Independent Insurance Company

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Independent Insurance Company

I was involved in an accident, the person who as fault was on comany time using a company vehicle. The adjuster has contacted me and gave an offer for my damaged vehicle and stated that the car tays in my possesion regardless because they are a small independent insurance company and do not retain the vehicle. They are minusing $900.00 due to salvage bids? They state it is my responsibility to take it to a salvage yard to recoop the $900.00. Is this right?

Asked on May 7, 2009 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Let's separate this out. Did you sustain any meaningful personal injury -- such that it required medical attention or loss of work or scarring or loss of function? If so, that's far more significant than the value of the car, which would be very secondary, so don't let the small tail (the car) wag the possibly big dog. If there is injury, speak with a lawyer ASAP.

Second if the car is totalled, you are entitled to its fair market value (FMV) at time of loss. Folks can argue over FMV in many circumstances and as your carrier owes you a duty of good faith, if you have collision coverage you'd likely be best off letting your carrier handle the claim, pay you FMV less the deductible, and then it would go after the responsible driver's insurance company (here his employer's carrier). It would get the deductible back and reimburse you in whole or large part.

Third, at the request of the driver many insurance companies would be willing to pay the FMV less salvage value when the owner wants to keep the car and try to fix it herself, but I confess I have not dealt with any insurance company that told the victim of the accident "here's the FMV less salvage" against the victim's will, and then the victim has to sell the car for salvage to get the balance of the FMV. The insurer is in a far better position to sell the car for salvage than the victim; it may be a small company but you are a smaller consumer.


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