McKayla Girardin, Car Insurance Writer
To negotiate a totaled car’s value with your insurance company, you’ll need to send evidence of the vehicle being worth more than the insurer is offering along with your counteroffer. Negotiating with an insurance company about whether a car is a total loss may also require contacting your state’s insurance regulator.
How to Negotiate Your Totaled Car’s Value
1. Gather evidence.
Build a case for how much your vehicle should be worth, using photos from before the accident, receipts for any upgrades you made, third-party appraisals, and proof of similar vehicles being worth more from websites like Kelley Blue Book.
2. Submit a counteroffer.
Send your counteroffer to your insurer along with the evidence and a clear statement of how much you believe your car is worth.
3. Contact your state’s insurance regulator.
If your insurer does not agree to your counteroffer, you can call your state’s department of insurance or insurance regulatory committee for help with the negotiation process.
4. Request arbitration.
Third-party arbitration can help even the playing field by allowing an outside group to evaluate all of the negotiation details and suggest a fair resolution.
5. File a lawsuit, if necessary.
Since lawsuits can be really pricey, they should only be filed as a last resort after every other avenue has been exhausted.
While you can typically negotiate the value of your totaled car, it is unlikely you could successfully negotiate with your insurer over your vehicle being considered totaled in general. Whether or not a vehicle is a total loss is controlled by state laws and insurance company regulations.
However, if you believe your insurer is violating state laws, like saying your car is totaled despite the amount of damage being less than your state requires for a total loss, call your state’s insurance regulator for help. They can investigate the situation and determine if your insurer is acting in bad faith.
To learn more, check out WalletHub’s guide to totaled cars.
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