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Old 05-02-2013, 02:42 PM
 
71 posts, read 115,744 times
Reputation: 94

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Hello,

I am in NY. A few weeks ago my car was totaled by a semi truck that changed lanes into my vehicle. I was not injured and after I bickered and hounded enough (I went through their insurance as I did not carry collision), the truck driver was found 100% liable. We are now about to discuss $ figures for total loss value of the vehicle.

My question is this. I owe payments on the vehicle, protocol for the insurance company is to obviously pay the bank off first and then I receive the balance. My concern is that since the majority of loan is not paid off, does this affect my ability to negotiate total value of the vehicle? I have the ability to pay off the entirety of the loan before we proceed with negotiations so that the vehicle can be mine free and clear. Should I do this?

Also, the body shop at which the vehicle is sitting has expressed interest that they want to purchase the car as salvage. I stand to make some money off of the deal. Will I need to own the vehicle free and clear for this to take place?

I have not received an offer yet but I am getting my ducks in a row and have found a dozen or so similar vehicles within a 100 miles, similar mileage, options and year and will use that as my baseline for what I want. Is there any other advice someone can give?


Thanks!
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,614 posts, read 21,257,171 times
Reputation: 13670
Quote:
Originally Posted by hsniox View Post
My question is this. I owe payments on the vehicle, protocol for the insurance company is to obviously pay the bank off first and then I receive the balance. My concern is that since the majority of loan is not paid off, does this affect my ability to negotiate total value of the vehicle? I have the ability to pay off the entirety of the loan before we proceed with negotiations so that the vehicle can be mine free and clear. Should I do this?
First off, you aren't going to have much negotiating room to begin with. The insurance company will have a table that tells them what the car is worth, and unless you can prove in some quantifiable fashion that you have made improvements the the car that enhance its value you are going to get what their table tells them you're going to get.

That being said, the fact that you owe money will have no bearing on the matter. If you pay it off now it will probably just muddy the waters.

Quote:
Also, the body shop at which the vehicle is sitting has expressed interest that they want to purchase the car as salvage. I stand to make some money off of the deal. Will I need to own the vehicle free and clear for this to take place?
Once you settle with the insurance company on a total loss, they own the car. So you actually don't stand to make any money when they sell the car.

Some companies will give you a percentage of the value and let you keep it, though. The one time I did this I got 75% of the value of the car, but I don't know if that's a standard figure. If this is an option you could weigh the difference between taking the partial payout and selling the cars vs. just taking the full payout and letting it go.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:16 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX USA
5,251 posts, read 14,236,028 times
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How can you have payments and not carry full coveage? That is one of hte most foolish things I have ever read, and per the financing contract you singed, you were REQUIRED to carry full coverage on the vehilce. That being said, your insurance should be on the hook to protect that lein holder.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
6,864 posts, read 12,070,521 times
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You are at the mercy of the insurance adjuster. They determine value and unless you can show that it was a 'show' car with improvements, you will receive less than market value.
Once you get the check, it is no longer your vehicle and it is owned by the insurance company with title. If a repair shop has interest in the vehicle, they will buy it from the insurance company with a salvage title. You will not see any financial gain from the sale.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,614 posts, read 21,257,171 times
Reputation: 13670
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me007gold View Post
How can you have payments and not carry full coveage? That is one of hte most foolish things I have ever read, and per the financing contract you singed, you were REQUIRED to carry full coverage on the vehilce. That being said, your insurance should be on the hook to protect that lein holder.
I think something go lost in the translation, either that or he's got some sort of escrow account at the bank designated to retire the loan if the car is totalled. He did say he has the money to pay it off so that may be the case.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:32 PM
 
Location: U.S.A.
3,306 posts, read 12,215,941 times
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Some banks do not require full coverage.
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:00 PM
 
4,690 posts, read 10,411,984 times
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I see a bit of mis-information up there. You can ALWAYS negotiate the price of claims, in fact you'd be a damn fool NOT to negotiate. Most initial offers I've seen/heard of (dad sold insurance for 35 years, was more an advocate for his clients than the company) are in the 60% range of the Final payout. KBB/NADA are worthless other than as a very rough estimate, the OP is doing the right thing by finding "replacement value" of substantially similar vehicles. That'll determine the "value" of the vehicle. That number will be higher than what the insurance company will offer, and lower than they would payout if you could fight the perfect fight.

As for "making money" off the car... Once the insurance company pays out a "totaled" settlement, they own the vehicle. They'll usually offer it back to the owner (stamped as "salvage") for a substantially lower value, but that value may be more than the body shop is willing to spend (haven't seen any rhyme of reason behind those prices, sometimes they're reasonable and a no-brainer to buy back, other times there's no way it'd be a smart move). Just depends... but you can fight for that to be lower as well. Personally, I'd never buy-back a totaled vehicle ~ even as a mechanic, it's just not worth it. Those vehicles are valued Drastically lower than a non-salvage with a tiny market of prospective buyers. Since you have a shop who's interested, ask them for their bottom line offer Before you start negotiations with the insurance company. It may not be worth the time/hassle to fight for a hundred bucks.


