Tips For Negotiating A Total Loss Car Accident

If you totaled your car then here are some helpful tips to negotiate the Actual Cash Value of your vehicle.

Actual Cash Value vs Replacement Cost

The actual cash value is usually not going to be what it costs to replace a car. So maybe you had a major accident and the car is totaled, the price tag to buy a new car will always be more than what your totaled car was worth at the time of the accident.

Instead of choosing the actual cash value option on a policy if the policy has that endorsement, choose coverage that provides for replacement value. This is why it is important for you to read your paperwork and do your homework when purchasing a policy. When the policy comes in there are explanations of extras you can buy like Replacement Cost but there is a price and many people are not willing to pay it.

For future reference replacement cost in many cases, not only is payment provided to purchase a new car, but additional expenses like sales tax,
title and transfer fees may also be included, although you may have to ask for these expenses to be included or covered. Replacement value car insurance is certainly much more expensive than accepting actual cash value coverage. However, for many people, the added premium is well worth it when they consider the expense of replacing their vehicle.

the Actual Cash Value Determined?

One of the ways the value of an asset is determined is to calculate or decide what the replacement cost of a car would be, then deduct an appropriate amount for the age and wear of the car. By definition in court cases, the replacement cost is described as “the entire cost of complete repair or replacement of an asset–taking no deductions for depreciation.”

This indicates clearly that the replacement cost is higher than Actual Cash Value. So the replacement cost is calculated, then deductions are made to arrive at the actual cash value of an asset such as a car.

Sometimes this definition favors the insured, and sometimes the insurer. For example, imagine a car with an estimated value of $14,000 is destroyed in a tornado. The insurer has defined the actual cash value as the cost of replacing the car minus deductions for age.

Replacing the car often costs more than the car it is worth at the time, particularly if it had high mileage or a great deal of wear.
The cost of new cars goes up over the years, and cars always depreciate over time.

If the replacement cost is higher than the car is worth on the market–say it costs $23,000 to replace with a brand new car, then the insurer
ends up with a higher settlement using the replacement cost method to determine actual cash value.

Tips To Negotiate the Actual Cash Value of Your Car

These are some tips for helping Policy Owners to figure out how to use knowledge of the system for a reasonable offer from an insurer.

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  1. Figure out how your insurer defines actual cash value. Part of the problem in negotiating a good actual cash value for a vehicle is that each insurer uses their own proprietary methods to get what they give you as ACV. In order to provide your own counter-estimate, you’ll want to know as much as possible about how they came to their figures.
  2. Use online car valuation sites to get a good actual cash value estimate.Online car value sites provide solid, well defined, and commonly recognized value estimates for nearly any vehicle on the American roadway. Take a look at sites like the Kelley Blue Book company site to get what many would consider a fair resale price for your vehicle.
  3. Look for local examples in classifieds or elsewhere. Another way to provide solid valuation evidence is to look for ongoing deals from local dealerships for used cars similar to yours. You can use the sale prices offered by the dealerships as an indication of actual cash value for your vehicle.
  4. Include information on features and other value conditions. Low mileage, excellent interior and exterior condition, and handy features should be pointed out to your insurer as “value points.” Make sure they know about features that you have added to your vehicle after purchase, such as enhanced sound systems, that may add value.
  5. Stay involved. Negotiating actual cash value, just like a lot of other insurance documentation, is mostly just the process of communicating and staying in touch with the insurer to eventually wrangle out a deal. Those who give up easy will find themselves settling for the lowest possible value and partial payouts from insurers who are slow to comply with their responsibilities in the event of a claim.
  6. Find out about actual cash value. The term itself just refers to how much a vehicle is worth in sale, but it’s the way actual cash value is used that leads to some problems with negotiating a fair deal when you need to collect from an Auto Insurance Company after a total loss.

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