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Market Value For Low Mileage Car

by Neil
(Los Angeles, CA)

I was rear-ended which damage my 1986 Toyota Cressida with only 37,400 miles on it and in mint condition.

The body shop estimate to fix the damage is $3,300.00. However their insurance company declare the car a total loss because the market value of the car is less than the cost to fix the car.

The settlement amount offer was for $1,800.00 base on the average of two quotes from two car dealers that did not have the type of car on their car lot. I went on the internet to see what a 1986 Toyota Cressida was retailing for.

I found two, one with low mileage $2,995.00 and the second was $2,495.00. I show the two cars for sale to the insurance company but they denied them because they were not in the same location area that I reside in. The insurance company says that I will need to show 3 quotes of the same year of the car and in the same area that I reside in. Given the year of the car that would be impossible.

Do you think I have a chance to win in small claims court to have the insurance paid the true market value of the car given the research I have done and show the documentation to the court?

What is the statute of limitation on a case of this nature?


Hello Neil,

Well, it’s interesting that the vehicles were not in the lot. Where are they now? If they cannot show you the cars, who do you really know that these vehicle really exist or they are within your local area?

Insurance companies sometimes do a substandard evaluation and try to force you to settle. You try to find the vehicle within your local market, but if you cannot find one, you might be able to argue the fair market value to a judge in small claims, see:

To check for the California statute of limitation on property damage claim, please consult with a local attorney or contact the department of insurance. We think the statute is 3 years, but we are not sure. Please double check.

You have the choice to force the insurance company to do an independent appraisal, please see:

I hope this helps,

Good Luck,

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