Whether you drive a car, motorcycle, heavy truck in Florida, accidents happen which is why you carry insurance. But unless your vehicle is covered by an Agreed Value policy, the amount you’ll be paid if your car is deemed a total loss is entirely up to the insurance company. How does an insurer determine the value of your vehicle?
Typically, most large insurers use outside vendors such as CCC, Carfax, Autosource or Mitchell which allows them to input your automobile’s information such as year, make, model, mileage, engine, options, etc. There is also a section that enables the insurance appraiser to make additions or subtractions for mileage, optional equipment, old damage and conditioning issues. Then the primary factor in the valuation is the use of comparable vehicle sales or auction results to determine how much your car is worth. Unfortunately, an insurance appraiser can be selective in which comparables he or she uses. Many times, we’ll find that the examples don’t quite measure up to your auto.
Some interpretations include choosing vehicles with much higher miles and making costly mileage adjustments. This practice can lead to skewed results that don’t accurately describe what your low-mileage car would have sold for prior to the wreck. Another common practice is to limit the geographical search area, thereby reducing the number of comparable vehicles. An additional problem occurs when the insurance appraiser uses dissimilar vehicles to yours. Yet another common drawback is the insurance appraiser’s failure to recognize specialty vehicles, such as diesel pickups, that hold their value better than others.
What recourse does a Florida car owner have when faced with this situation? You could simply accept the lower settlement figure. Another option is to hire an independent appraiser to prepare a fair and objective valuation appraisal that accurately reflects your car’s true pre-accident value. This can be tricky so it is best to do your due diligence and research the company before hiring. Do they have poor reviews in online sites such as BBB, Angie’s List, Ripoff Report, Pissed Consumer, etc.? Also, does the appraisal firm work for insurance companies in addition to private parties? These conflicts can cost you more than just a few dollars since insurance clients may represent the majority of their business. It isn’t unusual for an independent appraiser to target the adverse insurer as a potential client.
Most states recognize the “Appraisal Clause” whereby the appraisers from both sides try to negotiate a fair settlement. A typical compromise is the median of the values arrived at by the respective appraisers. Other times, however, when no agreement can be reached, the appraisers both offer candidates to act as an umpire. This entails an additional cost which is borne by both you and the insurance company. In the event that neither side agrees on a suitable umpire, one will be chosen by a magistrate in your county. The decision of the umpire is non-binding, however, and you can still choose to litigate.
The business model of all insurance companies is to charge as much as they can in premiums and to pay out as little as possible in claims. Keep this in mind when you receive the settlement offer for your total loss vehicle.
Additional fees you may incur are $125.00 for our representation in Appraisal Clause negotiations, and half of an umpire’s fee (Umpires typically charge from $300 – $700) if either are necessary. On average, approximately 10% of Appraisal Clause cases go to an umpire.
Please email the insurance company CCC or other work sheet to email@example.com
Barlow C (Florida)-2018 Maserati totaled. USAA hired DCI Solution Appraisers to represent them. St. Lucie Appraisal estimated the value of the car at $46,893.35. Initial offer from USAA was $33,784.08 but after St. Lucie found errors in the DCI Solutions appraisal, USAA ended up paying $43,500.00.
Joe F (Florida)-Frank was always responsive and took the time to detail explanations in regards to his calculations. He even went as far as to take the time to go “ Head to head” with the insurance company attorneys and adjuster from Progressive in mediation on my behalf and he conducted it soo professionally ! He was like. “ Muhammed Ali “ in the boxing ring sparring like no tomorrow! Since he’s Italian? We’ll call him “ Rocky” cause with his help I settled my case! Very impressed!
Dan and Cathleen O (Florida)-Thank you very much for settling our total loss dispute. It has been a pleasure working with you. It is unusual to find a business these days that is as competent and efficient as yours.
Steven S (Florida)-In my dealings with Franklin he was very professional & courteous. He followed up with phone calls to make sure all details were correct & once we provided the required information the the turn around time for the appraisal was very prompt. I would definitely use this service again & would recommend both Franklin his company to my friends.
Richard S (Florida)- Great customer service very helpful, quick turnaround, and good people. Insurance total loss dispute of the value of my 1977 Ford F100 Resto Mod Pickup Truck.
Janice M (Florida)- Amazing!!! I couldn’t have asked for a more detailed report in such a short time frame. Thank you so much. I’m truly a satisfied customer. I will surely recommend this company to all my friends and family. Thanks,Janice
Chase W (Florida)- Finally received the check from Farmers Insurance. My highest recommendation for your excellent appraisal and support services.
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