How do you negotiate with insurance companies after an accident?
July 5, 2008 2:31 PM   Subscribe

How do we navigate auto insurance negotiation post accident? My partner was involved in a major auto accident this past week. We're now trying to figure out all the insurance craziness.

Looks like all the other AskMeFi questions are dealing with someone else's insurance company and we're only dealing with hers. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

On Monday she was driven off the road on I-91 near Holyoke MA. The other driver did not stop and no one has come forward with his/her license plate details, etc. There were witnesses and the police report indicates she was not at fault. She is lucky to be alive and is thanking her lucky stars that her 15 year old Audi took the bullet for her.

The car is totaled (we're pretty sure, as are all parties who have seen it thus far) and we're just waiting to hear from the insurance company. How can she best navigate this situation to get the most from her insurance company to replace the car?

The car was a 93 Audi 90s with about 108k miles on it. She was paying for full coverage. She maintained it well and had recently put in about $1600 worth of work into it.

We've been told that she can negotiate with the insurance company. We've also been told that they are likely to offer her considerably less than the NADA book value, but she should push back on them saying that's the guide to go by.

Is there an insurance adjuster in the house? Any tips, suggestions or insider information to make this as non-excruciating as possible?
posted by FlamingBore to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
BTW -- in addition to the NADA Book value, be sure to check out the Kelley Blue Book value to see if there is any discrepancy. I plugged in Holyoke's zip code (01040) for the make, model and year. If Holyoke is where the car was registered/garaged, you can change it.

Check out the pricing model for the car here.

Remember it's a negotiation. Having service records in addition to a break-down of the recent $1,600 repair/upkeep might help you to argue that the automobile was in good/great condition before the accident.
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on July 5, 2008

*If Holyoke is where the car was not registered/garaged...*
posted by ericb at 3:39 PM on July 5, 2008

I am not a claims adjuster so I am not sure how the vehicle is going to be payed for. I have no idea who your partner's insurance company is so I am not sure what the policy is on how they calculate the Actual Cash Value of your vehicle. MA in particular is a quirky state when it comes to auto insurance. I recommend doing research about and making phone calls to your state insurance commission regarding the totaled car. Do not accept or reject anything from the insurance company until you are clear on how they are doing business.

One thing I would like to stress is the status of the accident. The fact that your partner was not in a collision with another vehicle and instead drove herself off the road would lead some insurance companies to construe that as an At-Fault Accident. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is true. I would carefully go over the police report to make sure it says not at fault. Make sure the insurance company has it filed as not at fault. She should keep tabs on what information the DMV has on her, as most insurance companies adjust their rates according to what the DMV has on record. Lastly insurance companies also pull driver history info from a third party company called ChoicePoint which runs a database called C.L.U.E. Make sure this is also accurate.

Good Luck.
posted by Brandon1600 at 3:57 PM on July 5, 2008

I am not an insurance adjuster, but I asked one about your question.

Apparently there is a service that will take all the 15 year old Audis for sale in the area and averages the price for the insurance company. This will influence what they offer your partner for the loss of her car. She can try to bargain this up by saying it was well maintained, had power windows and locks, etc.

If she has car rental, sometimes the insurance company will drive the settlement price down by stalling counteroffers- if you will have to pay for the rental out of pocket, getting that better price may not be worth it.
posted by Monday at 6:10 AM on July 7, 2008

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