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Auto Insurance Claims/Is there anything I can do...?


I was recently hit by a suspended driver who sped through a stop sign. I was hit on the left rear causing a dent, bumper torn off and back left suspension replacement. I repaired it for a reasonable cost, as I have only had the car for a year, it is a '97 and under 100k.  The other driver did not own the car and did not have a valid car insurance card on hand. They did not report the accident and without knowing who their insurer was, about 2 weeks passed before they were  involved. This meant my insurance company was the only one to assess the car before it was fixed. They totaled it. I just found out that means it's pretty much unable to sell in the future and I can never have full coverage on my car now. Do I have any choices or alternate routes I can take for insurance? Does one persons violation of several laws screw me over for the life of my - fairly new to me - car?

Hi Sarah,

Unfortunately, it is the insurance company's decision to repair or total the vehicle. If totaled, the insurance company is required by law to obtain a salvage title. If you decide to keep the salvage you will have to have the vehicle repaired, then pay for a state inspection of the vehicle to certify that it has been repaired and is road worthy, then you can title the vehicle back in your name. From that point forward the vehicle will only be worth about 60% of the standard value.

The only alternative is to let the insurance comapny take the car and you go buy another one.

I hope this helps
Richard Hixenbaugh

Auto Insurance Claims

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Richard Hixenbaugh


Auto insurance claims procedure, auto coverage, liability issues, auto damage questions, how to deal with the insurance company, loss of use and diminished value.


I have been involved in the insurance industry for over 25 years. I have experience in underwriting, sales, claims adjusting, auto damage estimating, auto value appraising and diminished value appraising. I have testified as an expert witness over 35 times.

Society of Certified Auto Appraisers

Completed all required courses for the Florida Property-Casualty agents license and the Florida claims adjusters license. I have attended various courses on auto damage estmating, vehicle appraising and am ASE certified in collision damage analysis.

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My company has done work for consumers nationwide.

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