Automotive

What should I do when my insurance company steals my vehicle?

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 28th, 2019 9:44 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2012
1977 posts
799 upvotes
Hamilton, Ontario

What should I do when my insurance company steals my vehicle?

I own a 2010 Tacoma. It was in an accident and declared a total loss.

The closest matching vehicle was $18999. The black book value report I ran was $19453. There offer was $15000. They shared an accessment. Basically my truck is a unicorn. Almost only in Canada is selling a 2010 with such low milage. So there compared different vehicles apply an adjustment and take the average. The closest match they had on the list had 4 time the milage, and was adjusted by $40 before including in the average.

I hired my own adjuster but they use the same formula. So I agreed to accept the offer provided I could swap out my new tires and battery.

In any case the agreement I had is I would release the vehicle today, so they could pick it up on Friday.

My wife searched frantically for cheap rims, so we could swap the tires while waiting for the insurance check...

We arrived today with the tires and battery to swap, the ownership and key to put in the glovebox. Our truck was gone. Apparently the insurance company took the vehicle complete with my license plate without my release.

As far as I am concerned this is grand theft auto. But I do not know if I should report it to the police.

Our claim adjuster is still trying see what she can do. She agreed the truck should be returned so we can swap things out, but the insurance company seems to be looking for someone to blame and pay for it.

So should I report to the Police Pen Bridge (Allstate) stolid my vehicle? I still have ownership, keys, and written confirmation they had no authority to take it. The check for the claim has not arrived by mail.

Or should I be patient and wait for them to make arrangements?
22 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
2463 posts
1372 upvotes
Where was the vehicle being stored?
Banned
Dec 14, 2017
719 posts
1759 upvotes
Give them hell. Insurance is already a scam.
Deal Addict
Jul 22, 2019
1422 posts
1551 upvotes
burnt69 wrote: Where was the vehicle being stored?
The place where it's being stored and someone at the insurance company probably has something to do with this. Was the insruance company The Personal? Friend had horrible story from them and a mechanic who were in on some scams.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2012
1977 posts
799 upvotes
Hamilton, Ontario
burnt69 wrote: Where was the vehicle being stored?
CarStar in Stoneycreek.

They tell us there policy is once the insurance company pays them they allow the vehicle to be taken. Tow truck drivers don’t look in the vehicle for the signed ownership or keys. They don’t care if the license plates are still on.

The company the took the car said we could drive two and a half hours one way for one and and a half hour appointment window arranged through the insurance company during the 9-5 hour working day, and they would swap the tires for a fee they would charge to the insurance company.

My wife and I already took today off work to go to carstar to do the swap. Driving 5 hours round trip and taking another day out off of work is out of the question.

The plates in the other hand will be mailed, and sweet the fact I will need to buy another set of plates while waiting...

So far it seems like a none offer.

The worst part is we are not sure the tires are worth recovery. The first tow truck driver pulled the car without allowing us to take it out of park... it was a very short distance and we did not see tire damage when inspecting it later. But only when we take the tires off can we do the complete inspection.

The part about swapping the battery was only agreed verbally, not in the written email. So it seems if we drive to London we won’t be allowed to swap the battery. Again we don’t really know if the battery is worth swapping. Casual inspection did not reveal damage, but when we pull it out we may well discover damage that was not obvious on visual inspection.
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2009
4006 posts
3036 upvotes
GTA
Unless it was a total wreck, your car will be rebuilt and back on the road in no time. Those people are not stupid, highly desirable cars, are allocated before insurance pays out. I wonder how much was your buyout option, on top of the payout. Yes, you always have an option to repurchase the wreck from insurance, they just deduct the amount from your final check. Some cars go as low as $500.
Deal Addict
Sep 8, 2017
4184 posts
4314 upvotes
GTA
Tommy74 wrote: Yes, you always have an option to repurchase the wreck from insurance, they just deduct the amount from your final check.
Intact does not allow this. I was in a similar situation myself last year.
Sr. Member
Aug 8, 2005
546 posts
172 upvotes
Toronto
Ask the insurance company to reimburse you for the value of four used wheels and tires, and a used battery

They won’t give you full price you paid but it will save you lots of hassle

Unless these were some kind of rare wheel, I’d give them values of the items and accept maybe 75% of the new price of these items.

