When your car, light truck or SUV is determined to be a total loss after an auto accident, it is not unusual for the insurance company to make you an initial offer that is well below the actual fair market value of your vehicle. You may need a third party auto valuation, and Collision Claim, Bob Bratt can help you get a fair, independent vehicle appraisal and get your total loss claim started.

Now that I understood the concept and verified that Florida gives you four years to file a lawsuit, I contacted the insurance company last September — 21 months after the accident — and surprisingly got a cordially written response acknowledging the claim with a request for more information.

They sure knew what diminished value was. A month later I had a written settlement offer. Who needed to pay for an appraisal?

But the insurance company had never looked at our car and didn’t provide any documentation for the settlement amount. Figuring that this probably wasn’t their best and final offer, the idea of paying for a detailed court-ready appraisal report started to make sense.