Forced into total loss

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 28, 2017

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Insurance Question from Monroe, CT

Asked on 12/28/2017

Forced into total loss A family member rear ended another vehicle hit their bike rack. Their car had hood , grill and one light damaged, air bags never even went off. The car was driven every day to work for 2 weeks. Now the adjuster claims the car is totaled and insists they come get their plates. Owner does not agree and now just wants to drive the car and do repairs himself? Does he have the right to do so and reject the adjuster claims?

Answer given on December 30, 2017

If the owner refuses the settlement offer from their insurance company as a total loss then the insurance company could refuse to insure the car.  See if the insurance company will insure a repaired total loss car. If they will, ask if they can buy the salvage car. Then they can take the money paid by the insurance company, fix the car, and insure it again.  If their insurance company will not do this, see if there is another company around which will insure a salvaged car.  If they can get the insurance, the value of the car will be reduced since it is a salvage, so if they continue to insure it, they need to be aware of the reduced value under collision coverage. They can ask how much the value will be reduced, but the insurance company may not be able to answer that.  


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