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Complaint 2 of 7 in "Car Totaled"

Insurance Carrier: Carolina Casualty
State: Georgia

Consumer Complaint:

The insurance totaled my 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier. I was in a car accident on July 25, 2008. I check the website and NADA estimates the value of the car to be $4275.00. I had just put a new set of tires worth $360+ on the car in April. The car had never been in the shop for mechanical repairs. It had 111624 miles on it and in exceptionally good condition. I had the oil changed faithfully. The accident was their client's fault. They have offered me $4,000.00. I have requested $4,597.00 ($4,275.00 NADA value, $299.00 for Georgia sales tax and $23.00 for tag). They will not meet my offer. My car was paid. I drive my cars a long time so I always take care of them.


Insurance Expert Answer:

Yours is the best offer I have seen in years -- within 5% or so of NADA -- but if you don't like it you always can sue the driver that hit you and try to get more. I doubt you will. They will explain that the reason they are paying top dollar is that the car was in excellent condition and thus that factored into price. And if you have collision coverage, dealing with your own collision carrier (which is usually what we advise -- you'd eventually get the deductible back when your company would recover) is unlikely to have you fare any better.

Similar thing happened to me years ago during the last great gas crisis -- my new Cougar burned up -- with 4 brand new Michelins plus a full tank of gas -- which was as hard to get as hen's teeth in the old days of alternate fill ups.

FIRST, if there was ANY real personal injury (medical bills and loss of wages and/or scars, loss of function, etc.) STOP trying to handle it yourself and see a lawyer -- the collision claim should NOT be the tail that wags the potentially more significant personal injury claim, and you'll have to sign a general release for everything when they pay you. They are not obligated to pay more because you have new tires -- cars are expected to have tires -- but you might be able to remove them (if they are any still good) if you replace them with crappy tires. (My tires were burned.) They won't pay sales tax. If you sold the car -- which is what you are doing, in essence -- the buyer, not the seller pays that tax. Ditto for tags. They will take title to the car.