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Expert Diminished Value and Total Loss Reports
Total Loss occurs when the repairs exceed a vehicle's value.
For instance, if your vehicle is worth $10,000 and suffers $12,000 in damages; the damages exceed the value and the vehicle would in turn be deemed a ‘total loss.’ Check your insurance policy for the terms governing when your insurance carrier will declare a vehicle a total loss. After a total loss your insurance company will reimburse you the "value" of your vehicle.
The value of your vehicle can depend on:
- the comparison vehicles used by the insurance carrier
- market adjustments for mileage, condition, and equipment
- the specific mileage, condition, equipment, and history of your vehicle
Typical causes of a total:
fire, flood, and severe damage.
1. What happens if my vehicle requires additional repairs (supplement) and the total of the repairs now exceeds the value of the vehicle?
A total loss is measured by comparing ALL repairs against the vehicle’s value. However, an insurance company may initially believe that a vehicle can be repaired and later learn that additional repairs are required. In most instances, an insurance carrier will continue to repair the vehicle instead of declaring the vehicle a total loss. It is important to speak with the body shop and the insurance adjuster before any repairs are commenced if you are concerned that your vehicle may be a total.
2. Can the insurance company choose whether to total my vehicle?
Yes. Typically, the terms of your insurance policy will give your Insurance Company the choice of repairing the vehicle or reimbursing you for the total loss of the vehicle. Some States require an insurance company to declare the vehicle a total under certain conditions; check your policy for details.
3. What if the insurance company decides to total my vehicle, but I would rather have it repaired?
Unless State law provides, the choice of whether to repair is the insurance company’s. If you believe that your vehicle is worth more than the insurance company has allowed, you should inquire into how much your Insurance Company has determined your vehicle is worth and you may need an independent appraisal to verify its accuracy.
4. What if I would like to keep my total loss vehicle even though the insurance company has decided not to repair it?
In some circumstances, your insurance carrier may allow you to keep the vehicle after it has been declared a total loss. Typically, the insurance carrier will reimburse you the fair market value of the vehicle less any deductible and less a fair salvage amount. Use caution; you may be required to have the vehicle repaired and inspected before being able to register and drive the vehicle on the public roads and highways.
5. If my car is totaled what am I owed?
You are entitled to Fair Market Value which is the price you would have to pay to replace your vehicle in your local market. You are also entitled to tax, tag, and title fees.
6. Can you negotiate with the insurance company?
Yes. If you believe that your vehicle is worth more than the amount the insurance company is offering you can discuss their offer. You will need to support your position with an independent appraisal.
7. What if I have a loan?
You are entitled to the value of the vehicle; not the amount of your loan. The insurance company will pay your lender after a total. If the loan is less than the vehicle's value, your lender will send you the difference. If the loan is more than the vehicle's value, you will owe your lender the difference.
8. I have a question which I don't see listed here. What can I do?
Call us and ask.
9. I'm ready to begin. What do I do next?