Negotiating Totaled Car

October 22
09:03 2022

Understanding how to negotiate the best settlement for a totaled car is important if one wants the best deal from their insurance coverage on a totaled car after having gone through two-car accident negotiations with the insurance company within four months of each other due to two totaled cars (neither of which were our fault). It is common for claimants to accept the first offer from their insurance company without reviewing the details. It is assumed that their car insurance company will offer them a fair payout for the condition of their automobile. Drivers are often unaware of what to expect when they are insured.

For example, one may recall telling the insurance adjuster the vehicle had a DVD player, but did they tell them that the DVD player was split-screen? These items may not be obviou, but they could increase the settlement amount and fair market value. There are also processes for challenging Kelley Blue Book values.

The best negotiation tactics could result in a higher settlement for one if they don’t have an agent or if their agent isn’t particularly helpful. The first thing one needs to do is make sure they know what they are doing. One cannot get a higher payout if they describe their car overly generously on Kelley Blue Book. It would help if they learned how the claims process works.

Sara Routhier, Director of Outreach at Clearsurance.com, suggests five tips on negotiating the best loss settlement for a totaled car.

(1) Know what one is selling

According to certain insurance policies, one’s insurance company may be required to purchase a totaled car from them at a reasonable price if it considers their vehicle totaled. One’s car’s fair market value is based on its appearance before the accident. Insurance companies usually refer to destroyed cars as those that need to be repaired for more than a certain amount, which makes them more likely to pay more.

The sticker details accompanying one’s car when they purchased it should be provided to the insurance adjuster for their benefit. It is at the insurance company’s discretion to total a vehicle if it is damaged at or above 51% of its pre-accident value. Other insurance companies will destroy it at 80%.

However, if one thinks the damage is severe enough, they may wish to have it totaled. A wrecked vehicle cannot be operated without substantial repairs or reconstruction. In this condition, a car would be sold with a salvage title, no matter if they kept it or if their insurer tried to sell it. There may also be damage that a repair shop won’t see without extensive work. Sadly, this can lead to accidents or future car failures. One should consider their safety when driving a total loss vehicle if their insurance provider is looking to avoid future claims.

Lost the sticker? Contact the dealer where one purchased the vehicle and ask to see the car’s features. Dealers are required to keep records of the vehicles they sell. The best way to determine what features one’s vehicle had is to search online for the year, make, and model of their vehicle if they cannot locate this information. When making an initial offer, ensure the adjuster has this information so they can make the highest recommendation possible.

(2) Prepare counteroffer

Prepare counteroffer after supplying the adjuster with vehicle’s features. Do not wait to start researching until one receives the adjuster’s offer. The appraiser may come up with a fair price, but doing research afterward can delay one’s payout and their ability to obtain replacement coverage (especially if they want a new car). If one doesn’t have gap insurance, a good counteroffer could mean the difference between being free of liability and still being obligated to pay for the car.

It is important to know the retail value of one’s car, not the trade-in value, to determine how much it is worth. One is not trading in their car; they are selling it to the insurance company. They will need to show the adjuster the estimated retail value and the features used to determine the price when they make the counteroffer. Depending on the current owner of their vehicle, there is a lot of information on the web about assessing the condition of their vehicle for their claims adjuster.

In the past seven or eight months, if one has had major repairs to their vehicle, such as new tires, be sure they have copies of any receipts. If they don’t have them, contact their mechanic and ask them. They may not be covered by all insurance policies if their car has been customized.

(3) Analyze the comparables

Find used cars for sale on a few websites and print those with similar features and mileage as one’s own vehicle. They might want to check sites such as autotrader.com and cargurus.com.

(4) Get an auto insurance settlement offer

When the adjuster contacts one with an offer, request that it be emailed to them along with the valuation report or CCC report. As part of the settlement amount, insurance companies use this report to provide a market evaluation of the car’s value. It is important to make sure that this report accurately lists their vehicle’s mileage and considers all of their vehicle’s features. The adjuster should show them three additional items once they receive the written offer:

For any outstanding vehicle loan, they are responsible for paying off the lien amount to the auto financing company C. Net settlement amount – the amount one will receive from the company. A. Sales tax, they must pay the sales tax to the state. B. Payoff lien amount; they must pay directly to the auto financing company.

(5) One’s totaled car needs a counteroffer

Use NadaGuides.com (or a similar website) to compare the written offer with the used car printouts they previously researched. Does the price match up? Determine a reasonable counter offer based on these figures. Please email the insurance carrier the counteroffer and all supporting documentation they used to support it, including NadaGuides.com value, used car reports, and recent repair costs. If they do not provide supporting documentation, their offer is less credible.

A fair settlement can result from proper research, documentation, and reasonable expectations. If one’s agent does not offer them a good offer after negotiating, contact them for assistance. Additional advice may be provided by the consumer affairs office in certain states. They will get the actual cash value minus their deductible if their car’s totaled by their insurer. Insurance companies keep the money they get for the salvage vehicle, which is then auctioned at a salvage yard and usually hacked up for parts.

Would one still get an insurance payout if they wanted to keep the car?

Keeping a totaled car is not an option if one doesn’t agree with the insurance company’s assessment of the damages. It may cost more to repair the car since not all the damage is immediately apparent. When one purchases a car insurance policy, they agree not to demand that their insurer reimburse them more than their car is worth. On the other hand, most states require insurance companies to follow these guidelines to get back to where they were financially before the accident. Contact state’s insurance department for assistance if they still cannot agree about value.

The car will need extensive repairs before being registered for road use. If it has a salvage title, one will also need to pay for extensive repairs before they can purchase collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. When they buy a new car, they can save themselves money by purchasing gap coverage if their totaled vehicle insurance check is less than what they owe.

In the aftermath of a car accident, their insurance rates may increase. Now may be the best time to shop for a new car insurance company. Our research shows that average switching insurers save customers $390 annually. Look at who other drivers rate as the best car insurance companies if one is looking for a new policy.


Hopefully, these 5 tips will help one negotiate a totaled car settlement that they are happy with. Remember to be honest and straightforward with insurance company, as they will likely have many questions. And last but not least, always remember to make a counteroffer so that both parties feel like they’re getting the most out of the situation.

Media Contact
Company Name: Clearsurance.com
Contact Person: Sara Routhier
Email: Send Email
Country: United States
Website: https://clearsurance.com/

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