For example cost of used rims + 75% of cost of new set of tires + 75% of a cost of a new battery.

Other than that you’re going through lots of hassle for few $

Either they remove your items and ship to you, or they pay a reasonable cost. Give them the choice. Just be reasonable as they won’t pay full value — unless maybe you can show receipts that the tires were a week old or something.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1328 posts
1022 upvotes
HAMILTON
This is the problem that you run into when you start to fiddle around and want the tires and batteries and the whatever.

What are you going to use the tires and battery for ???? Sell them and get a few $$ or hope they fit on another vehicle.

You have already lost 2 days from work ( wife and yours ) and now are expected to take off another day to get the tires\battery which is more money out of pocket. This money is essentially coming our of your settlement.

You waited to the very last minute to do the change and it blew up in your face. Note that you were looking for " cheap rims ".

Press your broker for some resolution that does not involve you doing any more work. Resolution could be partial payout, having tires switched etc or whatever.

If you can't resolve, sue or do whatever but it is a learning experience that when a car is written off, let it go without wanting parts back.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2012
1977 posts
799 upvotes
Hamilton, Ontario
WIth insurance companies reasonable doesn’t dome into the picture. If it did I wouldn’t be down $7k for essentially purchasing the same vehicle with worse tires.

I am 90% certain they would prorate the tires as if I drove 50K per year, and somehow I will end up owing them money. There latest gambit is I can take the tires, but not swap rims. And possibly Carstar doesn’t have the equipment to do that, so I am SOL.

So my wife has called this bluff and said she’ll do just that. It doesn’t take special tools to change tires. Just to rotate and balance. And the original agreement is we were changing them ourselves. This turnabout on the rims is just another way to try and bluff us.

I almost fell for send the tire receipt and get paid instead. But then I realized they will prorate like tire insurance based on bogus milage estimates.

At this point I am feeling spiteful enough I would want them to see them tow the vehicle back and just leave the tires. But that will pass. In the end I would be just as happy if the send ups to pick up the tires we were going to put on and drop off ours.

Interesting enough I called the police to ask if I should report the car stolen. The police tell me as soon as the car is declared total loss they consider it the property of the insurance company.

However, the insurance company is pushing really hard to get the keys and ownership paper. Leaving me to think it is not quite so clear cut.

While I hate spending money on a lawyer, it seems like it may be time to get a professional on my side.

BHA1 wrote: Ask the insurance company to reimburse you for the value of four used wheels and tires, and a used battery

They won’t give you full price you paid but it will save you lots of hassle

Unless these were some kind of rare wheel, I’d give them values of the items and accept maybe 75% of the new price of these items.

For example cost of used rims + 75% of cost of new set of tires + 75% of a cost of a new battery.

Other than that you’re going through lots of hassle for few $

Either they remove your items and ship to you, or they pay a reasonable cost. Give them the choice. Just be reasonable as they won’t pay full value — unless maybe you can show receipts that the tires were a week old or something.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1328 posts
1022 upvotes
HAMILTON
I would be quite entertaining if rather than put up with a bunch of nonsense....... they said, ok, your truck is in " here " so come and pick it up.

You haven't signed the release so it is your truck and they could just say let's start to negotiate again at which time you may find there is a price differential in offers saying they had been too generous in the original offer.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 12, 2007
4685 posts
811 upvotes
Waterloo
facebook259 wrote: WIth insurance companies reasonable doesn’t dome into the picture. If it did I wouldn’t be down $7k for essentially purchasing the same vehicle with worse tires.

