>Subject: Wham! anyone good with insurance valuation?

Christopher Ritchie critchie1 at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 16 13:59:03 EDT 2002

>Managed to drive my car into the wall at the track; insurance company looks
>like they want to total it, and are offering "book value".  Since I've done
>lot to and with my car, I think it's worth more.  Any thoughts/ideas on
>  They said they'd look at advertisements for similar cars for sale;
>they want me to hire an independant insurance appraiser to evaluate the
>They'll do the same; then split the difference.
>Car is in NY.  I'll likely buy another, take back the salvage, transfer
>parts.  Perhaps do a project as well...

Watch out!  Every automobile insurance policy I know excludes coverage for
loss where the car was used in a race ("speed contest").  What were you
doing at the track?  Anything they think is racing will be trouble.

Your policy provides for coverage up to ACV (actual cash value).  What's
ACV?  Lots of ways to define it, but insurance companies generally go with
market value.  How to determine market value?  Look at similar cars for sale
(the"book").  Those similar cars will fall within a range, with good
examples going in the higher range.  Ah, but your car was the best of all
the cars presently on the market.  Guess what?  So was everybody else's.
They hear that so much that they don't believe it anymore.  Right before the
insurance adjuster talked to you, he just got off the phone with a ricer who
thought his '92 Corolla was worth a lot of money because of his ricer mods
to it.  Most mods cost a lot, but very few add value to the car, and they
never add commensurate value.  So, how to distinguish your car?  Paper them
to death.  The more paper, the better.  Insurance adjusters can pay more for
thick files than thin ones.  Send them receipts for everything.  One receipt
per page.  Impress them with the maintenance you gave it.  Photostat every
damn thing you can think of, and send it to them.  At the very least, it'll
impress them with your organization and determination.  Tell them plenty,
but follow up every telephone conversation with another blizzard of
photocopies for the adjuster's file.  Aren't you president and chief honcho
of the Internet association of these cars?  Stands to reason that you'd have
the best example.

Of course, when you finish all this, it's going to be difficult to tell them
that you want to buy the salvage back for a song because it's worthless.
And be careful of that race track thing because they'll throw the whole
thing out.  Finally, Massachusetts has a consumer protection statute,
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A, that applies to these cases.  If you
can't satisfactorily settle with them, you can sue (probably in Small Claims
Court) for 3 times the damages.  It's a powerful negotiation tool for
consumers.  You need to go through some steps to do this.

MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos:

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