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How a Total Loss is Evaluated

Determining Total Loss Values for Vehicles

Most insurance companies utilize a large “information service” to develop a market value for your total loss vehicle. Many times these values are understated due to several factors including missing options to the vehicle, using substandard vehicles as “comparables” and relying on a computer database to evaluate your car.

Second, these information services work only for the insurance company and may produce values favorable to their client. One such service was the subject of a class action law suit which ended with the service providing additional monies in settlement to hundreds of claims across the country.

Another point to consider is the information service is relying on information provided by the insurance company's field adjuster. Often the options of the vehicle are misstated or missed altogether which will negatively impact the settlement offered by the insurance company.

Last, the valuation company relies upon computer generated comparable vehicles to act as a basis for the valuation of your vehicle.  There is no way of knowing the true condition or history of these comparable vehicles which may have effected the determination of the final settlement which you were offered.  We had occasion to act on a settlement issue where we could actually request a vehicle history report on the vehicles which were used in the valuation process.  Two of the vehicles were Hurricane Katrina victims, and one had gone through a wholesale auto auction 3 times!

The Independent Vehicle Loss Appraisal

During a conversation with an Insurance Adjuster who works for a major insurance company, the subject of Total Loss values was discussed.  His comment was, "If they [the vehicle owner] only knew!"  He was referring to the fact that most Total Loss values are understated! We don't want to infer that the Adjusters employed by the insurance company are in any way dishonest; the system which they must utilize has its flaws.  The Adjuster is between the proverbial "rock and a hard place" when making a Total Loss settlement.  The Adjuster must rely on data provided by a third party which has been proven to be inaccurate time and time again.

Considering the above information, we are led to a simple conclusion: Order an Independent Certified Appraisal from Ready2Appraise and find out!