Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 27, 2013

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Insurance Question from Sun Valley, ID

Asked on 01/27/2013

2006 BMW x5 just declared totalled due to alleged engine freeze from oil pan leak 2006. x5 silver titanium BMW (Iam the only owner purchased new) meticulously taken cre of. 72,000 miles. Slid off icy road into a claps able road sign into a snow bank. Car towed to BMW dealer 150 miles, inspected by insurance adjuster, 2 weeks later they declared it a total and said they would pay 17,300 for the car.Kelly blue book estimated the value as 24,500. Adjuster said the would sell the car for "scrap" 5,000. New engine aprox. 15,000. Bumper damage at 3,500.Question: numbers don't add up and I (think) I just want the car repaired. Do I have a choise?

Answer given on November 26, 2013

If a car is considered a total loss by the insurance company the Kelly Blue Book is one tool used to determine its value. The insurance company can also use other books and local ads. The offer from the insurance company will include the deductible you have for collision coverage. If you feel the offer is too low, you must prove the value of your car by using similar sources. Records of the maintenance of the car can also help in increasing the value of your car. You can also argue the fact that the overall value of the car is higher in an attempt to have them repair the car rather than call it a total loss.You can also buy back the car for the salvage value given by the insurance company and then repair the car yourself. The title will be adjusted to show it is a salvage vehicle, but you should be able to continue insurance on it. However, the overall value of the car will be reduced since it is a salvaged vehicle.


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