The first time most people deal with an insurance company is with their car. You are involved in a crash and everyone thinks “What about my car?” Or “My car is a total loss. Now what?” A smart insurance adjuster recognizes this and takes care of your car to build trust. Or, at least, that is what we did in my day. Now, however, with specialization, you have a different adjuster for your car than you do for your injury claim. That opportunity to build trust is gone. And the new adjusters, who end up handling property damage claims, don’t understand the value of building trust. So, how can you make sure you get fair market value for your total loss? Here are 5 steps to avoid getting less than fair market value for your total loss:
1. KNOW THE OPTIONS ON THE CAR
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see. You have to know what options you have because this affects the value of the vehicle significantly.
2. BE HONEST ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE CAR
Everyone thinks his/her car is in excellent condition. Vehicle condition and mileage affect the value of your vehicle and being honest about it helps in negotiations.
3. CHECK FOR RECENT WORK DONE ON THE CAR
If you have recently added tires, brakes, new rims, or aftermarket parts, this will affect the value of your vehicle. Keep records for work you had done on the car.
4. OBTAIN YOUR OWN COMPARABLE VEHICLE LIST
Use websites like www.cars.com and your local newspaper for ads for comparable cars.
5. CALL DEALERS FOR PRICES
If you cannot find 5 to 10 ads for your car, call a few dealers, including used car dealers, and ask them for a quote. You may also want to get it in writing.