Got into a minor accident with my truck and insurance says it’s a total loss. (1 Viewer)

Slashzero

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Good afternoon,

Saturday morning an old Mercedes (from 2000) crashed into my truck. The collision was his driver’s bumper side to my diver’s side bumper.

Overall the damage doesn’t look terrible. I had it at my local mechanic and an appraiser from the insurance company looked at it today and said: “too old, I can’t find parts, total loss”.

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The front driver’s side bumper, fender, and wheel took the hit. The wheel is now slanted out, top side, and the alignment is off, but it is still drivable.

My mechanic said his only concern would be if the frame was bent, which he hasn’t been able to check, yet.

Honestly other than the alignment it drives and sounds fine.

I’m in MA. My mechanic said the appraiser said it’s a total loss, and I had an option to “buy the vehicle back” if I want to have it repaired. He also told my mechanic he would have it towed from the garage to store at their facility. What kind of bull s*** is this?

Help!

Meanwhile here I am thinking this could be a great opportunity to upgrade my bumpers (front and rear)!

UPDATE: Added more photos, here:
 
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suprarx7nut

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That's crazy talk. This is all about the value of the vehicle, IMO. I bet they're putting the value REAL low. If they say it's a $3000 car, that's easy to total. If it's a $12k car, that's hard to total over "I can't find parts right now, so total it".

Start with the value of the vehicle. What year/mileage are we talking here?

Then figure out exactly what needs to be replaced/repaired. That looks rather minor. New bumper, new fender, new under-headlight trim thing, I'm sure some other hardware under the skin and a control arm or two. Frame damage would shock me.

Tell the appraiser you're shocked they're talking about totaling and you think a mistake was made and that you're seeing the vehicle worth at least $XYZ. Go from there.

Remember, insurance adjusters/appraisers are not there to get you the most $$ they can. They're there to get your claimed closed as quickly as possible and payout as little as possible. You're their customer and, unfortunately, somewhat of their adversary. Time is on your side. Take it slow.
 
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How many miles. Living in the northeast, is the frame rusty? Seems like it would be not to difficult to put back together. I would fight the insurance company to pay out to repair if it is a solid, decent mile truck. If it is typical of northeast trucks, might be a good opportunity to have them fund the search for a better one?
 
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100% what @suprarx7nut is saying, them saying that's totaled is shocking to me (I'm in MA too). I'd ask what value their assigning to it and, assuming it's very low, prove your point with previous sales from here and elsewhere proving a number above what they're telling you.
 

Slashzero

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Start with the value of the vehicle. What year/mileage are we talking here?

2003, with 206,000 miles. I refuse to believe there is any frame damage. Runs and sounds like new. Probably has another 100k on the engine alone.

Kelly Blue Book estimates the private party sale value at $10k -14k.
 
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Slashzero

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How many miles. Living in the northeast, is the frame rusty? Seems like it would be not to difficult to put back together. I would fight the insurance company to pay out to repair if it is a solid, decent mile truck. If it is typical of northeast trucks, might be a good opportunity to have them fund the search for a better one?

This truck is solid, even though I’m in the Northeast. There is surface rust here and there, but no major rust issues. Not even the door wells have rust.

I’ve had several mechanics offer to buy it from me on more than one occasion. It’s truly in good shape.
 

Slashzero

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As a data point my 99 was underpriced at $13k with 285k miles. That appraiser is wrong, imo. And probably hoping you'll just accept it.

I haven’t even spoken to the appraiser. He left me a voicemail from an unknown number (can’t call him back,) which said “it’s a total loss, I’m going go file the paperwork, bye, someone will call you”
 

MongooseGA

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Tell him to do his job better. It's your property, you decide what happens with it. If you don't want it totaled, tell them that, then you can negotiate what happens with it. Yeah it's their dime paying for repair, but they can't do a damn thing without your approval.
 
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Just as a situational comparison, my 2000 with 230k was hit in the rear a few years ago. Other guys insurance looked at it and wrote me a 4500 check to replace the upper hatch (tire carrier flexed and dented the upper hatch) and replace the a/m rear bumper.

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That seems hasty/lazy from the appraiser, I don't think the damage is that bad. That's why I have one of my 100s insured for "stated value", which was a PITA to produce documentation for but I wanted to be protected since that's the one I drive the most and on long distances and on sketchy country roads.
 

