Step 1: Determining the vehicle to be a Total Loss

Total Loss ClaimsWhen you are involved in a collision, you will report the claim to either to your own insurance company or the insurance company of another at-fault party. The insurance company will assign a damage estimator to inspect the damage and write a repair estimate. Once the estimate is written, the repair cost will be compared to the value of the vehicle. Generally, insurance companies will declare a vehicle to be a total loss if the cost of repairs is more than 70% to 80% of the vehicle's value.

Step 2: Doing Your Homework

If you have been informed that your vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company will then take usually a couple of days to determine the value they are going to offer you. During this time, you should do your own research to determine the fair market value of your vehicle. The easiest way to do this is by using the internet. You should check www.autotrader.com . There you can search for currently for sale vehicle like yours, in your area. You should try to locate 5 to 10 vehicles of the same year, make & model, with similar options and mileage. Print out the listings you find and average the values. This will give you a good average value to use as a baseline. However, you must understand that the prices you find are asking prices and virtually all of those prices will be negotiated downward to some degree. Now when the insurance company makes you an offer you will know if it is within a reasonable range or not.

Step 3: Negotiating and Settling Your Claim

Now that you know what your vehicle is worth and what the insurance company is offering you, it is up to you to negotiate if the offer is not reasonable. You can start by sending the documentation you collected in step 2 above and making a demand of what you are seeking to settle the claim. If the insurance company does not properly negotiate with you then you may have to hire a professional vehicle appraiser to properly establish the value of your vehicle. If you are dealing with your own insurance company you can invoke the appraisal clause of your policy. This is a part of your policy that is there to help settle disputes in value between you and your insurance company.


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Total Loss Services

We offer two services for vehicles that have already been declared a total loss, including Market Search and Total Loss Appraisal

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