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My van was stolen, recovered, and totaled | Help!

by Debra

my van got stolen and it has been at the shop for 2 weeks well today they find out that the motor was bad so they totaled it!well the insurance adjuster said that we would get check for 2,400.00 but the van we paid for was 4,000.00 they said because the motor was blown!how could that be our fault?

The van was perfectly running so now we have to pay the car lot for the van which is 2,100.00 so that leaves us with no money to get another car!shouldn't they give us what we paid for the car?


Hello Debra:

I am very sorry about this situation. Unfortunately the answer is no! They do not have to pay you what you paid for the car. They have to pay you the FAIR MARKET VALUE of your car, which depending on how it is calculated, it can be less than what you paid.

Some people really get the short end of the stick when they owe more on the loan than the fair market value. They have to continue making payments on a car that is totaled. The insurance company does not have more responsibility after the fair market value is determine.

There are however ways you can document, argue, and dispute a total loss to increase the Fair Market Value. A good outline of the total loss process is found here:

There are ways to get them to pay more. It is all up to how much you really want to fight them, which can be somewhat of a problem (no time, need a car, etc). Just make sure they are paying you a fair value (might be more than they are giving you, but less than what you paid). Only doing some research will tell.

Good Luck,

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