If you’re in an auto accident and your insurer determines that the vehicle is totaled, they’ll need to determine your car’s market value. In many cases, the appraisal amount will be less than expected, and may be unfair. In this article, you’ll learn how to get the most for your money when your car is totaled.
Insurance Companies’ Research may be Biased
When an insurer determines the market value of your vehicle, they may exclude vehicles that cost more than they are willing to pay. The research isn’t always indicative of true market conditions, and you should take that into consideration when deciding whether to accept the insurance company’s offer.
Do Your Own Research
You shouldn’t take your insurer’s first offer for your car, and you can do your own appraisal to determine its value. The internet is a great place to start your research; cars are sold online every day, and it’s easy to find values for cars like yours. List some of the prices you find, and average them to come up with an approximate value.
Compare Your Valuation with your Insurer’s
When you get the appraisal report from your insurer, compare it to the number you calculated. Most of the information you find won’t be included on your insurer’s report, and you may have to send a copy of your information to them in order to get them to give you a fair offer.
Look at Your Vehicle’s Options
Your car’s trim level makes a big difference in its value. Options such as power locks and windows, upgraded upholstery and stereo systems can add significant value, but your insurer may not consider them when appraising your car. Compare the Blue Book values for your vehicle with and without these options, and make a note of the difference so you can ask for that amount from your insurer.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If your insurer won’t give you the fair market value for your car, you might need to hire an attorney. Claims under $5000 are taken to small claims court; in most cases you won’t be able to bring a lawyer, but they can help you prepare your case out of court. If your insurer hasn’t made an effort to deal with you fairly, an Auto Accident Attorney in Elizabeth, NJ can tell you more about your legal remedies and rights.