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Complaint 4 of 7 in "Car Totaled"

Insurance Carrier: Metlife
State: Vermont

Consumer Complaint:

Wanted to total the car after the parts were ordered by third party adjuster. The damage caused by the accident (the uninsured driver) was is $3800!! Won't fix car, trying to screw me. Metlife is my insurance; the other driver had no insurance(after a week of lying to the police). Then all hell broke lose. My insurance tried to pull a fast one by totaling the vehicle (using their own third party adjuster) and trying to get me to give them permission to send it to a salvage yard. The car is now in my yard because they sent me a letter telling me to either total it (and except their petty offer) and have THEM remove it or I would have to remove it myself by today or face storage fee's! (AAA Plus) deliver the car to my home. Now, Metlife has NO right to devalue (nickel and dime) the car for other damages. MetLife is suppose to protect their polices holders from uninsured drivers.

Insurance Expert Answer:

Is MetLife YOUR collision carrier or the other driver's liability carrier? It often makes a major difference!

The problem is that while we may love a car, with a car worth less than $5,000 the cost of repairs and parts likely exceeds fair market value. If they total it, they charge you the deductible and take title and sell the body for salvage/parts. Very often paying you fair market value costs less than repair costs.

If a car is to be totaled the company can give you a choice of taking fair market value less the deductible and it taking the car OR you keeping the car and paying you FMV less the deductible and salvage value and you then fix it.

Under such circumstances I'd call the VP for claims at Met's Warwick RI auto headquarters and see if there is something doable. But that's the choice. No company need spend more that a car is worth to fix it. Getting full fair value less salvage may be smart and you fix what you want. There are typically provisions in a policy to in essence arbitrate fair market value of a car.