Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

Achieving a Fair Value for Your "Totaled" Car

Adjusters often try to persuade their insurance clients into accepting less than they are entitled. Adjusters will use tactics such as discounting the value of certain options and then threatening to take the entire matter to arbitration when the client disagrees with the valuation. Most insurance contracts do contain an arbitration clause that mandate binding arbitration when there are disagreements as to value. Some insurance adjusters try to scare their own clients into accepting the lower valuation by stating that if the disagreement goes to arbitration, the client will have to pay more in arbitration costs, expert appraiser fees, and attorney costs than the difference in the disputed value. You can increase the valuation amount by using Internet resources to serve as the basis for your value arguments. KellyBlue Book and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) websites are easy to use and will allow you to select the model, make, year, and options to generate a fair value. Insurance adjusters often feel that the Kelly Blue Book values are too high and aimed at the consumer market (classified ads) rather than the car dealer's market. Adjusters generally believe the NADA values are more accurate since it is more likely that a replacement vehicle with identical options would be found at a car dealership rather than through the classified ads. However, insurance adjusters don't account for dealer mark-ups that get tacked on to the trade-in-values taken from NADA. You can also search the Internet for a car dealer ad for a similar car and use the ad prices as an additional basis for your increased value argument. You also should insist that sales tax is added to the final valuation amount since this is a cost that you will have to bear when you purchase a replacement vehicle. Sometimes these valuation strategies are not enough and an attorney should intervene in order to cut or reverse the intimidation and games that some insurance adjusters play.

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