Complaint 5 of 7 in “Car Totaled”

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  • Insurance Carrier: State Farm
  • State: HI

Consumer Complaint:

My 1993 toyota with cap and rack was deemed totalled and not my fault. The person at
fault’s insurance said they’d give me $2,100 then $2,500 for it. when I researched for
comparable in my area I found 88 and 89 toyota pickups going for $4500/4600
with out cap/ rack and called the manufacturer of my cap for estimate and he
said $1275 bringing my worth to $5700/$5800.

They want to take $878 for salvage fee., which i believe is more than the
usual 10-15% standard fee. I really just want my truck repaired to where is was
before their driver hit my vehicle… Are they acting in bad faith by not giving me
what I should recieve? and they are threatening to take away my rental car
which I believe they should pay for until my trcuk is fixed. this accident occured
10 days ago. this vehicle is all I have and to replace it is impossible with what
they are offering.

Insurance Expert Answer:

It sounds as if they are offering too little, but you have a problem.

The concept of bad faith generally applies to an insurance company's dealings with its own insureds, not with 3rd party claims. (I am NOT a Hawaii attorney so I do not know Hawaii's laws and decisions on this.) You are a 3rd party claimant. You are viewed as the enemy to the other carrier. I assume you do not have collision as that would mean you'd be dealing with your carrier and it would be far fairer.

You can of course sue the other driver, and perhaps the dollars involved fit within the small claims court limits. That may get them to up their low-ball offer. But insurance companies are never worried about property damage cases; the maximum damage is usually pretty low, the difference between offer and asked is usually modest (in terms of most court cases), and judges don't get too exercised about them. If you get the car repaired and bring in the paid bill to trial, you'd generally collect the cost of repairs if you can prove fault. If the car is not repaired you'd need an \"expert\" to testify to value and repair costs at trial.

If there was any personal injury, that would be a horse of a different color, as then there is something to lose for the carrier. Usually the personal injury becomes the major item, if you had a lawyer.

One approach would be to go to a lawyer and get some advice. Another would be to go to a public adjuster. The third is to sue.

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