Accept Auto Insurance Settlement?

chisueOctober 30, 2012

The insurance company for the at-fault driver says they will pay $7,000 to repair the driver's side damage to our 2005 Jaguar X-Type (22K miles).

What value will the car have were we to trade it in -- before repairs; after repairs?

I am concerned that we would get back the low-mileage car that we've enjoyed, but that it will be worthless as a trade-in -- due to the history of the damage.

We've yet to get to the medical settlement. My DH had 'chest wall contusions' according to the ER doctor, and he is healing, but our lives have been turned upside down with insurance forms, towing, talking to doctors and the Jaguar dealer, claims, etc. -- plus the shock of the accident!

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jannie

Chisue, your insurance company should not be negotiating a deal with the other party. Your insurance should fix your car fully, with no cost to you except the contractually agreed-upon "deductible". Then they contact the other insurance company, get the police reports and decide on who's at fault and who should pay what. If I were you, I'd go to a Jaguar dealer (the one you bought your car from?) and get a (free) written estimate for them to make repairs. I know you're worn down by this process. As others have said, you should get an attorney to represent you in this matter. Good Luck! By the way, $7000 sounds low to me. I've never owned a Jaguar, but I and several family members have had car accidents, and repairs are very expensive. I'm also not an attorney or an insurance company employee. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 3:21PM
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chisue

Jannie -- You are so nice to be concerned.

We can either work with State Farm (our insurer) or the at-fault driver's insurance company Chubb Group. Our DS had the same situation last year when he was hit; State Farm told him to claim with the other driver's insurance, which was Geico.

Our little old Jaguar is the smallest model and is seven years old. Retail value is about $14K. It is the Jaguar dealership's body shop that is estimating the repairs. The dealership says they will make sure it is done right, that the alignment is right, that the air bags are operational.

I did call State Farm today to ask what the other driver was cited for; they don't know yet, but have requested that information.

It's a different procedure from our last accident, many years ago.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 3:58PM
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jonw9

I would work through my insurance company/agent. That is what you pay them for, no reason for you do do the legwork of contacting the other company. I doubt you would have no sway with Chubb.

Second, I would not sign off, or agree to anything without be cautious. With medical issues involved, I would not want to release any right for future assistance or claims based on a new door. Take your time, make sure you are covered. I know the desire to get things fixed fast is present, but don't jeopardize your future because of it.

I would get a couple of other estimates on the repairs as well. Make sure they are quoting OEM parts (which I think the dealership should) and not other market pieces.

Chances are being 7 years old, they will be junkyard parts.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:16AM
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emma

If you are right you need to stand up for yourselves.

We were involved in an accident that was caused by two other cars. The officers said we would have to pay for our own cars because on one saw who ran the light. One of the other drivers had the same insurance we had. We went to the claims dept of the other company and they said the same thing the officer did. My husband stood up and said we were sitting still at the intersection and if I have to I will sue you and my own insurance company, "I was not at fault here". The agent immediately wrote him out a check for the claim. Another time someone hit our old car which was just a drive to work car and their insurance company offered us a $100 and would take our car. My husband told them no, regardless of the book value it was a good car. They offered him more and let us keep our car. My husband fixed it himself with salvage yard parts.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:09PM
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vnw232

Your Jag will definitely be worth less at trade in than a similar Jag that was never damaged. If it were me I would have hired a good lawyer immediately. I used to work for a car insurance company and without legal help, they can walk all over you.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 6:32AM
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azzalea

As I said in a previous discussion--you need to be doing all this through your lawyer. Your car will be worth next to nothing as a trade--my neighbors had a very high end car that was t-boned. Although it was fixed beautifully, when they tried to trade it in not long after, they found that, because of the accident being on the car's record, no one would give them but a few hundred for it. Your LAWYER needs to be working on that for you, and should negociate something for the lack of value you'll be suffering.

It's WAY WAY too soon to be considering any kind of settlement for your husband's medicals--you don't know what kind of permanent damage he may have suffered yet. Your lawyer will know how long you have to settle this claim, and won't rush to do so--because you need to be SURE of your damages here, and they aren't always immediately evident when it comes to accident injuries

I know you said you don't have a lawyer--and you sounded as though you felt is was an expense you couldn't afford. Let me tell you--this is one of those situations where you can't afford NOT to have a lawyer. Aside from the fact that they deal with these things all the time, and know the ins and outs--thus getting you all of what you deserve--you just don't need to be worrying about all this right now.

