For those of you that have been in an accident, I have a question. Last nite
a young gal rear ended my wife in her car. Today, while talking to our
insurance adjuster, I asked about rental car re-inbursement and getting
something from the young gals insurance for the diminished value the car
will have now at the time I want to sell it or trade it in. The adjuster
told me that "I" would have to talk to the gals insurance about that. My
main concern is getting something for the diminished value of our vechicle
now. This an 07 with only 7500 miles on it. Is this a common thing that most
companies will give something on? If they say no, what are my options other
than hiring a lawyer, which I don't think would be worth it since there were
no injuries. Thanks for your comments and experiences on this.
Good luck with that one Paul. There really is no diminished value if the
car is properly repaired. Insurance is obligated to restore a vehicle to
its pre-accident condition. Nothing more. Assuming they do that, the car
will still have the book value that it had before the accident. If you look
at Kelly Blue Book or NADA, there is no category for "car has never been in
Most states require disclosure of such things as a car having been totaled.
This is a far different issue. Once totaled, they can only be issued a
salvage title and not a normal title. This disclosure though, does not
reduce the value of the car for "normal" accident repairs. The intent of
this disclosure is to prevent the Katrina type of scams where cars that have
been flooded (for example), are brought to another part of the country,
cleaned up a bit, and sold.
I don't know about California, since a lot of "different" things happen
there, but generally speaking, most states don't really care if the car has
been in minor accidents. They only care if the car has been totaled.
People sometimes tend to labor under the erroneous
notion that "totaled" is equivalent to "irreparable". The
former only means that the cost of repairing a vehicle
to restore full functionality exceeds its market value but
neither necessarily implies structural nor catastrophic
damage. Case in point, of two vehicles (one an older
model, the other brand new) experiencing collisions
and identical resultant repair costs, one might well be
considered totaled by an insurance company while
the other would be restored to its previous condition,
no questions asked by or of the policy holder.
Another thing many erroneously assume is that on must turn a vehicle, that
the insurance company totals, over to the insurance company. That is your
vehicle, you can do with it what you wish. If you decide to keep the
vehicle and repair it yourself you can do so. All you loose is the salvage
value and the tax on the salvage value. The salvage value, even on a late
model car is generally, no more than $50 to $250.
Paul, I know of 2 such "adjustments"; both were on relatively
high-dollar vehicles. First one I ever saw was a current-year model
Cadillac, along about 1990-'92. The owner was a high-horsepower national
business-owner--of a trucking company (which later declared bankruptcy!).
He normally bought a new car every year, and was awarded a luxury-car
depreciation due to its having been in an accident. This was a liability
claim. Don't think CarFax would have had access to that type info at the
The 2nd was a Jaguar, again a current-year model, and the
owner(self-employed Bible retailer) provided Jaguars for his salesmen who
reached a certain plateau; he received the same type of adjustment on a
On the same note, another friend asked for the same, on like a 2-3-year
old Caddy, and was denied any such adjustment. HTH, s
I too just got finished with a similar situation. My 07 was
broadsided by a limo. Since I had collision, I was paid for the
damage minus the deductible. At this point, since I've been adjudged
during subrogation as not at fault, I'm now waiting for the other
guy's insurance to reimburse my thousand deductible. I'm just glad I'm
not holding my breath while I wait for the check though.
Something is not right here Paul. You state that the adjuster looked at
your car and now you say you won't know what the estimated repairs are until
Wednesday? Sorry - I'm calling bullshit on this one. When the adjuster
looks at the car he tells you exactly what his estimate for repairs are.
Right then and there. You're telling parts of stories here Paul.
Almost every adjuster on the road today - if not *every* adjuster, has a
laptop computer right in his car. They all use the same adjusting software
that prices out the work. They may call around for better pricing, but that
takes minutes. They typically know right then and there what the damage
total is. Some companies still authorize the adjuster to write a check on
the spot. My son just hit a deer on Christmas eve. His vehicle was looked
at the day after Christmas. The adjuster looked at the vehicle in the body
shop where it will be repaired. Went out to his own vehicle, cut a check
and handed it to my son.
That's not so unusual Dave. Hell 20 years ago you could drive up to a
Nationwide claims center, have someone look at the car and cut you a check.
Looking up parts prices is a pretty simple exercise for an adjuster. A
couple of phones calls at the worst, plug those numbers in and his estimate
is printed out right there. And... if the company he works for still
authorizes the adjuster to write, then he cuts you a check if you accep the
A lot of companies are not allowing adjusters to carry check books these
days though, so it could be a day or two before you actually receive a
check. That however, is different than not knowing the estimated damage
amount fairly immediately.
So does the adjuster. He has all of the information he needs to estimate
the labor and parts to make the repair on his laptop and it will likely be
the same as the repair estimate, you submitted to the company he represents,
because they all use the same software today.
In any event he is NOT the final arbitrator, a local judge and case law is
If you are not satisfied with his opinion tell him so, a bring an action
against the owner in small claims court. The filing cost is generally less
than $100. You do not need an attorney, all you need to do is present three
notarized repair estimates from local repair shops and three estimates of
the value of the vehicle from three reputable dealers to show the repair
cost is reasonable based on the value of your vehicle and you will win a
judgment against the at fault owner which will include the cost of the
litigation. What I have found is when the insurance company receives notice
of the legal action they will sent you a check for the amount of the repair
estimate you originally submitted to them rather than send an attorney to
fight the claim ;)
Remember also that in most states you are allowed to take it where you want
for repairs and request genuine OEM parts, not made in China repair parts.
If you want it done right without any worries of lost value take it to a
reputable body shop or a dealer to have it repaired. Owning several
commercial vehicles with hired drivers I have dealt with insurance companies
too much. Even your insurance adjuster will smile, shake your hand and
promise to treat you right only to bend you over in the end. Remember, a
adjusters job is to satisfy a claim legally and at the lowest cost to his
boss the insurance company. Don't take any BS from your or the at fault
parties insurance adjuster. Most states also allow you to get a rental at
the at faults expense. I've had diffrent experiences in diffrent states,
some set up the rental for you and some have you rent a car and reimburse
You can request anything you want, but the insurance companies are in no way
obligated to fulfill your request. They are required to restore your car to
pre-accident condition. That can indeed mean that if you have a rusted out
fender, that's what they replace it with - a rusted out fender. No OEM
part, no nothing. Pre-accident condition. Insurance companies are fully
within their lawful right to use aftermarket parts that meet OEM
specifications, junk yard parts, or OEM. Your request means absolutely
nothing in determining what parts go on your car.
Both of which will just as likely use the same parts as what the insurance
company authorized. Even dealers use aftermarket parts. Many aftermarket
parts (all, if they are certified) are equal to OEM in every respect -
except price. If you want to insist on forking over your own money for OEM
when the same part can be obtained for 1/2, then go ahead - spend your
All of that says a lot of nothing. Insurance is regulated in almost every
state. Rather than talk about vague statements, it would serve the
conversation better to speak specifics. So the adjuster's job is to satisfy
both his company and the legal requirements of your policy. Big deal. What
is that supposed to mean? That you are in some way short changed? Please
explain how. How does your adjuster bend you over in the end? He offers
you an estimate. You have the opportunity to intelligently dispute it right
then and there. If you can't intelligently dispute it, you have no ground
to stand on. But... you claim he says one thing and does another.
Bullshit. When they tell you what the appraised damage is, you get the
check. No getting bent over a barrel, no shenanigans. If you don't know
what the adjuster is appraising your damage at within 15 minutes of his
arrival, it's your fault - not some adjuster bending you over.
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