What steps should I take when settling with an insurance company?

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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: Oct 23, 2012

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Insurance Question from Fall River, MA

Asked on 10/23/2012

What steps should I take when settling with an insurance company? Last Friday I was rear ended on the highway and my car was deemed a total loss. The driver of the vehicle that struck was served a citation for "driving to endanger". My insurance company is trying to settle with the amount of what the car is worth minus the money still owed on the loan. I was a few payments shy of paying the car off and will now need to invest in a new car. Is there anyway the insurance can cover some of my new cost (unexpected car payments for 5 years on a loan, higher insurance rates, etc.). I'm just curious as to what my rights ar

Answer given on October 24, 2012

When you have an auto accident and your car is considered a total loss, the insurance company, whether it be your company or the other drivers company, will pay the actual cash value of the car. Actual cash value is the current market value of your car. This is affected by the condition of the car, mileage and the area in which you live.Often times people don’t feel they are getting the value for the car that they think it should be. However, a car is often worth more to the owner than the real value of the car. If you feel the value offered by the company is low, you can provide proof of a higher value. You can use local ads for a similar car either from a local paper or the internet, but it must be from your area.Unfortunately, you cannot expect the insurance company to provide any additional funding for you to obtain a replacement car.

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