My Car Is Totaled – What Can I Do If the Insurance Company Won’t Pay What It’s Worth?

If you disagree with what the Insurance Company offers you for your car after it is deemed a “total loss”, you can do several things.

First, you can ask them for their written appraisal and what source they used for value. They must provide you with a written report of how they arrived at their figures and they typically must be based upon an approved guide source method (such as Kelly Blue Book or NADA) as set forth in your state’s Insurance Regulations.

In Pennsylvania, for example, you can look on the NADA listing for your make, model, mileage and condition. You can also look for several “like kind” vehicles listed for sale in your area. If so, you can submit those prices to the Insurance Company to try to negotiate the price. You will have to provide written proof of those other sources. It would be enough to simply tell the adjuster an amount that you saw.

There are certain laws that could allow you to have a cause of action, for example, Consumer Protection laws. Pennsylvania has the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law that protects purchasers of insurance from unfair or deceptive practices. You could check with your state’s Insurance Commissioner for more information about the laws that apply for you.

If they still won’t pay what you believe to be a fair price, then you may want to contact a lawyer. It is important to keep in mind that you do not have to simply accept their offer as the only amount they are required to pay.

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