Rise of the Phoenix: Part 3 – Estimating Damage & Settling a Total Loss

This Post starts the real process of the collision repairs & what all is involved. First, wreck your car (check). The next thing that needs to happen, is figuring out just how much damage was done to your car. That is where the estimating comes into play. It would take way to long to try to explain the software & it’s many facets used in calculating a collision estimate. So instead, I’ve taken the time to research how to do a screen capture and actually record myself writing an estimate on my car. I think this would be much more enjoyable & beneficial for you guys out there following along. YouTube only allows me to upload 15 minute videos at a time, so I’ve broken this part up into 2 sections. Now, this is just a general estimate on my car. It may need a few other things in a supplement to be 100%. But this will give you the idea.

Part #1

Part #2

Now that we know what it will take to repair the car & if it’s a total loss or not, we can move onto the next step. In my case, the car is a total loss and I have to settle out with the insurance company. How this is handled will determine how much money you receive for your car. The insurance company is basically buying your car for “fair” market value. They will (in most cases) run a market value report thru a third party vender. This report consists of averages of Book Values, (KBB http://www.kbb.com/ or NADA http://www.nadaguides.com/, Etc…) & also real word comparable cars that are currently for sale, or have recently sold in your area, usually 3 examples are factored. Same year, make, model, & miles, etc…

If you’ve recently done some work to your car, like I did a few months ago, now is the time to inform the insurance adjuster of said repairs and provide your documentation showing dates, amounts and what was done. When they ran my ACV report, they couldn’t find any comparable TSX’s with my kind of miles, period. The closest they came was around 200k and that was in a nation wide search. So, in their infinite wisdom, they decided to add an additional hit for mileage, and offered me $5300 for my car. This obviously was unexceptionable. I informed them that I would not except an additional hit on miles based on speculation. And what happened to the $4k I just put into the car? Wasn’t that factored into the ACV? “You bet.” they told me. We allowed $300 of it. WRONG answer…

So, when this happens, you, as the vehicle owner reserve the right to insist on another evaluation, which of coarse you will need to pay for. So I ran my own evaluation thru another company.  This company essentially came up with the same value with the additional speculative hit for mileage, but this company added $4028 of the $4100 submitted in recent repairs. This report said my car was worth almost $10k.

When I submitted this to the adjuster, I offered to split the difference & be done with it. It would essentially put the value around book value. Sounds reasonable, right? Apparently not to them. Instead of just splitting the difference, they needed to send my evaluation to the original evaluation company for reconsideration.

Now while this was going on, because I was keeping the car, or “retaining salvage”, we needed to also agree on a buy back price. This is typically based on the highest salvage bid the insurance company can get for the car. In this case the adjuster submitted my car thru the CoPart database, which of coarse has nowhere to input how many miles the car has on it. So it is run with average miles. In this case, about 150k miles. Salvage estimate…$1600. WRONG Answer.

I informed the adjuster that you can NOT have it both ways. I was already being forced to accept an additional hit on miles based on speculation. So I sure wasn’t going to accept a buy back price that did not consider the high miles my car had on it. They either needed to call CoPart & have the bid quote adjusted for actual miles, or I wanted hard bids. Meaning they had to actually call local salvage yards and send them pics and get real life bids. I would not accept it otherwise. They came back with a $600 adjusted bid… more like it.

About this time, they also got back the adjusted ACV amount of $6300. This was still about $1k lower than book with out considering the $4k I just put into it. So this was still a lot lower than I was hoping for. BUT, I need my car back on the road. So I settled. Besides, the next step would be court, & I don’t have the time or money for that noise. Besides, my insurance company offers to pay 6 months worth of premiums if I’m not happy with the settlement. I’ll be taking them up on that. So, after subtracting my $500 deductible & the $600 buy back, I got a check for a little over $5200.  If I would have accepted the original $5300 offered, then subtracted the $500 deductible & the $1600 buy back, I would have got a check for $3200. The point I want you to walk away with is this… You don’t have to accept the first offer they submit. Unless of coarse it’s reasonable. If you have documentation & reason to back up another amount, submit it.  In my case, I got an extra $2000. I still feel I should have got more, but that’s life.

Because of the connections I’ve made in this industry over the last 9 years, I’ll get a good price on parts thru the dealer & labor thru a local body shop. After the insurance check, I’m figuring around $1k – $1500 out of pocket for repairs. The down side is that I now will have a salvage title on the car. The upside is that I never planned on selling the car any way. So that pretty much voids the salvage title worries. Plus, the front end of my car will look brand spanking new again! Which I recently figured would cost between $2500 – $3000. So, depending on how you look at it, one could say that I’m actually UP for this whole thing. Or not.

If your car is repairable, you can skip the whole settling fiasco. And go right to the next step. Teardown & repairs.

HAY!!!!DSC01992The RDX is holding up just fine to the sudden influx of miles. I’ve put about 3000 miles on her in the last 2 weeks! She’s been getting really great mileage. Check out the gas mileage on a recent trip up to McCall!DSC01911The next segment will start the actual repairs.

Stay tuned & thanks for coming by!!


About clymerdude

A Property Damage Appraiser in the State of Idaho.
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7 Responses to Rise of the Phoenix: Part 3 – Estimating Damage & Settling a Total Loss

  1. Jaymar says:

    I admire your outlook on this entire situation. My 2008 TSX was rear ended back in May, and I was definitely bummed that I couldn’t drive it for about 3 weeks. After the repairs were complete, I fell in love again. I was borrowing a Saturn Vue during the time of repair, and when I got back inside my TSX and drove it off the lot… I said to myself, “THIS is why I bought it.” The TSX’s nimbleness, response and comfort is unlike any other car I have driven. Although my post-accident process was not as complex as yours, I am excited to read your experience about your second (or third, maybe) “first drive.” Keep up the great work!

    • clymerdude says:

      Thanks Jaymar. The RDX has been a pleasure to drive. So it’s not exactly like I’ve been slumming it. But I definitely am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the TSX. Should be in the next day or two.

  2. Eric E says:

    fascinating . . . yet a little depressing too! I went to the Acura dealer last week to inquire about a few things on my Legend and the parts counter guy said the 2015 MDX headlight unit is $2100 . . . and you can’t replace the bulbs, so if it burns out you have to replace the entire thing! Therefore, I’ll be avoiding LED headlights for as long as possible.

  3. tysonhugie says:

    Very informative stuff – and the process for damage evaluation is way more involved than a lot of people think it is! Looking forward to seeing the rebuild start to take shape.

  4. I thiknk this is among the such a lot vital info for me. And i’m glad reading your article.
    However should remark on few common things, Thee website taste is ideal, the articles is
    really great : D. Just right job, cheers

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