Rarely are people happy with the amount of their property damage settlement. Here are a couple of hints to help you in your negotiations with the insurance company.
When your car is damaged due to the negligence of someone else, you can settle either with your own insurance company or the other person's insurance company. It is better to begin by trying to settle with the other person's insurance company because you avoid the discount for your deductible. If the defendant's insurance company won't settle, you can contact your own insurance company. In either case, read my article on "Watch That Release Language On Your Property Damage Settlement Check" before you cash a check from either insurance company.
Something else to consider is that the taxes you paid when you purchased your vehicle are part of your damages. Thus, even if you (reluctantly) agree that the car the defendant totaled was worth $10,000, don't forget to add the taxes on top of that. Don't expect your insurance company to mention the taxes. And don't you mention it until you have reached an agreed base price. Then use it to get those additional dollars that will help reimburse you completely for your damages.
Written by Donald Ray Burger, Attorney at Law
Last revised: January 23, 1997
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