Non Fault Car Write Off- Know Your Rights And Get More Money!!!
Ill sub title important points with a summary as I go along.
1. You dont need to have collision to claim
For some reason, many think there car is a writeoff because they dont have collision. Understand this...as long as your not entirely at fault, you are still entitled to a return on your vehicle, collision or not. An example? My sons car just got totalled by a nice guy who bumped him from behind. My son never had collision coverage. You would be surprised at the amount he got at the end of the negotiation process with our Ins company.
2. Understand who the 'Total Loss Department' is.
They are specially trained people that are only there to pay out for total loss. Their job is simple and you need to understand this... they are there to save their company money, not give it out. You will be alot better equipped now when they give you that first call stating they are there for you first and that they feel terrible that someone did this to you. An example?? My companies first offer was very low; this after not calling me for a week and a half and then looking at my file for 10 minutes. They apparently thought I didnt know much about this process. Read on to see how I made out.
3. You have the right to request their vehicle evaluation of your car
Every company that has to settle a total loss claim has a specific method of coming to an amount. Most use something called an Autodex Report. This report is from a 'partial and biased' company that works directly for the insurance company. Understand first that you have a right to ask for a copy of this report. Secondly, understand that this report is created to benefit the Insurance company first. How so? On my report I discovered, first and foremost, that they used papers such as Buy and Sell and Triads for their sample cars. You need to understand that these papers are usually used by people who are not really looking for big things for their return. So....find your own similar examples and know what your cars worth.
In my report, there were 13 sample vehicles used to form the price base for my car. I telephoned all of them as their numbers are there. You would be surprised what I found out in these phone calls. Lets just say, examine the report carefully. Next, know all the fine points of your car. You get extra money for things such as new tires, new paint, anything recently installed, condition of all items etc. You need to fight for this for the most part An example?? They were giving me 50 bucks for the car stereo which was worth 1900 originally. I fought for much more and got it. Another??? They actually have a calculation for low mileage vehicles so ask what it is if your vehicle is low mileage.
4. The first offer is just that...AN OFFER
Why do people just say ok and settle for what they offer? You need to understand that their first offer is always a low ball; remember they are there to save the company money. Dont accept it. Arm yourself with knowledge. Go to autotrader, local papers, etc and find as many cars for sale similar to yours as possible. Get their average and then you will have an indication of what you should get. Start with that. Keep these as they will ask you to send them to them.
5. Be Polite but stand by your beliefs.
You will get frustrated when they wont budge and feel you have reached their limit so hold your own. Understand that this is their job whether we like it or not. Negotiate as far as you can and then, if your not happy (which you wont be if your smart) ask to move to the next step...this is when they will tell you to get an appraisal. You dont have to according to Sec 120 of the Ins Act. Explain to them that they are welcome to go to the appraisal stage from their end but you dont wish to pay money for something not your fault, especially when you have done your homework. If they dont want to get an appraisal from their end (which they wont because it costs them money), explain...in print...that your interested in exploring the next stage which is arbitration
6. Arbitration and Court Concerns
Once you bring up arbitration, they will immediately explain how you can bring it to court. You need to understand that this, again, is a tactic to get you to settle. Your right is arbitration which is their responsibility to initiate...not court. They dont like this because, similar to other companies, rulings through arbitration or court are public knowledge and can be used to the negative of the company. So, if your polite, you will know one thing...they will be just about as close to the top that they can offer if they agree to the arbitration stage. In my first total loss several years ago, we actually scheduled and agreed on an arbitrator... They settled with me a week before our hearing...funny eh???
7. Amount Agreed Upon/Want the vehicle?
Ok so...now you have agreed on a price with the insurance company and they are congratulating on being such an excellent negotiator and street wise consumer. What to do with the car? Believe it or not, you have first crack to buy it back. If you know a good body repairmen, this is where you may want to contact them. In most cases, the insurance company will give the car to you for an extremely cheap buy back, usually for the taxes they will be reimbursing you (gst) plus 5% (as it was in my case). Ask your repair guy what the best course is here...and make sure they dont brand it (label it as scrap with MTO) because thats a huge expense to unbrand.
8. Rental vehicles
If there is an insurance expert, Ide appreciate clarification but Ill explain my circumstance. You are entitled to a rental from the day of your collision until the first offer is made to you; this is what my ins person told me anyway. I disagreed and asked for their guidelines in print for this policy to which I never received them but got the car for 2 additional weeks anyway. Remember...politely stand up for yourself.
To close..... I hope this helps some out. I wont tell you the exact amounts but will say that the difference from the first offer to our final agreement was a 182% increase...yes it was tons...and I had a rental for just over 3 weeks.