Short answer: not much. In a total loss situation, Texas law requires only that insurance companies pay the fair market value of your vehicle in its immediate, pre-crash condition. If your vehicle was paid off and reliable, then you probably never would have sold your vehicle for the amount they are offering. Arguing that your vehicle was special or irreplaceable simply won’t work here. Instead, focus on the insurance company’s assessment of the fair market value.
Start by gathering information. Insurance companies rely on third party services to compile reports about sales and advertisements of comparable vehicles within a given geographical area and time-frame. Ask the adjuster for the total-loss evaluation report for your vehicle. Read the report to make sure they are basing their evaluation on the average “private party” value and/or “dealership” value, and NOT “trade-in” value. Check to make sure they are using your vehicle’s exact year, make, model, and trim package. Perform your own online research of vehicles for sale in your area. You might even email the sellers to ask if they would take the amount the insurance company is offering. Send the “no” responses to the insurance company along with the corresponding advertisements.
You should be able to achieve a modest increase in their offer. Just be aware, there will be very little time to vacate the rental vehicle after the total loss offer is made. Holding out for an extra $100 could cost you $200 if the insurance company cuts off your rental car. More on that in the next question: Can the insurance company cut off the rental car before I receive the total loss settlement money?
A special message to the friends and potential new clients of FVF Law:
FVF’s client contract has, for a long time, contained the following termination clause: “FVF Law is a values-driven law firm, and because diversity is a value we support, “good cause” [for termination] shall include any expression by the client of intolerance with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Now more than ever, FVF recognizes the global need to combat racism proactively, and to do so with more than just words. This firm was built on the mission of being better. Better lawyers. Better advocates. Better people.
We all know being better requires an ongoing commitment to learning, growth, introspection, and change. We enthusiastically embrace that commitment and hereby pledge to do more than just talk about it. Stay tuned on our blog and facebook page for more about what FVF is doing to back this important global effort.
In the meantime, we would respectfully request new clients who find their own views incompatible with this pledge to consider contacting another firm to handle their case. In any case, we invite you to provide honest feedback by emailing email@example.com.
Josh and Aaron, and all of FVF Law