MongooseGA

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Considering this was another driver's error, it should be much easier than negotiating with your own provider. "My vehicle was in pristine condition until your customer destroyed my property. It's not my problem to worry about how much it costs to fix, I want my vehicle and you have a responsibility to give my vehicle back in the condition it was in before your customer destroyed it. If you're unwilling to make that happen then I will be happy to contact a local attorney to guide me on the rest of the process."

That seems hasty/lazy from the appraiser, I don't think the damage is that bad. That's why I have one of my 100s insured for "stated value", which was a PITA to produce documentation for but I wanted to be protected since that's the one I drive the most and on long distances and on sketchy country roads.

Who's your provider? I'd love a stated value policy but my provider doesn't offer them. I've got $40K in receipts I could submit in a matter of minutes to start a policy.
 

MJK

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Is this on your insurance company, or that of the other person in the accident?

Either way, I would be much more proactive about this. If you don't, you'll get steamrolled in the name of 'shareholder value' - aka screwing over those with claims. There is no way that 2003 is not worth the better part of $15k, and fixing it should be entirely possible without a branded title.

I vote you drive it to a good shop, who will tell you what it needs to fix it. Then call up the relevant insurance company armed with that quote and comps that prove your vehicle's value. They are obligated to fix or replace. Don't accept s***ty valuations, branded titles or otherwise being screwed. You want to be professional, firm, armed with data, and seen as trying to find a reasonable solution. Hopefully, this will do the trick.

If the other person's insurance company is being firmly unreasonable, bring in yours to help negotiate on your behalf. If yours is not being reasonable, bring in a lawyer and switch to someone better when this is all over.
 
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suprarx7nut

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Considering this was another driver's error, it should be much easier than negotiating with your own provider. "My vehicle was in pristine condition until your customer destroyed my property. It's not my problem to worry about how much it costs to fix, I want my vehicle and you have a responsibility to give my vehicle back in the condition it was in before your customer destroyed it. If you're unwilling to make that happen then I will be happy to contact a local attorney to guide me on the rest of the process."



Who's your provider? I'd love a stated value policy but my provider doesn't offer them. I've got $40K in receipts I could submit in a matter of minutes to start a policy.
Another option is to let your own insurance handle it. We did this with geico a while back and it was awesome. Wife was in accident, obviously other party's fault. Their insurance claimed their client was innocent and it was the other 4 cars they hit that caused the accident. It was infuriating. Geico said we could pay our deductible and let them handle it. That's what we did. Got payment immediately, and then got out deductible back in a week or so one geico settled it with the other insurance. It was seem less.

Your own insurance agent should go to bat for you. Not the appraiser, but your agent.
 

Slashzero

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Considering this was another driver's error, it should be much easier than negotiating with your own provider. "My vehicle was in pristine condition until your customer destroyed my property. It's not my problem to worry about how much it costs to fix, I want my vehicle and you have a responsibility to give my vehicle back in the condition it was in before your customer destroyed it. If you're unwilling to make that happen then I will be happy to contact a local attorney to guide me on the rest of the process."



Who's your provider? I'd love a stated value policy but my provider doesn't offer them. I've got $40K in receipts I could submit in a matter of minutes to start a policy.

Plymouth Rock, although I’m seriously considering switching, now.
 

Slashzero

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I would ignore the appraiser and go straight back to the insurance company and demand reopening the conversation. Threaten lawyer if you have to.

Done. I told them I will not accept the total loss on the vehicle. They are “still waiting for the paperwork from the appraiser”. I’ve also told them I am not satisfied with the work the adjuster did and the fact he just declared it a total loss based on the fact his “system couldn’t find any parts”.

I will have to wait until they get back to me with the actual paper work. I get the impression this is going to drag out for a long time, but it will be worth it to get my truck back.
 

MongooseGA

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Done. I told them I will not accept the total loss on the vehicle. They are “still waiting for the paperwork from the appraiser”. I’ve also told them I am not satisfied with the work the adjuster did and the fact he just declared it a total loss based on the fact his “system couldn’t find any parts”.

I will have to wait until they get back to me with the actual paper work. I get the impression this is going to drag out for a long time, but it will be worth it to get my truck back.

It can be a huge pain, but if you're like me, getting what you want out of the negotiation is fun and rewarding. Sometimes I need something to rage against, and lately it's been a bunch of stuff like this or even smaller. Little wins are still wins ;)

I'd throw the appraiser under the bus- dude didn't inspect anything, did no research, put in no effort, didn't bother contacting me to see what I as the owner of the vehicle may have wanted to have happen, didn't ask any questions of me pertaining to the condition of the vehicle (before your customer destroyed it***), etc.
 

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