Andrew Kryder, Chicago car accident attorney and the founding partner of The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers, has extensive experience handling car accident cases and is a skilled negotiator with car insurance companies. Recognizing the need for guidance for people dealing with car accidents that do not involve any injuries, he has designed a comprehensive video series titled, Car Accident Property Damage: How-to Guide.
In this Article
Find Out How to Handle Your Property Damage Claim on Your Own
The purpose of this guide is to equip you with practical knowledge and strategies to maximize the auto insurance settlement you receive following an accident, effectively navigating the post-accident recovery process with the car insurance company.
You’ve come to rely on Andy’s clear explanations as he leads you through the complexities of independently filing an insurance claim to recover your car accident property losses.
In this segment of the guide, Andy shares ways you can negotiate with a claims adjuster to pay fair market value and even to get a higher insurance payout and for your totaled car.
The Auto Insurance Company and Your Totaled Car
Andy begins, “Let’s assume that the auto insurance company has ruled your car a total loss. Let’s talk about what they’re going to do next.”
“They’re going to start looking at the make, model, and condition of your car to come up with a value.”
“It’s almost like buying a house: you’ll look in the same neighborhood to see what comps there are and that’s how you come up with a fair market value.”
“Well, the insurance company’s going to do the same thing with your car.” He continues, “They’re going to look in about a 15-mile radius around you to see if there’s other cars—same make, model, year, mileage—that are for sale and try to use those comps to come up with a value for your car.”
Other Factors to Gain a Higher Value for Your Totaled Car
“So like anything,” Andy advises, “if you can document your claim and be a good advocate, you might be able to increase [the car’s value]”.
“Be an advocate.”
Tell the car insurance adjusters about your vehicle’s features.
Show them more evidence using repair shop records proving it was well-maintained.
Take photos—if you have one before the accident—to show the car insurance adjuster what good condition it was in.
Provide documentation if you have new parts—they might also increase the value of your car.
“But you want to look for these things and argue that your car’s actual cash is worth more [than comparable vehicles].”
Negotiating for a Higher Payout
“Over the years,” Andy concludes, “I’ve found whatever [an insurance carrier offers you on a totaled vehicle], there’s a little bit of variance there. It may not be a lot, but it might be as much as 10%. That can end up being a lot of money if you’re a good advocate for your property damage claim and you push the insurance company’s offer up to the upper edge of its authority on the value of your car.”
Be an Advocate for Your Claim
In summary, it’s critical to actively research and advocate for your car’s value compared with similar vehicles when negotiating a total loss claim with an insurance company.
Highlight your vehicle’s features, its well-maintained condition, and any new parts—like new tires—to argue for a higher settlement. A well-documented claim could increase your fair settlement amount.