After a major car accident, one of the first things that your insurance company will do is hire an appraiser to assess the damage to your vehicle. You can, and should, also bring in an independent appraiser if you’re not satisfied with the appraisal provided by the insurance company. The way vehicle appraisals work is pretty straightforward. An appraiser evaluates the damage to a car after an accident, considers how much it would cost to repair it, and decides whether or not it’s worthwhile to repair. If the cost of repairs is higher than the cost of replacement, the vehicle is deemed a total loss. In other words, you’ll get a set amount of money for the car, based on the value of replacing the car with a similar model.
If you’ve owned your car for some amount of time, it’s likely that the value has dropped considerably. When a new car is driven off the lot, it immediately has significant value loss and there’s no way to get that back. The value is then found in owning the car yourself. When your car is deemed a total loss by an appraiser, the news may be good or bad, depending on what it would take to replace the car. Many people consider a total loss assessment to be a good thing. There are some things that you cannot account for, and that are not included in the appraisal, such as the long term effects of major damage and major repairs.
With a total loss vehicle, you should get a check and be able to move on. You’ll purchase another car, perhaps a similar one in good condition. However, in order to recover the full amount of money you are due, you’ll need an accurate damage appraisal. There are a variety of variables that can be overlooked or manipulated a bit to low ball your settlement amount. Auto damage appraisers working for insurance companies are working for the best outcome of the company and may not ensure you get the full amount possible for your total loss vehicle. Don’t settle based on what you’re told by your insurance company. Double check their work by hiring your own appraiser. You may be surprised at the settlement they are able to secure and much happier with the replacement vehicle you are able to purchase.