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Complaint 10 of 24 in "Offering Too Little Money"

Insurance Carrier: US Agencies
State: Louisiana

Consumer Complaint:

US AGENCIES, sent me a check, for $1,200.00, without me agreeing to a settlement. They have decided to settle it themselves, it seems. So, they decided to declare my truck, a total loss, and want to tow it away, without my consent. So I am going to return their check to them. Sent them the damage estimate, which ran nearly $3,000.00. I think this is a dirty underhanded deal by U.S. AGENCIES. Are they allowed to settle without my consent?

Insurance Expert Answer:

If US Agencies is the other driver's carrier, you're in a negotiation situation. To collect from the other driver or his carrier you'd have to prove he is at fault and demonstrate the damage. The maximum recovery you could get is the value pre-crash. Totaling the car is essentially selling it to the insurance company -- they pay you and get the car. (They then sell it to a scrap or salvage dealer.) If the truck was worth about $2,000 and it would cost $3,000 to fix it, it would be irrational to fix it. So it's totaled, and they pay fair market value ("FMV"). Folks always argue over FMV but depending on state rules basically it is the established price (often what a dealer would pay for it -- sometimes blue book or yellow book price for a used vehicle of the same year, make, model, mileage, equipment, locaton, etc.). When the cost to repair the truck approaches the pre-crash value (or almost does) the only offer you'll get is to total it. You could sue the other driver and try to get more, but that's a hassle. And you may not be able to prove the value.