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Total Loss Settlement Tips

1. Release your vehicle to the insurance company immediately their request. This simple step will save you a lot of money in storage charges. If the insurance company is storing the vehicle, there are normally no charges, but if you leave the vehicle at a shop or tow yard, you will be responsible for the storage charges and they will be subtracted from your settlement. Many people have concerns over this, but don't worry, you are the owner of the vehicle, and the company can't do anything to it except hold it until your property claim is resolved.

2. Request documentation on the calculated value of your vehicle. This will be one of a few different things, depending on the company. Most companies use either "CCC" or "ADP" to evaluate the market value of your vehicle. If the company doesn't use one of these programs, then they will most likely utilize N.A.D.A. split value as a starting point for your vehicle's value. Remember, no matter what the initial offer is, you can negotiate it.

3. Don't get upset! After the insurance company has made an offer on your vehicle, they have the right to terminate rental. If you were in a rental car, the company will most likely advise you to turn it in, and that they will pay no more rental (regardless of whether their offer is fair).

4. Inquire about loss of use in lieu of rental. Essentially, loss of use is a cash out option in lieu of rental car expenses. Sometimes, you can get both rental and loss of use.

5. Ask about diminution of value. Depending on the State where your claim occurred, and whether your claim is a "First Party" or "Third Party" claim (see definition page), you may be entitled to a cash settlement for the actual or inherent loss of value in your vehicle due to it being involved in a crash.

6. Ask about registration fees. You paid for your vehicle to be registered, so is there still time left on your sticker? Ask the insurance company to reimburse you for the unused portion of your registration. Also, ask them to pay for title transfer fees and applicable taxes if they don't offer them up. Many companies will wait to see if you ask instead of paying what they owe.

7. Negotiate the salvage value. If you want to keep your vehicle, then the insurance company will estimate how much it would have brought at a salvage auction and reduce your claim by that amount. Essentially, there is a material damage specialist that is "guessing" about how much your wrecked vehicle will bring at auction. Call them out on the salvage value and request that they provide you with a salvage bid from a reputable auction/salvage company, or at least require that they provide documentation on how they arrived at the salvage value (should consist of a list of similarly wrecked vehicles and the price for which they sold at auction, then negotiate for the lowest amount).

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