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Tale of a totaled E30 (advice needed)

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by stevehecht, Feb 20, 2010.

    • Member

    stevehecht

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    I haven't posted in awhile because I have been consumed/obsessed with getting my car back on the road--so far, unsuccessfully.

    I have posted about this before, but this tale just keeps getting stranger. Here's some backround: On December 24, 2009 I slid on black ice into a snow-covered 6" curb and sustained relatively minor damage to the lower part of the front end (radiator, condensor, lower spoiler, radiator support). Liberty Mutual (LB), my insurer, sent out an appraiser who came up with $2200 in repairs. Because he gave the car a valuation of $2450, he totaled the car. (This appraiser used just one comparable from Brooklyn, NY.) LB was incredibly eager to get their hands on the car, even sending a tow truck to pick it up after I repeatedly instructed them not to touch the car, and that I was going to keep it.

    Anyway, I challenged the valuation after doing a lot of research on comparables, which I sent to them. They then raised the valuation to $3387. I declined to accept that and sent them local comparables that showed cars of my year and model all selling for >$5K. LB refused to raise their valuation. I told them I wanted to start arbitration.

    Arbitration is where I hire andappraiser, and LB hires one. The two appraisers try to agree on a price for the car. If they can't agree they jointly choose a third appraiser who is the umpire or arbitrater. What he says goes, I have to accept his pricing. My appraiser said $4200 and theirs said $2450 (surprise, surprise!). Here's where it gets strange: It was reported to me by my LB rep that my appraiser refused to participate in choosing the umpire and supposedly said he was finished with the process. I called and emailed my appraiser several times last week but he did not return my messages. I figured he had bailed.

    Today I get an email from my appraiser telling me that he had to leave town last week for a family funeral, and that he had spoken to the LB appraiser and had agreed to the choice of an umpire, but had not confirmed it before he left town. I had already written to him demanding my $150 fee back from him because he had (supposedly) bailed, and threatened a small claims suit for non-performance of duties.

    This is not the first time there has been conflicting stories from these two parties (LB and my appraiser). Here is my decision and here is where I need advice: Should I accept the standing LB check of $2837 (after deductible and salvage fee) or should I push to complete the arbitration process (and possibly end up with even less)? After all, the $2837 is enough to fix my car and then some. But should I accept less than I think the car is worth, now that they've totaled it? And the fact that they are (probably) ******* me around? Or am I just being greedy? It's been almost two freakin' months since the accident, and I badly miss being on the road with my bimmer.

    Sorry for all the words...thanks in advance.
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    MGarrison

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    Personally, I really dislike dealing with insurance companies. If their offer of the $2837 is based on the $3387, less what you mentioned, and that's more than enough to fix your car, I would take it and move on. You know you're not going to get $4200 already, so the difference to nearly $3400 is only $800, and I wouldn't be half surprised that another 3rd party appraiser sticks you with less than their current offer and you'd get caught out having out-of-pocket expense to get it fixed. So, yeah, my view is take the money & run & don't look back, and don't be surprised if they jack your rates or drop you within the next several billing cycles.
    • Member

    stevehecht

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    Thanks. I think that's the most sensible thing to do.
    • Member

    az3579

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    You were never going to get what you wanted for the car. This is an insurance company we're talking about here. Their business model is: we take your money and provide you almost nothing in return.

    I think you should take the ~$2800 and run.

    But, why did they total the car if the damage was estimated to be less than the value? I don't think they can do that until it exceeds the value, no?
    • Member

    stevehecht

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    No, they can do anything they damn well please. (But you knew that already.) My insurance broker told me they do that because of extra damage (to the frame, for instance) that might be there but not yet known. If they don't total the car then they are responsible for anything else that comes up for repair. This way, they pay me about what they'd pay for the known repairs anyway, but they eliminate the risk of paying anything more. Thanks for the advice, I guess it's a relief just to end this horrible process.
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    granthr

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    +2 Sounds like you have decided to take the check, which I think is the right decision as well.

    What you are dealing with is part of the problem of driving a nice older car. It is hard to come up with a value on an older car when there are examples selling in the entire range. E30s are still common enough that there are a lot of them changing hands below $1,000. So this brings the whole average down, even if there are some E30s selling for $10,000 +.

    Going forward, you might want to see if you can get a stated value for your car. I use State Farm for my auto insurance. I was able to get a state value for my M3, but only because I have a classic license plate on it. Even so I am still trying to get the value up to where I think it should be. Currently we are about $10k apart on the stated value (what they are willing to give me and what I think it is worth). I did get an appraisal and now I am waiting to here back from them. If they don't come up, I am going to go to Hagerty.

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