Insurance Nightmare - A "Total Loss" 2706

Apparently, insurance company repairs as well as 'total loss' claims are lowballed as a general practice. I just read an article at www.claimsreporter.com that says that you can get on average, the ~$2K
difference needed to get a replacement ride (vs. trade-in)... for sure, if it was not your fault. Anyone got any experience with using a local 3rd party appraisal to get more $$ back?
<M@YW-I/_
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I went through this when my daughter's first Neon was "T-bone" by some kid in daddy's Mercedes. Their insurance company "offered" me about $0.25/dollar for the car. I told them the car was not for sale and offer me whatever you want - I'm not selling. I told them that this was America and you just can't go around offering people way less than an item's worth and then take it from them. Only in 3rd. world countries can you get away with that. Apparently there is liberal precedent set to where they can get away with it in most cases. However, if your vehicle is worth less than the current small claims court limits for your area you can take that route. I said I was willing to go that route since the insurance company's client lived 2 hours away from the county I live in - also where I was going to bring them to court because that is the county where the accident happened. The kid that hit my daughter's car apparently had more than one accident and she was only 17.
I did research and used http://www.publicdata.com (it will cost you to sign up) for some serious information on the client, the family, and insurance company. I also created a web site and stored "all" the information I could - conversation transcripts, notes, and especially email. I tried to communicate through email so to keep good records and evidence worthy of the courts (email can be used as evidence).
I also went to http://www.kbb.com and http://www.nada.com and http://www.blackbook,com for average replacement value of the car (Retail, Trade-In, and Private Party average of the 3 prices). I then looked on http://www.autotrader.com for a car with as close to the one as we had for estimated replacement values. After I gathered up all this data I went to the insurance company with "my offer". Of course they didn't like it and refused to go there. I told them I researched it all and had some pretty good grounds for small claims court to which I was going to subpoena them "and" their client into court - no lawyers talk in small claims court - only the effected parties present their cases. The barked at it all but also asked to see what sort of information I had. I sent them a URL to the site I created and said that it could go global in a matter of less than 24 hours with a simple DNS entry and some http://www.google.com search entries. They said it would take at least a week to get any approval for "my offer" if they could do it at all. I said I was patient and gave the OK.
Well, it was less than 6 hours later they called me back and said they would meet my offer. :-) :-) :-)
Here is the URL to the beginnings of the web site I was going to take public. Remember, it is only in the beginning stages and very basic. I think that they saw how powerful it was and the potential behind the Internet (thank you Mr. Gore) that there realized that even if they won the difference in money (and that was only a couple thousand dollars) that they would 1. probably lose their client for not protecting them from court; and 2. the serious bad publicity they would get from this. All of it truth beyond a reasonable doubt too. Nothing is slanderous or defamatory either - all truth and all public. http://55chevy210.homeip.net/old_neon/accident /
Do your research and stand your ground. You "can" win if you are in the right sometimes. If the car is worth more than what small claims stipulates then you may want to get a good lawyer if one exists. Good luck and I mean it.

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oh, and I forgot, we got to keep the wheels. they only needed something for the car to roll on when they towed it away.

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