Good luck with the process. It's a sucky one under the best of circumstances.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:17 PM
 
71 posts, read 115,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_M View Post
I see a bit of mis-information up there. You can ALWAYS negotiate the price of claims, in fact you'd be a damn fool NOT to negotiate. Most initial offers I've seen/heard of (dad sold insurance for 35 years, was more an advocate for his clients than the company) are in the 60% range of the Final payout. KBB/NADA are worthless other than as a very rough estimate, the OP is doing the right thing by finding "replacement value" of substantially similar vehicles. That'll determine the "value" of the vehicle. That number will be higher than what the insurance company will offer, and lower than they would payout if you could fight the perfect fight.

As for "making money" off the car... Once the insurance company pays out a "totaled" settlement, they own the vehicle. They'll usually offer it back to the owner (stamped as "salvage") for a substantially lower value, but that value may be more than the body shop is willing to spend (haven't seen any rhyme of reason behind those prices, sometimes they're reasonable and a no-brainer to buy back, other times there's no way it'd be a smart move). Just depends... but you can fight for that to be lower as well. Personally, I'd never buy-back a totaled vehicle ~ even as a mechanic, it's just not worth it. Those vehicles are valued Drastically lower than a non-salvage with a tiny market of prospective buyers. Since you have a shop who's interested, ask them for their bottom line offer Before you start negotiations with the insurance company. It may not be worth the time/hassle to fight for a hundred bucks.


Good luck with the process. It's a sucky one under the best of circumstances.
Brian, thanks for the response. I was at first a little puzzled by the other posters' comments about negotiating price. I had several sources recommend that I find replacement value, it had worked for them. Perhaps this some valuable information for this forum! I have learned that almost everything can be negotiated and if it isn't, at least you tried and nothing lost.

I'm assuming I will have first dibs on the vehicle once the ins. co. takes ownership, correct? The shop owner told me to find out value and if it was worth it, he would give me a fair profit and take it. A favor for a favor, he just seems to be an honest businessman. Sounds like a plan to me, but it must be up front... no negotiation on that one lol.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:28 PM
 
14,400 posts, read 14,286,698 times
Reputation: 45726
Quote:
I see a bit of mis-information up there. You can ALWAYS negotiate the price of claims, in fact you'd be a damn fool NOT to negotiate. Most initial offers I've seen/heard of (dad sold insurance for 35 years, was more an advocate for his clients than the company) are in the 60% range of the Final payout. KBB/NADA are worthless other than as a very rough estimate, the OP is doing the right thing by finding "replacement value" of substantially similar vehicles. That'll determine the "value" of the vehicle.
I've been an accident attorney for years. I've also had my own cars totaled in accidents as well.

I agree that you can always negotiate the value of a total loss. However, your comments that they typically offer 60% of the value of the car as an "initial offer" is, in my experience, incorrect. I don't honestly see insurance companies play a lot of games with total vehicle losses. The value they place on a car is often lower than it should be, but the approach they use is methodical and data driven. Its not just a number that is pulled out of the air.

If you want a higher number than the insurance company is willing to pay, you have to work for it. Going to KBB and NADA is a good starting point. Get comparables for the same vehicle and based on similar mileage. Receipts for new tires of any major repairs done within the last six to twelve months should be obtained as well. I typically find these things on the internet and send an insurance adjuster an email with links to all of the sources that I have. I will scan repair invoices and include those as attachments to email that I send the adjuster who works for the company.

I've found if I do all this, that total loss value can be increased between 5% and 20%. Sometimes, with older cars, its often a question of asking whether its worth spending the extra time to dig up this information. The net result is only going to be a couple of hundred dollars more.

I typically do this for my injury clients and I throw in the service of helping clients get the highest total loss for their car for free.

One source of frustration to me are people who believe, with no rational basis, that their fifteen year old car with a 150,000 miles on it is worth more than every other 15 year old car with similar mileage. I find that unrealistic clients are at least as much a part of the problem as insurance companies trying to hang onto their money.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Cape Cod
24,457 posts, read 17,203,514 times
Reputation: 35717
I love my truck a 02 F150 Supercrew lariat with all the options and it scares me to think what would happen if it got wrecked. The truck has 70,000 miles on it and is in super shape. If it got wrecked the ins company would probably give me something like $8-10,000 for it if I'm lucky then I could put that towards a new one that now costs $60,000 for the same package! That is scary.
Good luck Hsniox
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