Car insurance adjusters have only one job: to low-ball you out of a full settlement for your claims. An insurance adjuster is an evaluator who decides how much you get paid for a claim – make no mistake, their job is to save money for insurance companies by underpaying you as much as possible. Insurance adjusters’ methods are to settle clients faster by offering them cash immediately – in many cases, clients are desperate for cash to repair their cars, and they accept lower settlements than the actual value of their car.
What Decides How Much You Get Paid?
The main variable that determines how much you get paid is the value of your car – if an adjuster claims your car is worth $10,000 but it’s actually worth $12,000 – how do you provide the evidence? How do you receive your full money’s worth and show that your car was damaged at 100%? State laws differ too – in some states, you can claim 100% car loss even if only 50% of your car was damaged.
Adjusters either rush the payment or delay the payment to oblivion. Remember – their job is to pay you less than your car is worth. An adjuster will contact you after a car accident to appraise the value of your car – this gets tricky if you have a used car, however, there are tools that can help you determine the exact value of your car. Once an adjuster contacts you, they will attempt to give you an offer – this offer will typically be less than what you claim. If you take it they will settle you and they’ve done their job. What you should do instead is to tell them you want to negotiate – it’s possible to convince an adjuster that your car is worth an x amount of $ by providing proof of the exact car value. This guide will show you how to find out the exact value of your car and how to present that information to your adjuster.
State Laws For Total Car Loss
Total loss of car refers to claiming 100% of the value of the car – in theory, if your car is totally wrecked you can claim a total loss on the car to buy a new car. However, in many states, your car damages do not have to constitute 100% of the car value (full wreckage) to claim a total loss.
- Nevada: The state legislation claims that a client requires a 65% loss of vehicle value in order to claim a total loss.
- Florida: The total loss amount is slightly higher at 80%.
- Texas: The damages must actually surpass 100% of the value to file a total loss claim.
State-specific laws are different and you must check the laws of your state to determine whether you are eligible for a total loss claim in your state.
How To Negotiate With Car Insurance Adjusters About Car Total Loss?
There are two steps to negotiating with a car insurance adjuster. The first is to become aware of your own bargaining position and bargaining laws. The second is to appraise the value of your car correctly using a set of online tools.
1) Know The Law
The law is there to protect you – know that federal insurance laws command all insurance companies to pay an undisputed portion of your claim within 30 days. If the adjuster refuses to pay you in excess of 30 days – this entitles you to take the auto insurer to court and you will win. In most cases, the adjusters know they have an advantage and that if they delay the payment for a client who refuses to take an under-market value settlement – the client will be forced to use public transport or use a rental on their credit card making them more likely to accept a lower settlement. Federal law states that they have 30 days to payout, and use that time frame to negotiate the ideal price based on exact market data.
2) Estimate The Value Of Your Car
This is how you determine the value of your car and provide proof to the adjuster that they can’t refute:
- Use autotrader.com to determine the exact market value of your car based on the model, age, condition, and other cars for sale. Print out findings based on dealers – not private sellers. Auto adjusters will only accept official data from dealers, but you can discover this exact data too.
- Add $115 in DMV fees to your claim because the insurer has to pay your DMV fee for the replacement vehicle too.
- Once you’ve calculated the value of your car, add an exact 8.75% value tax which will include the sales tax on your replacement car.
- The adjuster will always try to low-ball you; refuse them and say you don’t agree with their valuations and then ask for an undisputed amount by sending them your specific request. Once you provide evidence of market value, they will have no option but to compensate you for your total loss claim.