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  #1  
Old 12-01-2017, 12:49 PM
wally world wally world is offline
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Default How does a total vehicle loss work?

My son got into an accident (again). This one was not his fault, though. The other guy's insurance has already claimed liability for the accident.

He drives an old Honda. It has a lot of miles on it, but it is (or was) a good reliable car. The mileage is appropriate for the car's age (~12k/year).

So he got smacked in the side. Crushed his passenger door in and also got some of the rear quarter panel. It still drives, but rear door cannot be opened. When you turn to the left, I get a grinding noise sometimes now. Etc.

On short, due to the age and cost to repair, it will be a total loss.

So, I should know this, but I don't. Does anyone know how they will value the car? I'm looking at listings for his same car online, and I seem to see ranges from $2-3,000. I would be ecstatic if they gave me $3000 for the car. And probably OK if they gave me $2000. But I'm afraid they are gonna give me like $1,200 or something. Because I can't replace his car for $1,200.

Then I assume if they total it, I sign the title over to some guy in khakis and a red polo, and I'm out form under that car permanently? What if, for some reason, I just wanted to pocket the money and keep driving the car? Would they just back out their assumed salvage value from their settlement and say OK?
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:42 PM
Harbinger Harbinger is offline
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I think if they total the car and give you the value they feel it's worth than they own the car and can do whatever they want with it.
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:42 PM
Harbinger Harbinger is offline
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Also, I'm glad your son is okay. It sounds like it may have been a bad accident but at least he got t-boned on the passenger and not the driver's side.
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:54 PM
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celalta celalta is offline
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If they give you a low offer like 1200, you can point them to those listings as what it would take to replace the car that was perfectly fine until their customer totaled it. That's what we did for my spouse's vehicle. Went from 4200 to 6600 for a couple hours work on spouse's part compiling all the links of vehicles for sale within a 250 mile radius (there weren't a lot of our vehicle) and listing what was different/same/better/worse in comparison to the vehicle we had. They took their sweet time with the original offer, and another 2-3 weeks after we rejected the offer and sent them the email with all the comparison links, hopefully the company you are dealing with is better.

Ours would not even start after the collision though, so I have no idea on the other piece of your question.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:33 PM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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First, take the "insurance company" aspect out of the equation. This is a third party liability--namely, the driver/owner of the other car has an obligation to you/your son.

Two questions to answer:
  1. What is needed to put you in the same/equivalent financial position (wrt your vehicle) you had before the accident?

  2. What is needed to put you in the same/equivalent economic position (wrt your ability to be mobile) you had before the accident?

There is no need to do a direct evaluation on the value of your vehicle. What you need to do is to assess what the cost is to repair it back to "whole and road-worthy". Then you need to assess what the cost to replace it would be.

Note that the replacement has to be with a similar--or near similar--type of vehicle including year, make, and model. So you couldn't go out and price out used Porche or high-end luxury vehicles. But you might be able to price out some comparable Mazada's, Ford's, and/or Chevy's (instead of Honda) in similar model years as the old vehicle along with other Honda's. Do not forget to include the cost for you to obtain these vehicles--transportation plus tax, title, and fees.

Let's say that the cost to repair your vehicle is $15,000.

Let's also say that you can find 4 vehicles that are of comparable vehicle type with price ranges from $18 to $25k.

Now you can respond back with a settlement offer of $25k.

Note that at this point, it's a matter of settlement. Once they agree to a value, you get the cash.

You don't have to worry about "giving up the title" since you're not negotiating ownership; just what it'll take to put you in the same position pre-accident. You're settling a lawsuit, not negotiating "who will own what". That would be something that might be done for a first-party coverage (e.g., your son is at fault in the accident and you're getting your own car "fixed" or replaced).

So if you end up settling for $22.5k for the car, the at-fault party writes you a check (this might be done through the insurance company to simplify the transaction; but the technical process is that the at-fault party is the one who is ultimately on the hook for the payment--but they got insurance to protect their own assets). Now it's up to you on how you want to use it.


I would advise against you "pocketing" the money and continue to operate the vehicle w/o any repairs as this could very likely nullify liability coverage from your insurer if there's a subsequent event (doesn't even have to be an "accident") that involves your vehicle since you failed to exercise due diligence in maintaining the vehicle. You clearly are aware of damage to the vehicle that a reasonable person would assume would impair its safe operation and pose a hazard to others who might be in the vehicle.
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:22 AM
volsfan volsfan is offline
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https://www.insure.com/car-insurance/totaled-cars.html
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:14 PM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volsfan View Post
Note that this information is related to Collision coverage on your own policy.

Still good information, but most of it is not relevant to the situation presented in the OP . . . especially since the (market) value of the vehicle itself is irrelevant.

The piece that would be relevant is the current insurability if you opt to not perform the (needed) repairs.
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:23 PM
volsfan volsfan is offline
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If your car is totaled and you keep the car and keep the check from the other insurance company. I'm pretty sure they are going to deduct any salvage amount out of the check they write you.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:01 AM
wally world wally world is offline
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Finally got an estimate put in......it was for $3,127. So now what? Waiting to hear from them. The estimate just got loaded into their system last night.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:19 AM
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Klaymen Klaymen is offline
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https://www.insurance.com/auto-insur...taled-car.aspx
Quote:
Usually a damaged car is auctioned at a salvage yard and the insurance company keeps the proceeds of this sale. If you want to keep your damaged car, and it's permitted by state law, your company will get bids from salvage buyers to set the fair market value on the salvage—and will deduct this amount from your settlement.
For a total loss I didn't think you would keep the car either. Just let them tow it away.
My son got in an accident with his 20-yr old Honda and the rear driver side won't open now but there is no grinding, it seems like it can still be driven safely. There is a small safety concern with exiting the rear of the car with only one door working, but it's usually just him driving it or our daughter in the passenger seat.
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