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Old 02-21-08, 12:53 PM   #1
Mordred
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YACT: Haggling over Total loss amount

Last Sunday my wife was hit by a stupid girl in the parking lot of the outlet malls around here. The girl was driving in the wrong lane and her 4-Runner smashed the front of our '99 Honda Accord, doing significant damage. Despite the girl trying to lie to the policy officer, and the police officer refusing to issue a citation because it was private property, her insurance (State Farm) quickly assumed liability.

They declared the car a total loss on Tuesday and we're currently scrambling to find transportation because they won't give us a rental car indefinitely. I talked to the total loss adjuster yesterday to discuss the settlement amount.

The amount he offered seemed fair at first blush, but after trying to figure out how they came to that amount, I'm not convinced it is. Basically he told me that he started with the NADA value of the vehicle of $7325 (which I believe is fair for the condition the car was in) but then subtracted $1147 due to prior damage on the car. The prior damage was from when someone tapped my wife's rear bumper and the paint chipped off in one spot about 6 inches wide, and some hail damage which I don't really understand because the car has never sat out in hail before.

He then added some unexplained amount to the $7325-1147 to give us an offer of $7230. I don't understand really where that number came from although I do know it includes the reminder of the license and registration and possibly inspection on the vehicle. He told me that the Salvage value of the vehicle is $1500 as well.

At this point I'm unsure of how to even negotiate with him, or even if that's possible. Do people normally haggle over this settlement figure or do they just accept the first offer given? I'm trying not to get taken advantage of here, but I feel like I am.

I talked to my insurance company and they told me that I could file a claim with them, but it would take at least 4-5 days to get an adjuster out to look at the vehicle which would significantly delay our receiving a check, which we obviously want quickly to put towards a downpayment on a new car.
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Old 02-21-08, 01:15 PM   #2
4KRG
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I think you have to be more specific about how he came to that total before you can come here and ask if there should be further negotiation

For a 99 accord LX 4 dr auto with 120,000 miles (I totally made most of that up because you didn't specify) - $7200 would be very fair price to total it.

If there is more to the situation, and it sounds like there is, then those specific points could be grounds for further negotiation.

Find yourself a cheap econo rental for a week and pay for it yourself if you are feeling time pressured. Nothing worse than having to find a replacement car without enough time.
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Old 02-21-08, 03:09 PM   #3
VitiminJ
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I just sold my 1999 Accord. $7200 is a great price. Take it.
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Old 02-21-08, 04:02 PM   #4
Jeeden
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Was the "tap" on the rear bumper a dent also? If so then $1000 sounds right. It would be them bending out the dent or replacing the whole bumper if it's plastic and cracked. Then they need to blend and fade the paint, maybe repaint the whole rear of the car to match, etc etc.
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Old 02-21-08, 06:10 PM   #5
ESG927
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I was in an accident in October which totalled out a 1999 S10 pickup. The accident was my fault and my insurance (also State Farm) gave us a very fair price on the vehicle....in fact more than what we had paid for it 18 months prior!

I believe they started with the NADA retail price (nadaguides.com) based on year and miles and we added additional value for vehicle extras (auto transmission, tinted windows, tonneau cover, and bug shield/window rainguards). They subtracted our deductible (because it was my fault) but added for sales tax and registration. The adjuster explained everything to me and I'm sure yours will too if you ask.

Just off hand, the price quoted to you sounds very fair. Subtracting for existing damage sounds fair as well.
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Old 02-22-08, 01:10 PM   #6
Mordred
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Okay, I'll break it down a little bit.

$7230 is the offer. Texas has 6.25% sales tax on vehicles so they are really offering me $6800 for the car and the title/license/registration/inspection.

The car is a 99 Honda Accord LX V6 with 104k miles on it. NADA clean retail value for that car with the mileage is $7325.

The subtraction of $1150 for pre-existing damage is what I'm having issue with. Yesterday I talked with the repair shop where the car is currently stored and he gave me an estimate of $300-400 to replace the rear bumper cover and paint it to match. Assuming his worst case estimate that means the adjuster feels there is $750 worth of "hail" damage to the vehicle.

First of all, I would not expect a 9 year old car in "clean" (not excellent) condition to be flawless. Some minor dings and scratches to the paint are to be expected and I would guess part of the NADA valuation as well. Now, my wife and I have never noticed any hail damage at all to the vehicle. After calling a paintless dent repair place they told me that $750 would be what they'd charge to remove 6-7 dents each from the hood, roof and trunk.

Now either the adjuster thinks there is way more dents than we've ever noticed on the vehicle, or he's saying it would cost $800 or so to replace the bumper cover.

Anyway, I talked to my insurance company and am having them go out and look at the vehicle to give me a full estimate and tell me what they would offer for the vehicle. If their number comes out higher than State Farms, I'll accept their offer and have them file against State Farm, otherwise I'll just take the $7230.
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Old 02-22-08, 03:14 PM   #7
4KRG
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That makes a little more sense

yes you can argue, tell him you want $500 more and you think by your own internet research that he is not paying enough. Then explain that you are trying to figure out a value for the pain and suffering of your neck injury

Your insurance company will subtract your dedictable if they end up paying out. If your insurance sues their insurance and wins, you will get your deductable back.
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