Maximize Actual Cash Value in a Car Crash Claim

Negotiating actual cash value texas car crash attorney

Insurance Companies will Try to Diminish Your Value

Seeking compensation from an insurance company often isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.  Sure, in a perfect world you would say “This is how much the wreck has cost me,” and the insurance company would cut you a check for that amount.  But when you’re dealing with a for-profit company, they want to pay out as little as possible and they do so by diminishing the actual cash value.

If you have been injured, then you absolutely need to hire a Texas car crash attorney.  If you were not injured, then pay attention to the Car Crash Captain’s advice on maximizing your claim.

Texas is a Modified Comparative At-Fault State

What’s that mean exactly?  Simply put, if you’re less than 51% at fault for the accident, then you can make a claim against the other driver’s insurance.  There are 12 states that are no-fault states – if you live there, it’s important to know what that means.

Repair or Replace the Vehicle?

When your vehicle is damaged, the insurance adjuster will assess what happened.  Depending on a variety of factors, your vehicle may be deemed repairable, or a total loss.

You have the right to choose which auto body repair shop you want to use for the repairs, and you have the right ask for original equipment manufacturer parts.  If the total cost from that repair shop comes in at less than the value of the vehicle, then your claim will likely be approved and repairs will be performed.

However, if the repairs are too expensive, then the insurer may offer you a settlement that is equal to the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle.  They take possession of the totaled vehicle, and you’re cut a check.

But wait a minute, what if you disagree?  Or what if the numbers are incredibly close?  For instance, suppose your vehicle is worth $15,000 and repairs to the vehicle will run $15,100 (keep in mind that all insurers have a threshold; for instance, some may say repairs can’t exceed 80% of the value of the vehicle).  If you’re up against that threshold, you can seek another repair quote in hopes that it will come in less than the threshold, and thus be approved for repairs.

Actual Cash Value of the Vehicle?

There is a little bit of a problem that comes with the idea of “actual cash value.”  This is determined by the insurance company based on the replacement cost, minus wear and tear.  Here’s where things can get tricky.

The value of your vehicle, that is the cost to replace with an identical or at least similar one, is likely higher than the actual cash value that the insurance company will offer.  Replacement cost is different than actual cash value (some insurance companies allow you to select replacement value instead of actual cash value).

To get the ACV settlement offer higher, incorporate some of these tips:

  • If the vehicle is your daily driver, consider the value of convenience, fuel economy, and comfort.  Searching for a replacement vehicle will take time and effort.
  • Look in classifieds and online for similar (or identical) vehicles.  Consider mileage, options, and damage.  Use those as examples of why your vehicle is worth more.
  • Include information on all upgrades.  If your vehicle is low mileage, or had a recent overhaul (like a new engine put in), make note of those.
  • Don’t accept a settlement you disagree with.

A very basic negotiation argument can look like this.  Suppose your vehicle is worth $15,000 and insurance is offering $12,000.  You can argue that with the upgrades you have done, and the comparable vehicles you have found online, that the actual value of the vehicle is closer to $20,000.  You are willing to accept $15,000 because you’ll be able to replace the vehicle without an extended search, meaning less in rental car reimbursements.

If they say no, then say that you’re sorry we can’t come to an agreement at this time.  Refigure your argument and try again.

Can I Claim Lost Personal Time?

Even if you recover what you wanted to from the wreck, you are going to be out a considerable amount of time.  You have to deal with the wreck, the repair shops, the police reports, and negotiate with insurance companies.

Can you bill the insurance company for all of this time you’ve spent dealing with the claim?  What if they’re not playing nice, and you spend even more time in negotiations than previously expected?

There’s a way to do this, but it might not work out completely in your favor.  Instead of using your personal time, use PTO time to take days off work.  Then, account for those days when you’re negotiating your settlement.  You needed the extra time to figure out this wreck, and were forced to take off work, and you need to be reimbursed for that time.

Visit with Herbert Law Group

Keep in mind that these negotiation tactics are just that: tactics.  They are designed to work better in your favor, but they aren’t legal advice or promises that all will be an easy process.

If your accident did involve injuries, then it’s best to let an attorney handle the negotiations, as there is much more room to ensure you receive compensation that covers all of your losses.  That’s where Herbert Law Group comes to help.  When you need a car crash lawyer in Texas, we are here to help.

Let’s talk about what happened.  Call us at 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form on our site and we’ll get things rolling.