After you engage in a car collision, your insurer or that of the other party who is responsible for causing the accident will either pay to have your vehicle repaired or provide you with a check to cover the cost of what your vehicle is worth if it is deemed a total loss. When a car is considered to be a total loss, it means the cost of repairs exceeds what your vehicle is valued at prior to the wreck. Now, in the event your vehicle is considered a total loss, you may be wondering how the insurer determines what it is worth.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the insurer will use the book value of your vehicle to determine how much they write you a check for. But what if the amount your vehicle is estimated to be worth isn’t accurate? What if your vehicle is worth more? In the event you were involved in an auto accident recently in Cleveland, OH and this has become a concern of yours as the check you received seems far lower than what you believed your vehicle to be worth, here’s what you can do.
If you believe that your settlement offer is too low, you can submit evidence to the insurer that proves this. Some examples of evidence that will help prove your vehicle is “worth more than a typical car of its make and model” include:
- Mileage records. Mileage plays a big role in determining what a vehicle is worth. Therefore, if your vehicle’s mileage is much lower than the average mileage for a vehicle that was manufactured in the same year, your insurer might take this into consideration as it shows your vehicle wasn’t used nearly as much as the other vehicles they are comparing it to.
- Service history. Vehicles that are taken in for service regularly tend to last longer and run better than those that are neglected. With that said, if you can prove that you always brought your vehicle in for routine maintenance and had all issues resolved, your insurer may be inclined to raise your settlement check a bit.
- Affidavits from the mechanic. Aside from showing proof from a mechanic that you had your vehicle serviced, you can also have those you brought your vehicle to write an affidavit that explains why your vehicle is, in fact, worth more than what the book value claims its valued at.
- Receipts showing what types of modifications were made to the vehicle. Perhaps you installed a security system or a safety device that helps prevent an accident. Although insurers may not find this as a viable ground for increasing your settlement, it’s worth a try. However, some things insurer’s likely won’t consider include custom paint jobs, upgrades to the interior, or other modifications that were made to change the appearance of the vehicle.
Now, something we encourage you to keep in mind is that just because you provide your insurer with one or more of the following forms of evidence doesn’t mean they are going to budge on their settlement offer. You have to understand that insurers are businesses and look to make a profit. That means they don’t want to spend more than necessary. With that said, if you feel your settlement offer for your totaled vehicle is much lower than what you are willing to accept, then consider contacting a Cleveland, OH accident attorney.
Sometimes, you need a lawyer to step in and speak on your behalf to get the reaction you want from an insurer. Therefore, if you would like to speak with an accident lawyer in Cleveland, OH who is located nearby to you, contact Bilfield & Associates, LLC at 216-696-5297.
Bilfield & Associates, LLC is located at:
6300 Rockside Road, Suite 204
Independence, OH 44131