Q Tips – Substantial Property Damage

Q-Tips from Leonard A. McCue
Q Tips - Substantial Property Damage

When there has been substantial damage to a fairly new car I am often told by the client they do not want the car back. They want the insurance company to total the car (do not repair the car, just pay the current value). The insurance company will not total the car unless the cost of repair exceeds 80% of the value of the car. In many cases, the repair cost may be borderline, and the question is how can you get the insurance company to total the car? When the car is totaled, you will not be getting the full value of the car you purchased. You will be getting much less. If there has been a trade in or substantial down payment, you may lose a large portion of it.

Remember then, if the car is totaled, you will only receive the value of the car as its sits today. You can get an idea of your car’s value by checking the Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com).The insurance company will deduct any wear and tear, and prior damage, so you may end up in a situation where the loss to you may be substantial.

If there has been substantial damage (but the auto is not totaled) to your auto, and it is at a dealership, then you might ask the sales manager to take your car in trade on another car and offer to give them the insurance check for the damages to the automobile. When the dealership gives you an estimate to repair the car, they are giving you a price based on their cost at retail rates. They may be willing to take your damaged car, because the dealer's cost of repair will be less. It may be to the dealer's benefit, and yours, to trade the damaged car, give the dealer the insurance proceeds, and get a new car.

Get rid of a car that has incurred substantial damage ($5,000 to $6,000 repair costs)! Trust me, no matter how well the car is repaired, you will never be happy with it. Everything that goes wrong with the car will always be thought to be caused by the accident, even if it is not true.

Please note: The law constantly changes, and you can't be 100% confident in the information provided above,
but feel free to call our offices with any questions: 1-800-332-1992.