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Re: HELP!! Insurance company trying to screw me and my 4000Q!!

> 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).

There will be a "buy back" amount, in the couple hundred dollar range. 
you keep car, get check for the $3k less buy back.

> 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
> these modifications.

First - being in the same boat only ridiculously more so, let me say
that the only way you are likely to succeed on this tack to is get an
appraisal and insure the car yourself (in advance...) for whatever value
you are able to back up with that appraisal.  

Second, in order...

custom stereos add nothing to the value of a car (sorry).  really.
Your headlights may - if you find an appraiser who understands...
I doubt wheels add much to the value either.

What would really matter IMHO is the level of service to the car -
pristine maintenance is probably worth more than any bolt on goodies.

> 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.

I (and I'm sure, we) *really* want to know how this turns out for you! 
There's no harm in trying!

>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.

This is where it gets tough.  Maybe even a perfect specimen of one of
our Audis is only worth a few percent more than book.  Collectors aren't
drooling over them.  Example:  a friend of mine has a 72 Plymouth
Valiant (Dodge Dart).  It is clean and tight, engine has been done over,
everything is neat and pretty.  before using it as his beater Dart was
dying, he got it appraised for $7k (!) and has it insured for that.

But the Dart/Valiant is a recognised in-demand classic.  Appraisers know
this.  they don't know from Audis.

My agent suggested having my dealer appraise my car after the bodywork
and paint is done (they're good guys, they might do it) but I'm not
holding my breath.  Book on my car is in the $500-$750 range - I'd be
psyched to be able to insure it for the $3-4k that it would cost to
replace it with a "nice" couep if someone totals it.

Huw Powell


82 Audi Coupe; 85 Coupe GT