Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TOTAL LOSSES AND DIMINISHED VALUE - DISPUTING AN INSURANCE COMPANY'S UNFAIR SETTLEMENT OFFER - WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES?


FLORIDA RV APPRAISERS
MIAMI, Florida - It's not only folks like you and I who are tightening our belts these days. Businesses both large and small have also been forced to cut costs. Here in Florida we have felt the effects more than in other parts of the country. Unfortunately, in the case of insurance company claims adjusters, a major focus is on keeping a very strict eye on claims payouts. Auto body shops are generally the victims of cost cutting but when your own automobile or truck is totaled, the victim becomes you. Using updated formulas and guidelines, the insurers' goal is to offer the smallest settlement amount possible for your total loss or diminished value vehicle. The days when simple book values used to serve as measuring sticks for guaging the value of a car, truck, RV or motorcycle are gone. In their place are computerized reports sometimes using completely unrelated or undocumented vehicles from places halfway around the country as examples. Diminished Value claimants are also virtually assured of coming across an insurance adjuster with charts that show how certain types of damage repairs more-or-less affect the amount of Diminished Value sustained. Tell that to your automobile dealer come trade-in time. And if you've done any custom work to your car, truck or motor home, chances are the insurer will only be willing to offer a fraction of what would be fair compensation no matter how many invoices and estimates you provide. Should you dispute the insurance company's settlement offer? Are they guilty of unfair claim practices? Should you hire an independent appraiser to determine the value?

Insurers who are guilty of unfair claim practices are sometimes made to pay dearly when matters proceed to trial. At the very least, simply to avoid paying their lawyers, an insurance company is more likely to settle with a claimant who has presented a properly-prepared appraisal from a licensed independent appraisal firm. In Florida, The Department of Financial Services can provide a list of names. In other states where appraisers are licensed, check with that state's Insurance Department.

High value cars and trucks are where the greatest disparities between low ball settlement offers and fair market values are found. The difference can reach tens of thousands of dollars, especially where modified and luxury cars, heavy trucks and upgraded RVs are concerned.

Compared to high end vehicles and RVs, typical total loss and Diminished Value claims involving passenger cars, small trucks and SUVs are far more numerous. While it would seem that agreeing on these fair market values would be relatively simple, the opposite is true. The gaps between insurance company settlement offers and fair market values shrink somewhat on these vehicles but claims adjusters are every bit as diligent at saving a few bucks for the company. When your car is being repaired, your body shop does the negotiating. But when the claim involves a total loss or diminished value, you're on your own. Taking care not to cross the line into unfair claims practices, many insurers simply use the valuation sources that provide the least compensation as guidelines for making their settlement offers. It is up to you, the consumer, to do some homework. Obtaining the approximate value of your vehicle is easy with all of the online resources available. Still not getting any satisfaction? Put a licensed independent appraiser to work for you.


The St. Lucie Appraisal Company
P.O. Box 2700
Fort Pierce, FL 34954
Phone: (772) 359-4300
Fax: (772) 466-8400
Email: contact@stlucieappraisal.net

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http://stlucieappraisal.net/
AUTO & PERSONAL PROPERTY
SERVICE THROUGHOUT SOUTH FLORIDA

paypal payment button The fee for an Automobile Diminished Value Report is $275.00. You may also make your Credit Card Payment by telephone, call 772-359-4300. Credit card payments can be made on the PayPal page. Click on "Don't have a PayPal account?" to be taken to the secure credit card payment page. 

After making your secure payment please email the body shop estimate or the insurance company appraisal to contact@stlucieappraisal.net or FAX to 772-466-8400.

NOTE: TESLA OR OTHER EXOTIC CAR OWNERS PLEASE CALL 772-359-4300 TO ARRANGE FOR AN AUTOMOBILE DIMINISHED VALUE APPRAISAL.