I am 90% certain they would prorate the tires as if I drove 50K per year, and somehow I will end up owing them money. There latest gambit is I can take the tires, but not swap rims. And possibly Carstar doesn’t have the equipment to do that, so I am SOL.

So my wife has called this bluff and said she’ll do just that. It doesn’t take special tools to change tires. Just to rotate and balance. And the original agreement is we were changing them ourselves. This turnabout on the rims is just another way to try and bluff us.

I almost fell for send the tire receipt and get paid instead. But then I realized they will prorate like tire insurance based on bogus milage estimates.

At this point I am feeling spiteful enough I would want them to see them tow the vehicle back and just leave the tires. But that will pass. In the end I would be just as happy if the send ups to pick up the tires we were going to put on and drop off ours.

Interesting enough I called the police to ask if I should report the car stolen. The police tell me as soon as the car is declared total loss they consider it the property of the insurance company.

However, the insurance company is pushing really hard to get the keys and ownership paper. Leaving me to think it is not quite so clear cut.

While I hate spending money on a lawyer, it seems like it may be time to get a professional on my side.
Call your adjuster and ask what value is it to buy back the truck. Then get it fixed and drive it to ground or ship it to MExico after repair.
----
Pay it forward.
Banned
Mar 11, 2016
2081 posts
867 upvotes
i would not hand over the keys and ownership nor sign anything until the tires and rims were waiting for me at the Carstar shop AND if I had one comparible and black book value high as you say I would have said fix it...or piss off...how much mileage was on it and what model? I have a 2017 TRD Off road at 9 yrs old will only have about 70k on it....hope this never happens to me
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2012
1977 posts
799 upvotes
Hamilton, Ontario
I turned over negotiations to my wife. I am under doctors orders to avoid stress and not to make any important decisions. My wife has power of attorney, so I should just back and let her handle this.

She already got us an almost brand new set of winter tires for $250, and she is convinced she can get the all seasons for summer for less. So even if she just throws up her hands and surrenders to the insurance company it won’t be as bad as paying retail again.

But likely she will just be patient and hold the keys and ownership until they make good. She thinks they have already disassembled the truck and they are just bluffing to avoid admitting it.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2012
1977 posts
799 upvotes
Hamilton, Ontario
The truck was a 2010 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab SR5 4x2 with 96,000 km.

That is a uniforn, as most sold were the 2 doors &/or 4x4 v6. Each served a different niche and the original list prices were very close to the same. The problem is people with the 4x2 simply don’t sell them until they have 200,000 to 400,000 km. So the acessmemy consisted of the 4x4 models minus a big adjustment and two 4x2 with obscene milage and virtually no adjustment. Those prices are then averaged for the false conclusion the 4x2 access cabs are worth $5000 less.

I tried an my own adjuster, but they use the same formula. So it the formulas are rigged so you will never get a fair replacement value in Ontario. My wife found 3 vehicles in Ontario actually were actually a close match. The one for $19000 had pot rust, bad tires, but otherwise comparable. We didn’t drive to see the one for $18999. The third for $20000 was actually even lower milage. Almost perfect, except the weather worn tires...

In the end after repair the values of our Toyota would have been $15k. As just having been in an accident drops the value of the vehicle. So while I wasn’t happy I decided to accept it. But I mentioned the tires when I sent the $19k vehicle link, so the claims adjuster had sweetened the offer to include us being able to swap the wheels... The exact wording is we could swap the wheels so long as there 4 full size wheels, not donuts.

Now they have changed that to just swapping the tires. But frankly I don’t really care. As the rims my wife picked up for the swap are just as good. It is just an additional hurdle to try and get us to give up...

Of course they want the receipts for the tires. Which is of course in the glove box of the truck the stole.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 5, 2016
5294 posts
3770 upvotes
Calgary/Vancouver
IMO, based on my observations on Tacoma's as I was looking at one before, the 4x2 usually command a lot less value than 4x4 due to people wanting to "offroad" them and have more demand. 4x2 is definitely a niche vehicle and be a lot harder to sell, hence the lower price. Toyota even knows this as the only 4x2 you can get is the base access cab now. Seems like you got fair value.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2012
1977 posts
799 upvotes
Hamilton, Ontario
BeaverLiquor wrote: MSRP for a 4x4 vs 4x2 access cab was closer to $7,000+ so a $5,000 adjustment is a benefit for you.

