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Value of totaled car

by Joe Ryan
(St. Augustine, Fl)

my insurance (State farm) has offered to settle for $5750,less $250 for existing damage,on a 1999 Camery wit 115k miiles. They got this number from the nada book I have been looking for a week and can not find any a car like mine for less than $1500 more and that was with 126k miles.

Do I have to take their offer or is their a recourse?


No way! If you have a "comp" that is within your area (not more than 30 to 50 miles out) and is similar condition to your car, then that is a the value of your car.

If there are not comps on the area at all, then a blue book value or a NADA value could be a "guide", nothing more. You can also request an independent appraisal but only do that if you think your car is still worth more money.

If you have a comp, then you have better evidence against them than they have against you. Tell them that then need to come up with local values. That is what the Fair Market Value of the car is.

You are never bound by what they tell you your car is worth. It's a negotiation based on comps. You have the better one on this one.

Is there recourse? other than negotiating with them, there is court. The Florida Limit for Small Claims Court is $5,000. You can also go to superior court, but in that case you need an attorney. Most attorney do not like to take total losses.

Stick to your comps and try to find more. They could do an independent appraisal but it cost them money (the reason why they do not offer you that option). The appraisal could back fire on you if it comes for less than the value they offered you.

Good Luck,


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Nov 05, 2007
The Paper
by: Hector

The best comps are similar vehicles in your local newspaper. Go back a couple of weeks. If they are from private parties that is optimal.

You can look at dealerships but only if the price is higher than you would like to objectively get for your car.

Insurance companies will argue that the dealership price reflects and implied "profit margin" to the dealership owner. They will not pay for this "profit margin".

You can still argue that this is a better comp than NADA and BLUE Book values. Call the Toyota Used Lot and see if they can help you find a car. Just tell you want to buy one. Those guys know how to find cars if they exists.

Good Luck,


Nov 05, 2007
by: joe ryan

How do I find comps? Thanks.

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