You can fight an insurance company over a totaled car’s value by sending the insurer a counteroffer along with evidence justifying your car’s value. If the insurance company does not raise its offer, you can contact your state’s insurance regulator, seek arbitration, or file a lawsuit.
How to Fight the Insurance Company Over a Totaled Car
After receiving a settlement offer from the insurance company:
- Gather evidence, including an independent appraisal, the car’s sticker details, prices for comparable vehicles, photos of the car before the accident, and receipts for any features you added.
- Send this evidence and a counteroffer to the insurance company.
- If the insurance company does not negotiate to your satisfaction, contact your state’s insurance regulator to request help.
- Ask your insurance company for third-party arbitration if necessary.
- File a lawsuit as a last resort.
Limitations When Fighting an Insurance Company Over a Totaled Car
It’s important to remember that insurance companies are only required to pay a car’s actual cash value (ACV), not the cost of a replacement car or the original price you paid for the vehicle.
Car insurance companies and state laws determine when a car is declared a total loss, so it is unlikely that you will be able to keep your insurer from totaling the car if they deem it necessary. But you can negotiate with your insurance company if you think the amount they propose the car is worth is less than the car's ACV.
It’s in the insurance company’s interest to prevent a dispute from escalating, so sending a counteroffer directly is the best place to start. Otherwise, the cost of filing a lawsuit is usually not worth the potential rewards, but it depends on your situation.
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