Even if you don't think you need one--at least do this before making any decisions or signing any releases--okay? Just call one of the decent lawyers in your area that offers a free initial consultation and sit down with him. Just listen to what he/she has to say. Even if you decide NOT to engage their services, they're going to offer you good suggestions on handling this yourself. A half hour of your time--that's all it will cost you. And it's going to be a big help to you.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 9:18AM
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stoveguyy

U think ur car is worth 14k retail. If it was undamaged a private party sale might get u 14k. If u trade it in, u get less. Usually wholesale. And a dealer is going to say ur car is worthless due to accident. Too bad u can't demand an undamaged identical car in exchange. But even the new car is only worth wholesale as a trade in. Cars are worthless or worth very little to dealers. They get u coming and going.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 4:06PM
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chisue

Thank you all.

The firm that handled our wills, etc. is down to a very 'senior' partner and his daughter. The attorney who handled our house purchase has retired. I'm not sure the local 'RE and Wills' guys are what I need, anyway. I'm 'asking around'.

Meanwhile I am searching for *proof* (dollar amount) of diminished value on our damaged/repaired car. I see Carfax offers valuations on used cars. I suppose I could get a value on our car NOW -- presuming they don't know of the accident yet -- and get another post-repairs.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 6:20PM
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sushipup1

You can also hire a private insurance adjustor instead of an attorney. Someone who will work in your best interests.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 6:26PM
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chisue

Sushipup -- When I google "private/public claims adjuster" I do not find that they handle auto claims -- just large property damages. (Makes sense, if they're charging a percentage. Why mess with my little car claim?)

I'm ONLY considering what to do about the auto portion here, not medical. Medical can take two years before reaching settlement.

There must be a 'Zillow' value for used cars that have damage repaired. I just don't know where to find it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 10:28AM
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stoveguyy

Have the car fixed. None else can make u feel bad if u choose to ignore them. It's ur car. If u trade it or sell it and get less money due to accident repair than that's life. Do u feel u must sue ins co or someone to get compensated? We live in a sue happy world. Someone did us wrong. Gotta sue them.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:13AM
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chisue

cavell -- Before we were hit we had a car worth $14K.

As I understand it, the at-fault driver is responsible for making us 'whole'. IMO that means covering any financial loss we sustained in the accident -- including diminished value of our car.

They have insurance that will pay the repair costs. That's between the at-fault driver and their insurance company. Nice for them, but repairing our car doesn't restore us to the position of owning a $14K car -- to drive or to sell or trade in.

I'm just trying to discover what the value difference is between what we had and what the repaired car is worth. I think the at-fault driver is responsible for that difference.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:30PM
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sushipup1

I think that you will have to sue the at-fault driver in small claims court for anything above the actual repairs.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:32PM
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kirkhall

It doesn't sound like your car was totaled.

Why do you think it will affect your resale? In my state, only a salvage vehicle title will significantly affect resale.

If it is repaired/restored to same age/color of car as what you had, that is what you have.

Otherwise, sell your car to the at faulters for 14k as is.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 5:37PM
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emma

I don't think a car being wrecked is a disadvantage like it was years ago. We wrecked one of ours and the body shop did an excellent job, even made sure the air bags were still intact. We buy new cars and usually sold before they had 50,000 miles on them. That is what affected the resale value more than anything. No one ever asked if it had been wrecked. I go on line to the blue book site and fill out the questionnaire about the condition of the car. I used the result as a guideline in what to expect to get from the cars we traded in.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:57AM
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marie_ndcal

My only advice is to sign NOtHING, because of the possible medical problems. Some injuries don't show up for awhile. Has your DH followed up with medical? If not, please do and make sure the Dr. and your medical insurance knows it is a accident claim and that the other person is at fault and their insurance should be paying for all this, including the ER visit.
That is where your insurance and a lawyer helps out to make sure that future medical problems will be covered for a certain time--even up to 5 years or longer.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:36PM
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jakabedy

Yes, you are likely entitled to diminished value on your vehicle. The at-fault carrier may have a worksheet they use to determine that (based on some percentage permutation of age of the vehicle, unwrecked value of the vehicle and the costs of repair). You could consider getting the Jag dealer or another dealer to write up something for you as to the diminished value (but the carrier might say there is no way to determine this prior to seeing the quality of the repairs). As another has mentioned, car repairs now are typically of a very good quality, with more or less replacement of full components rather than lots of sheet metal work. So dimunition of value isn't as big of a deal as it was several years ago. It also comes into play in bigger numbers with much newer cars -- say, less than three years old.

Your state probably has a threshhold at which point vehicles are declared a total loss. Or it might hinge on how many body panels are affected, or if there is frame damage, etc. Are you wanting the vehicle to be totalled? If so, then start adding up the repair costs + the diminished value = the cost of the rental during repairs and see if that gets you to the % to have it totalled. Then the carrier can cash you out, tow your car off, and you can go out and buy something else.

In any state a carrier cannot hold up settlement of the property damage to get the bodily injury claim settled. And there is no problem with resolving the property damage claim first and then waiting to resolve the BI. Just make sure to read the release for the PD claim (if you're even asked to sign one) and make sure it is a release for the PD claims only.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 12:51PM
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