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Insurance trying to total what is not a total loss?

by Tony

I am confused because I was in an accident where I was not at fault and now the insurer of the woman who hit me is trying to declare my car a total loss. After the accident, I brought the car to the autobody shop suggested by her insurance company. It has been weeks now and they have been going back and forth on whether to total the car.

I have an older car but its value is pretty high still ($5,200) because it is in great condition. The insurance company recently called me and told me that they valued the car at $5,200 but the repairs will cost $5,700 so they are totaling my car. I was confused because the mechanic (their mechanic) had quoted me much less. So I spoke with the mechanic and he noted that he quoted fixing the car at $3,100.

My question is whether the insurer can come up with his own arbitrary number for fixing my car. Please help me. They have given me 2 days to accept the loss settlement and they told me that they will no longer pay for a rental and the storage at the garage. Is this something they can do legally? If so, why and how did they come to such a high amount if the garage is quoting so much less?

I understand that they may be paying out more, but my issue is that I don't want my car to be totaled or marked with a salvaged title if possible. I would like it repaired. I don't understand why this wouldn't be the insurers first choice since fixing it is more cost effective for them.


Well, the insurance company has the decision on whether a car is a total loss or not. They will also take into account your rental expenses. If the car was to get fixed, and they would have to provide you with a rental for say 2 weeks, the rental expenses might add $400 to $800.

They can add that to the value of fixing the car. I am not sure that the rental expense would get the repairs from $3,100 to $5,700. Something is missing. You do nee to ask for the final repair bills

Also, make sure that they are suing a good value for your car, they might be looking at a value of $3,000. It is important to you talk to the adjuster and ask them what is the threshold they use to declare a total loss, This is really important. They might declare a total loss when the repair estimate reaches 70%, or 80% or even 90% (changes from state to state and insurance carrier to insurance carrier).

The only solution you have is to look at the estimate and see if you can have them fix it for less. If you can get the $3,100 amount to something lower, there is a chance that the vehicle could be fixed.

The other solution is to make a claim against your own insurance company and make it clear that you would not like the vehicle totaled (you can only do this if you carry collision coverage).

Legally, you cannot really force them not to total the car, but you can show them that economically speaking, it is better to fix than to total.

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