If you’re been hurt in a car wreck or trucking collision, you can probably use some help with trying to resolve the claim if your own car was totaled. Unlike your claims for personal injury, it’s often best if people handle their own property damage claims, since you can get the information you need much more quickly than a lawyer could. Still, we want to help if we can, so here are five tips to help you try to maximize your payment:

  1. You DON’T have to accept the first number the insurance company gives you: get your own numbers on value and negotiate;
  2. The insurance company does NOT have to replace your vehicle, but they do have to pay fair market value for it; still, for all vehicles, fair market value is a fluid number, so you have room to negotiate;
  3. If you recently had significant work done to the car (new paint, new tires, a major service job) or if you put on new equipment (stereo or speaker upgrades, better rims, etc), get the receipts for all of that, even if you did it yourself you can still get them to consider the parts you paid for;
  4. Go online to different websites and look for similar vehicles (usually called “comparables” or “comps”) to dispute the insurance company’s numbers; remember, the vehicle needs to be the same year, make, and model, with the same or similar miles and options, for the insurance company to seriously consider your arguments;
  5. Contact the dealer where you bought the vehicle or where you had it serviced: they may give you an estimate that’s higher than what the insurance company has;
  6. If you owe more than the vehicle is worth, and you don’t have gap insurance to make up the difference, contact the loan company and see if you can negotiate with them: a lot of what you owe is pure profit for them, and they may have room to work with you;

Reimbursement for a totaled vehicle is often the most disappointing part of a car wreck claim.  The best way to handle it though, is to get the best information you can and use it to your advantage if possible. The lawyers at the Miller Law Group have over 50 years of combined experience in fighting for people just like you.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

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