How Much Should I Receive For My Car After A Car Accident?
Through no fault of your own you’ve been in a car accident, and your vehicle is totaled. The other driver’s insurance company has just called and the settlement amount they are offering for your car seems extremely low and isn’t enough to pay off your car loan. What are your options?
First, it’s important to understand that you don’t have to accept the settlement that the insurance company is offering. However, by making this choice, you are leaving litigation as a your only way to be compensated for your losses.
Before you decide to go this route, consider that the law allows you to seek Market Value as compensation for your vehicle. This means, you can ask for up to the amount your car was worth on the market just prior to you accident. Unfortunately, the law does not provide for the loan amount or any sentimental value you may have attached to the car.
While the insurance company is doing their research to decide what settlement they are going to offer you for your vehicle, you should be doing your own research. The insurance will order a valuation report from a 3rd party company. The information in these reports is not always accurate or neutral and there is evidence to suggest these reports favor the insurance company. However, these reports impact the settlement amount.
Your best bet in getting a fair shake is to do your own research about the market value of your car and submit copies to the insurance company for inclusion in the claims file. For instance, research your vehicle on Kelly Blue Book’s website (kbb.com), or autotrader.com. Also, provide any invoices or receipts you have showing after market upgrades you made to the car. Printing sales ads from Craigslist for cars that are similar to yours can also be helpful. All of this documentation must be printed and submitted to the insurance company before a settlement is offered or negotiation finalized.
In addition to the claim for market value of your vehicle, you are also entitled to make a claim for $20 to $40 per day you are without your car to cover inconvenience, and a claim for depreciation to cover the loss of value in your vehicle now that it has been in an accident.