Never allow your vehicle to be moved from a repair shop until you have received a written offer and you agree with that offer. When a car is released, the insurance company can easily take their sweet time as it costs them nothing.
You are owed the retail value based on your auto’s condition before the accident, plus tax and the unused registration fees.
If you are trying to find the value of your car, we recommend everyone search for local dealerships within a 50-mile radius. Then, choose 3 to 5 vehicles in the same condition with the same options and mileage. You need to adjust the price if the distance is more significant or the state is worse than yours. Make sure to screenshot what you find and mail any links you see so you have documented proof. Large trusted Dealerships are usually better, but you should also be able to use ads from Facebook marketing, craigslist, and low-end car lots.
If you have invoices for any repairs or services you have done, then those might be added to the value.
You also want them to provide you with the printed comps they used to create the value they offer. Beware, they are only going to show the lowest costs.
If you have rental coverage, you should still have coverage to give you time to find another auto. If you are a claimant, they should allow you an additional 10 to 14 days to find a replacement vehicle.
Usually, after they give you a written offer, it is not considered unreasonable to provide three days to review it and compare what they offer with what you can find.
Please don’t fall for the scare tactics that our total loss charges will come from your settlement or our fees are not reasonable. The new storage laws are for tow yards as they are in the storage business and not body shops. Body shops are in the repair business; Tow yards are in the towing and storage business. As long as you are not dragging your feet or being unreasonable in what you expect, they can’t justify putting the charges on you.
When customers do not fall for the adjuster’s misleading word tracks, they receive no less than 10% more, often 30% more, on their settlement than what was offered just a couple of months ago. One customer doubled their 1st offer because they did not release their vehicle to their insurance company before reaching an agreement.
During the settlement, we warn customers not to expect to pay for the total loss charges as part of the agreement, as we do not waive the fees or want your vehicle in exchange.
If you decide to retain/buy back your vehicle, we suggest getting everything in writing, including the option to repurchase it before you agree to release it. Then, you can repurchase it. That way, they can’t try to take our fees from your settlement illegally.
If you decide to have your vehicle repaired, you must sign a new repair authorization for repair.
In California, it is illegal to abandon a vehicle.
We advise all customers to seek legal counsel for automotive claims due to insurance practices. The Dent Devils Inc. and its staff do not give legal advice but suggestions based on our experience, research, and talking to the California Department of Insurance and California Bureau of Automotive Repair.