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how does insurance co determine value when totaled #4771615 05/29/18 08:15 PM
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raaizin Offline OP
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My daughter was involved in an accident which both airbags deployed. Thankfully all involved are ok. Insurance co said car would probably be totaled due to airbag deployment. How would they determine value is it KBB or some other method. Car is a 2012 jetta SE with 67k miles on it. Also is value retail, wholesale ,private party. Also do you get value + tax for some reason I thought that was the case. Agent said they do 5 comparables sometimes...would I get to see what they are comparing. Car is an se with sunroof connectivity and nicely equipped. I wouldnt want them looking at Jetta S which are stripped down. I am trying to get her back in same kind of car.

Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771620 05/29/18 08:19 PM
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slacktide_bitog Offline
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It's probably KBB retail the condition it was in just before the crash. Sometimes they look for ads of similar cars for sale in your area and take the average. It varies by state and by insurance company.

If you have GAP insurance, then it covers how much you owe on the car if the valuation is less than what you owe on the car.

Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771629 05/29/18 08:25 PM
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Blkstanger Offline
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Some years back I totaled one of my Harleys. They offered me $11k I laughed at them. They told me to get some comps for my area. I provided 6 comps. They ended up paying me over $16k.


99 Jeep WJ 4.7 205,000mi. Maxlife 10w30, Fram Ultra.
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Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771646 05/29/18 08:37 PM
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Cujet Offline
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It is good to remember that insurance companies are expert at what they do. That is, making a profit.

They came by with a check in the $3000 range for the damage to our truck. Actual bill, about $10K. Accept the check and repair it yourself the agent said.

Any trick to avoid making you whole.

Go out and price an exact replacement, equivalent shape in every way, including tax, title, registration fees, dealer fees and so on. If insurance does not meet this requirement, minus your deductible, you are not being made whole.


People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771647 05/29/18 08:37 PM
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Nick1994 Offline
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Theyíve got their own tools, not sure how they do it.

My Camry was totaled 2 years ago. I was prepared with KBB and NADA guides printouts for the value of the car, which had over 200k miles and was 16 years old. The insurance company gave me $3,450 for it (a lot more than my printouts). I paid $2,100 for it... they said if it didnít have a few dings and faded paint it would have been worth $3,950... I bought it back for $868.

So I think itís usually somewhat fair.


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Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771660 05/29/18 08:49 PM
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dishdude Offline
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Most will total when you hit repair costs that exceed 75% of retail value.


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Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771665 05/29/18 08:54 PM
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Panzerman Offline
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The insurance company told me they get comparison values of the vehicle for sale in your area.
They gave me a fair price but when they actually compared the options my vehicle had they decided to repair the vehicle in lieu of totalling it.
The garage provided alot of false information which upset me and made me trust insurance companies even less when the investigation just turned out that they got in bed with the dealership.
Basically your dealing with the Devil.



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Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771672 05/29/18 09:03 PM
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Leo99 Offline
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My mom totaled her Camry and got a hefty check for it. A lot more than I thought she would.

I totaled my Accord years ago and it took about a month of negotiations to get what I wanted.

Sometimes the insurance company is fair and sometimes they figure you're desperate for a check so you can buy another car and low ball you.


Without data you're just another person with an opinion. W. E. Deming


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Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771684 05/29/18 09:13 PM
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69GTX Offline
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My insurance company does the 3-4 comparable vehicles, lists every option on the car and values it in, mileage premium (if any), sales tax, etc. When they missed the CD player because they couldn't find it (it was in the console) they added that in. The value was very fair at $4405 such that I could go out and find a comparable car from a private party for 65-75% of that cost. I wasn't going to argue. And if I was trying to sell my car....no way I could get $4400. Try more like $3000-$3500 tops....if I was lucky. KBB average trade in value on that car in good condition was $1500.


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2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 50K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: Cujet] #4771685 05/29/18 09:15 PM
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Wolf359 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Cujet
It is good to remember that insurance companies are expert at what they do. That is, making a profit.

They came by with a check in the $3000 range for the damage to our truck. Actual bill, about $10K. Accept the check and repair it yourself the agent said.

Any trick to avoid making you whole.

Go out and price an exact replacement, equivalent shape in every way, including tax, title, registration fees, dealer fees and so on. If insurance does not meet this requirement, minus your deductible, you are not being made whole.


Right. The key word here is made whole. If the insurance company low balls you, just say that you're not being made whole and to find you an equivalent car that you can buy with the money that they offer. When they come up with examples, you can point out how it's not the same as your car, they probably won't quote a lower trim line but they may point out one that doesn't have an option your car does. Usually they give you retail which should be enough to buy a similar one if you bought it cheap enough.

Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771699 05/29/18 09:24 PM
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sasilverbullet Offline
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I've worked for three different insurance companies, they all do it differently. Bottom line, complain to high heaven if they don't, and don't give up! They will cave eventually...


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Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4771717 05/29/18 09:38 PM
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OilFilters Offline
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If you don't like the price they give you, find several comparable vehicles for sale yourself in your area. Print the ads and send them in. They can't argue with actual evidence. KBB is a good starting point but rarely do vehicles actually sell for the prices listed.

Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4772014 05/30/18 08:19 AM
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irad Offline
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My experience was with NJM Ins. Co. They used autotrader.com. Search for the exact model and options. I found about 5 cars similar to mine. I threw out the high and low priced ones and took the avg of the three. I submitted that to them and they paid it plus sales tax, and all fees.

Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4772118 05/30/18 09:34 AM
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SeaJay Offline
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I had an older vehicle that was totaled due to water ingestion in the engine. The amount they gave me was well north of what I could have sold it for on the open market. It had to have been a book value for cars that were in much better shape than what I drove.

Re: how does insurance co determine value when totaled [Re: raaizin] #4772247 05/30/18 12:00 PM
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Gimpy1 Offline
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Ok first the total loss threshold is determined using 2 criteria. A) state law. Some states dictate that a vehicle must be totaled once repairs meet an established percentage of the vehicle's ACV or Actual Cash Value (not kbb etc) some stated allow the insurance company to back out airbag replacement when calculating repairability, backing out paint and materials etc. Also there are guidelines in each state for flood vehicles, recovered thefts and burns. B) the insurance company sets the threshold, each company thru its actuarial process determines what the threshold will be, Progressive, State Farm,Geico etc all have their own guidelines for their appraisers. How the value is determined is stated in the policy jacket. Ok now on to valuation, each estimation software company aside from their estimatics has a TL valuation. This valuation is a complex algorithm based on a ton of factors. The appraiser (not the adjuster) fills out a total loss valuation based on the VIN which is decoded with some vehicle options (except pick up trucks) mileage is added then the vehicle is conditioned. There are guidelines for each conditioning of the interior (which is broken down to subsections: dash, seats carpet headliner etc) exterior and general mechanical. The data is sent electronically to the Software company and they generate a Total Loss Vehicle Valuation Report which describes in detail how the value is determined. Now there are 2 SIGNIFICANT things one needs to consider first and foremost are you a claimant or an insured? The reason for this is that the Insurance company has a legal contractual obligation with an insured therefore you have more negotiating "pull" if you're an insured they must also consider what type of policy you have ( replacement value policy ACV policy etc) , if you are a claimant well the insurance company really only has to follow state law. Also remember that ACV is very different than what KBB or NADA state, I don't have enough room to list those but check out KBB or NADA's websites and they have disclaimers noting the difference.

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