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HELP!! Insurance company trying to screw me and my 4000Q!!
Hello group, I wonder if someone can help me:
The other day, I was involved in a collision with my 1986 4000Q. Some guy
turned left across my lane of travel (he must not have seen me for some
reason), I slowed as much as I could, but ultimately we had a head-on
collision. It was quite clearly his fault.
The estimated cost to repair my car is about $3100. At this point, the other
guy's insurance company is not arguing fault. They accept responsibility.
The trouble is, the insurance company is telling me the car is a total loss,
because it's retail value is roughly $3000. They don't want to fix the car.
I assume they want to pay me their assessment of the car's value ($3000), and
then they get to keep my car (presumable to be dismantled for parts).
In the interests of keeping things moving (because I am tired of waiting for
the insurance company's adjuster to look at it, or for phone calls to be
returned that are not), I have been working directly with the body shop to
whom I took the car, and I already authorized them to fix the car, at my
expense. It's an easy fix; some light sheet metal and bolt-on stuff up front.
In my opinion, it is still a viable car, and it would be a shame to junk it.
So, my situation is, I need to demonstrate that my car is worth more than what
they say it is. Certainly, the value they quoted me is the "book" value of a
good condition, standard 86 4000Q. Beyond being maintained in perfect
condition, I have made a number of customizations to the car that (arguable)
increase the value of the car beyond the "book value." The most significant
of these are a custom stereo ($2000), Euro head lights ($600), and upgraded
wheels ($1100). I have receipts for all of this stuff. This is just for
materials. I haven't even tried to assign a dollar value to my labor to make
My thought at this point is, I could probably take all of the receipts ($3700)
I have for "custom work," (not repair or maintenance), and ADD that to the
value of the car. In fairness, I should allow about 50% for depreciation,
which would be $3700 x 50% = $1850. Therefore, the car is worth $4850.
Pretty good math, huh? I think I only need to demonstrate that the car is
worth $3875 ($3100 / 80%), to pass the insurance industry's magic 80% value
used for deciding whether to repair or junk a car.
So, my question to the group is, has anyone had any experience, successful, or
otherwise, in arguing the value of a modified vehicle? My thought is that
maybe my opinion isn't going to be worth much (despite it's brilliantly simple
and straightforward logic! Haha), so I may need a "professional" appraisal of
the car. Does anyone know of any firms that are able to assess the value of a
customized car? I live near Philadelphia, PA. I had contacted one guy who
does appraisals of cars like street rods and antiques, and he said this wasn't
really his area, and he couldn't help me. If I don't get a professional
appraisal, what else could I do to help my case?
So, that is the sad state of affairs right now. If anyone can offer any
experiences or suggestions, I would very much appreciate it. Please respond
to me personally, as well as to the group, since I am not subscribed at this
Thanks in advance...