Some accidents cause such severe damage to your car that repair shops cannot fix it for a reasonable price. In these situations, the insurance company considers your vehicle totaled and may offer you funds for a replacement.
However, many drivers in Arizona find these settlement offers too low to buy a new vehicle. Can you negotiate with the insurance company if your vehicle is deemed a total loss in this situation?
You can attempt to negotiate on your own or work with a car accident lawyer. Find out more about negotiation strategies with our team at Zanes Law. Call us or fill out our online contact form to get started.
Can You Negotiate with Insurance Adjusters?
Some drivers in Arizona worry that they must take the first offer made by insurance companies after a severe collision. However, the truth is that you often have a chance to negotiate if you feel the offer does not cover all your losses.
Remember that insurance agents often have years of experience denying and minimizing claims. These representatives primarily focus on protecting the bottom line of their company.
You can get experienced help on your side during the negotiation process by reaching out to a car accident lawyer in Arizona. Lawyers understand how to negotiate with insurance agents if your vehicle is deemed a total loss.
For a free legal consultation, call 866-499-8989
Why Do Insurance Companies Deem Vehicles a Total Loss?
When considering if you can negotiate with the insurance company if they deem your vehicle a total loss, it’s essential to understand what “total loss” means. Insurance companies call vehicles a total loss if they believe it isn’t worth it to repair the car.
A.R.S. §28-2091(T)(4). 28-2091 details the rules regarding total loss in Arizona. According to our state, insurance agents can consider a vehicle a total loss if the actual cash value of the vehicle is less than or equal to the costs to repair the car plus the salvage value.
The actual cash value of your car is how much it was worth before the accident. Salvage value refers to the car’s value after the damage.
How Do Insurance Agents Value Your Totaled Vehicle?
Many drivers expect insurance companies to provide enough funds for them to purchase a new vehicle after a total loss. However, the insurance adjuster may send you a very low initial settlement offer, depending on your policy type.
Your insurance policy may offer you compensation for:
Fair Market Value
Many insurance companies in Arizona have policies that offer you fair market value after a total loss. These businesses evaluate the value of your vehicle through different evaluation methods. Some of them simply consult Kelly Blue Book, for example.
They look at facts about your car when determining the value, including:
When companies use this model, you may receive a low initial settlement offer, especially if your car has a low market value.
Other insurance companies make settlement offers based on the replacement value of your vehicle. In this case, they estimate how much it costs to buy a replacement car that resembles your old vehicle.
A car accident lawyer in Arizona can help you review your insurance policy after a collision. Insurance agents may make a low offer if they use fair market value or the replacement value for a settlement.
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How Do You Negotiate with Car Insurance Adjusters About Total Loss?
Can you negotiate with insurance agents if your vehicle is deemed a total loss? In many cases, you have a chance to negotiate for a higher settlement. However, insurance agents do not change their decisions just because you think your vehicle has a higher value.
You may have to provide evidence to support your request for a higher settlement after totaling your vehicle. Working with a car accident lawyer in Arizona can get professional help with this process.
Lawyers may focus on demonstrating the increased value of your vehicle by providing proof that you upgraded the car. Receipts for upgrades can help build your claim. You may want to show evidence that you:
- Recently painted your vehicle
- Added a spoiler, new tires, or an aftermarket sound system
- Put a remote started in your vehicle
Extensive upgrades could increase the value of your car in a total loss situation.
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Do You Have to Settle with the Insurance Company for a Totaled Vehicle?
Many drivers end up settling with insurance agents after a period of negotiations following an accident. However, you may find that the insurance company refuses to adequately cover your losses following a significant collision.
In this situation, an Arizona car accident lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit to cover your losses. A lawsuit allows you to seek damages from the driver who totaled your vehicle if they caused the collision through an act of negligence.
Can You Get Other Damages After a Car Accident?
You may consider seeking compensation for your totaled vehicle a priority after an accident in Arizona. However, you may also secure other damages in some situations.
For example, the insurance company may cover your medical expenses, lost wages at work, pain, and suffering following a collision. The insurance company may include these forms of compensation in your settlement offer.
Speak to Us About Negotiating with Insurance Agents for a Totaled Vehicle
Can you negotiate with insurance agents if your vehicle is deemed a total loss? In many cases, yes, you can negotiate before accepting a settlement. You can secure additional help by working with a car accident lawyer from Zanes Law.
Discuss all your available options by calling us or filling out our online contact form.