Q: How do you deal with an insurance adjuster who is low-balling his estimate of the value of your car?
My son was just involved in a collision that totaled his car. The other driver had insurance and his company acknowledges that he was to blame and are offering to cover damages, but they are low-balling the estimate of the car's value, trying to pay one half its Kelly Blue Book. The car is 9 years old, but it is in very good shape for a good that age, but the adjuster made a list of areas where he found wear and tear on the car. For instance, my son had the car painted by a very high-quality outfit using all the best paints, but the adjuster is complaining that the paint job was not up to industry standards??? I know he is doing his job, but honestly, this just seems weird. Is this something we could pursue in small claims court?
A: Understand the playing field. It's not the Kelly blue book but the NADA blue book that matters (or the McClean Hunter Market report called the red book). Value is what sons car would be worth the minute before the crash. Look on cars.com and you'll get a better idea--use a 450 mile radius and look for dealers, not the Craigs list Charlenes of the used car world.
Unless you wan to hire an appraiser you are a bit stuck. If you have collision on it go through that.
If you don't have collision, get enough information on how they figured the valuation (most states also allow a computer database called "ccc" or the "dealer valuation method."
If your son was hurt, consult a member of the Ill. Trial Lawyers Assn--they give fre consults and frankly that's often how the shafted make up the difference.
Last but not least, if he's really low balling you can file a complaint with the insurance commissioner.
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