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Auto Insurance Complaints

Complaint 5 of 20 in "Fault and No-Fault Issues"

Insurance Carrier: Geico / Allstate
State: Illinois

Consumer Complaint:

My car was totalled due to the other car involved in accident. The other driver's car insurance company refuses to pay the amount my car was worth.

Insurance Expert Answer:

If there was any meaningful personal injury -- with real medical or hospital costs, real loss of work or absence from school, loss of more than minimal wages (and NOT to repair the car), inability to do normal activities of daily living, scarring or lasting or serious pain, see an auto accident lawyer -- our affiliate is a great place to find one.

The claim for property damage to your car is usually the tiny part of the total claim so don't let it be the small tail that wags the big dog. If you have collision insurance we would urge you to let your insurance company, which owes you a duty of good faith, to handle it. Sure, you'll initially have to bear the deductible, but you'll eventually get it back in full or large part when your company goes after the other driver's company. Without collision you have to negotiate with the other carrier or sue the driver who hit you.

If you sue you'd first have to prove that the other driver was fully at fault, and you are not at fault. If you were partially at fault the % of damages you can recover is reduced proportionally in most states. (In several states ANY fault on your part means you're totally out of luck.) Then you have to prove "damages" -- the value before and after the accident and/or the cost to repair the car.

Sometimes that requires a qualified expert or a paid repair bill. (State laws and local court procedures vary.) Hopefully this will tell you how to negotiate: Get several estimates to repair the car. Share them with the carrier. If they have a repair shop with a decent reputation that will repair it for less, seriously consider that approach. Unless your car is very new or a classic high-value car, getting hung up insisting on "genuine original manufacturer parts" rather than the equivalent in aftermarket parts, is one sure way to come to a stalemate, requiring you to expend far more emotional energy and time than it is worth to sue.