Plus this one is only selling for $17,000 https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/kit ... nFlag=true

Take your $15,000 (+ taxes?) and run.
ARV is suppose to be actual replacement value. Not trade in, or some other fictional number. So by your own example it should by $17.000.

Actually that example was one of the three I mentioned. That is the one with the pot rust marks, and bald tires. When we drove up the wanted $18,999. But it seems they have dropped the price. Not surprising, because despite the low milage it is not in very good shape. At that time they hadn’t done the safety test. Besides new tires I am not sure what else it needs. They were agreeable to paying for anything needed to pass the safety test. They were not agreeable to making passing the compression test a condition on the sale. That and the trailer hitch is a red flag the previous owner had used the truck for towing. Not a great idea for a 4x2. But a compression test would have told us right away if that was a real concern.
Last edited by facebook259 on Oct 20th, 2019 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2012
1977 posts
799 upvotes
Hamilton, Ontario
bomber17 wrote: IMO, based on my observations on Tacoma's as I was looking at one before, the 4x2 usually command a lot less value than 4x4 due to people wanting to "offroad" them and have more demand. 4x2 is definitely a niche vehicle and be a lot harder to sell, hence the lower price. Toyota even knows this as the only 4x2 you can get is the base access cab now. Seems like you got fair value.
We can agree to disagree. According to the appraisers it is the double cab vs access cab that makes a big difference. According to the blacklist report I ran it is milage.

Someone who wants a 4x2 will not buy a 4x4 even at a significant discount and via versa. You get the 4x4 for towing and off-road use. You get the 4x2 for better economy. Both work fine for everyday tasks like carting stuff to donate, making a run for the recycling. Many times even the dealership called and practically beg to buy ours from us at well above normal trade in.

Likewise someone who wamts an access cab will not buy a double cab. For a double cab you either have a larger vehicle to park, or a greatly reduced truck bed. Someone who wants the double cab will probably not buy an access cab, as they probably need leg room in the back.

These are all apple to orange comparisons.

I would not to buy a second hand truck that was used for either towing or off roadimg It is not our usage profile, but I have had to scrap a vehicle a family member borrowed and destroyed by towing too much... I would not want someone else’s problems.

It is a lot like the Toyota Prius Prime, in that Toyota makes very few of those. Not because of low demand. We had to wait one month just to test drive one and it is 3 months to order one. Demand well exceeds production. The 4x2 is another case we’re demand well exceeds demand. Even in 2010 we had to go on a waiting list to buy one.

Sadly, the vehicle we just purchase, the rav4 hybrid to replace outlet aging van will also go on that unicorn list. But as a new vehicle it will have gap insurance, so it will be awhile before we are at risk for this again.

Our dealer mentioned he losses sales because Toyota no longer makes anything but the 4x2 base. There are still many people who want to buy don’t want a v6 4x4. Usually the lunch end up looking on auto trader.

By 2022 to 3024 all Toyota vehicles will be hybrid AWD. But that does not help those in the market for new truck today. But you can bet when there is a hybrid Tacoma the used 4x2’s will take a nose dive, and then maybe they’ll be appraised accurately.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2012
1977 posts
799 upvotes
Hamilton, Ontario
Well still no tires, no plates, no compensation. No claim check. Not a thing.

If the check actually arrives someday, I will probably just take it. If not I will have to contact an attorney.

Bummer about the tires. But really it is not worth the hassle. If they actually want the keys and ownership I have leverage. But it seems like they really could care less.

Perhaps I can report them for insurance fraud if the check doesn’t arrive soon. It should have arrive a week ago.

Top