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Video: The Insurance Company Totaled Your Car. What Should You Do?

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Personal Injury Video Law Tip

The Insurance Company is Totaling Your Car. What Should You Do?

“If your car is totaled in a car accident, you really are entitled to actual cash value of the car. You have to do some of your homework to make sure that you get the appropriate value for your car. There are a lot of online resources just like Kelley Blue Book or several valuing systems. You need to make sure that you are actually getting the value in your area for the vehicle that you drive. You don’t always have to take the first offer that the insurance company offers.” – Dena Sisk Foman, Florida Personal Injury Lawyer at McLaughlin & Stern LLP in West Palm Beach


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Dena Sisk Foman circle photo avatar personal injury lawyer West Palm Beach

She Said Dena Sisk Foman, Personal Injury Lawyer

Topic The insurance company totaled your car. What should you do?


If an insurance company totaled your car, how can you be sure of getting its true value? Insurance companies like to use the words “diminution of value” to justify paying the owner a lesser value than a car may be worth. But, what a car is worth objectively (internet sites, research, and what people will pay) is not always exactly what a party who loses a car feels it is worth. For many of my clients, they were driving a car that had been paid off for years. The car had perfect maintenance and they planned to drive the car until it would no longer move. Often the value of these cars objectively is very low, but replacing a lower priced, reliable car is very difficult to do.

Most insurance companies use an internal pricing system which is often trade-in value plus a few dollars. But, it almost always is a number less than retail value. The problem with this is that the party out of a car must pay retail value, so it ends up costing the party with the damaged car money. In cases where the accident is not the fault of the party seeking reimbursement, this process can be grossly unfair.

You do not have to always accept the offer made by the insurance company to repair your car. If you do challenge their reimbursement figures, be sure to do your research. Back up your position as to why your car is worth more than they have offered. If you are not able to reach an agreement with the insurance company, you can always sue the at-fault driver or your insurance company, if they are the party paying for the repairs. – Dena Sisk Foman

Bill Abel circle photo avatar personal injury lawyer West Palm Beach

He Said Bill Abel, Personal Injury Lawyer

Topic The insurance company totaled your car. What should you do?


In order to get the highest value for your car, you should do your homework. If an insurance company has totaled your car, the value the insurance company assigns to your totaled vehicle is negotiable. In order to have the insurance company increase the amount of its offer, you need to provide them information as to why their offer is insufficient. If your car is worth little, then you might not want to put in a great deal of time and effort attempting to change the insurance company’s position. However, if your car has significant value, then you will definitely want to negotiate with the insurance company. In fact, there are private adjusters whom you can hire to negotiate on your behalf if you feel the insurance company is giving you a low offer. These public adjusters can provide significant value. They typically are former insurance company adjusters who know the best methods to get higher offers from the insurance company. – Bill Abel

Personal injury law video number 100046:
Video: The insurance company totaled your car. 
What should you do?

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