Automotive

Non Fault Car Write Off- Know Your Rights And Get More Money!!!

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  • Sep 28th, 2018 3:49 pm
[OP]
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Jul 11, 2006
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Non Fault Car Write Off- Know Your Rights And Get More Money!!!

Im writing this to assist others in understanding the negotiation process should someone total your car and its not your fault. Ive been involved in this process twice and have assisted 3 others to save what amounts to well over 35000 now.

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.
380 replies
[OP]
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Jul 11, 2006
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Two writeoffs in 26 years of driving....the first my wife was t-boned and the second my son was rear ended... My records clean and, in fact, if you check my previous traffic related posts you just might guess what I do (lol)

Bad driver...no I just dont think so. Educated maybe and wanting NOT to see the ins companies make money of those not at fault.
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Jan 5, 2004
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Toronto
I'm a little confused on the buyback part.

So your car is determined to be "written off", I mean damage should be severe to a point it'll never to repaired back to tip-top shape, right? If so, why would you want to buy it back and pay the money to fix it up? :?:

I'm also confused at point #1, for not having the collision coverage, doesn't that ALWAYS mean if you're not at fault, insurance will pay for repairs anyway? (I kind of fail to understand that point)
[OP]
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Jul 11, 2006
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Technically the no fault clause is a misunderstood clause by most. To you, it really means you cannot sue other parties unless very strict conditions are presented. To your insurance company, it means they will pay your repairs or total loss rather than the other company when it comes down to money. For example... In a normal ins system, if someone rear ended you, the other company would be on the hook for the repaire (I believe). Under this system, even if the other party is at fault, your ins company will pay he repairs or total loss. This actually saves the companies money believe it or not and does not affect your coverage as you are not at fault.

To be clear, if you get a car and do NOT buy collision coverage, you will not get money back or repairs if you are determined to be at fault. If its not your fault however, your insurance company still repairs or reimburses you for your loss as you werent at fault.

With regards to write off and buy back, the insurance company will only write your vehicle off if its money saving for them. Only if there is structural damage (frame etc) will they brand it as a total loss. It is entirely possible, depending on mileage, condition and year of vehicle that you may benefit from the purchase of your cost after they have written it off and paid you for it....simply because the buyback cost of the damaged vehicle may be so cheap.

Its technically mathematics so lets look at it that way. Your car is written off and the damage repair is 10000 as estimated. They determine your car to be worth about 10000 so they offer you 4000, because most people would just say ok and accept it. They just saved themselves money. So, lets say you bargain your way up to an agreed return of 10000 plus gst = 10700. Now, depending how good of a negotiator you are you may be able to buy the car back (which they will ask you if you want to) for the tax plus 5-10% or 12-1700 bucks. Lets say you buy the car back for 1200 bucks and get an estimate for repair of 7000 from a reasonable shop (not a designated dealership such as ford/GM) So... 10700-8200= 2500 profit to you after your car is repaired and on the road fixed again. You just did good. Even if you buy it back at the high end of gst/10% you just made a profit of 1800bucks.

Be careful though. This is only a good system if your car is not branded by the ins company. If it is, its a complicated process having it repaired and then inspected and revin'd as a repaired and now unbranded vehicle.

Hope this helps

PS... I understand that what I am explaining is correct; I have the meat of everything as it comes through my own investigating and experience. I think, for us all, additional assistance from an insurance professional would be a welcome inclusion in this thread just as confirmation or 'fine tuning' of what is correct and proper.
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Oct 25, 2003
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thephenom wrote:
Apr 11th, 2007 11:47 pm
I'm a little confused on the buyback part.

So your car is determined to be "written off", I mean damage should be severe to a point it'll never to repaired back to tip-top shape, right? If so, why would you want to buy it back and pay the money to fix it up? :?:

I'm also confused at point #1, for not having the collision coverage, doesn't that ALWAYS mean if you're not at fault, insurance will pay for repairs anyway? (I kind of fail to understand that point)
Because estimated repairs are at dealer prices. Not always is a write-off more than the value of the car. Say I had a 1992 Caddy that was rear ended. No frame damage or anything, but new parts would be hard to come by and if they did, they'd be expensive! You could buy back the car and throw parts from the junkyard and extend it's life! Right?
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Jan 5, 2004
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B0000rt wrote:
Apr 12th, 2007 12:08 am
Because estimated repairs are at dealer prices. Not always is a write-off more than the value of the car. Say I had a 1992 Caddy that was rear ended. No frame damage or anything, but new parts would be hard to come by and if they did, they'd be expensive! You could buy back the car and throw parts from the junkyard and extend it's life! Right?
Ah ok....but the last time I got quotes directly from repair shop, and not the dealers. :?:

So really, the buyback is only worth it if you don't mind spending the time to fix it up, AND if the car is worth fixing up. Even if you make that $2500 (as stated example before), it's going to take some time to fix up the car and extra cost for rental.
[OP]
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Jul 11, 2006
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Thats where you are the smart consumer. Know where to take your car in the first place (dealership for your specific model car) and then realize what you can do for repair after the fact.

If you consider the reality of this, you can still get the replacement parts cheaper from a junkyard than they can even thought their quotes will be for non oem and possibly even rebuilt/refurbished parts.

FURTHER.... and yes. It will take additional time for you to get the car repaired (although anyone can get any car fixed in 7 days or less really) and a few days rental if you need it. Its all a calculated process that you must consider when you see the damage to your car. Sometimes you can do great and sometimes (as in a car that will be branded by the ins coy) its just better not to consider this.
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Jul 30, 2005
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GREAT POST....thnx a bunch for the efforts you took to enlighten so many of us...
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Sep 19, 2004
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I suppose At-Fault accidents are somewhat similiar?

For example, the write-off car value . I got $14500 1st offer from StateFarm for my 99 Accord V6, researched a bit on AutoTrader, and ended up getting $15500 (I did ask for more, as we just put on new tires, and they said no. I had a full tank of gas too)
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[OP]
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Jul 11, 2006
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If you would have asked for the Autodex Report from Statefarm, you could have walked through each thing with the, to which tires are one of the increases they can add.

I found this very helpful because you can walk through each thing they grade your car on and agree or disagree. The negotiation process is such that they will throw in a few extras for you but not all...

and At Fault accidents are similar if you have collision coverage and your accident report does not have the box 'alcohol related' tick'd off.

Its our lack of knowledge that costs us in the end for the most part; for example did you know... Driver A rear ends driver B. Driver b is not at fault. neither has any collision coverage. Driver B is still entitled to repair/replacement for their damages because they are not at fault.

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