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Auto Insurance Claims/Collector car totaled by transport company


We purchased a collectible car and insured transport was part of the deal. We have pictures of the car loaded on the transport in perfect condition. It was delivered in severely damaged (totaled) condition. The shippers insurance company has agreed to cover the loss, so now the battle is over the value of the "cargo" in this claim. The claims handler is insistent on getting a copy of our Bill of Sale, stating that they only cover the financial interest in the damaged cargo. That does not make sense to us, since the vehicle could have been a gift ($0), bought at less than market value, or even overpaid so the financial interest is much higher than market value would support. They have not commented about these possibilities. I am guessing they are hoping we bought the car under market value and want to use that to cheapen the settlement. We believe the only fair settlement is to either replace the vehicle with a comparable one, or have the vehicle appraised for true market value of the car, plus it's upgrades (which are extensive). Any advice would be greatly appreciated for how to navigate through this disappointing event.

 Hello Gene,

While it is not unreasonable for them to ask for paperwork documenting the car's value, by all means submit all paperwork that confirms the actual value at the time of loss.  That would include documentation of all upgrades and/or any improvements that increased the value.

What about an appraiser?  Haven't they sent someone out to actually assess the vehicle?!  Though it is damaged, clearly a professional appraiser would be able to correctly determine the actual cash value.  Insurance company appraisers ordinarily do assess at lower values, but at least it gives you bargaining leverage.

You are entitled to be made "whole again".  Specifically, you are entitled to compensation for the actual cash value of the vehicle at the time of your loss.  Nothing less.  Clearly you must be able to prove that value, since part of the deal was insured transport.

Provide all relevant document including the bill of sale and documentation of all upgrades. Clearly you are going to need to negotiate.  If necessary, appeal to the claims manager - in writing if necessary.

If they continue to refuse to cooperate, you may well need to hire an attorney to send a strong demand letter.  Sometimes an attorney is the only option.  I'm not suggesting actual litigation.  Simply the intervention of an attorney to negotiate on your behalf.  In my experience, once an attorney becomes involved, they are far less likely to lowball you.

Sorry for you loss.  Hope this helps.

Jane Pytel

Auto Insurance Claims

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Jane Pytel


I can answer questions related to auto accidents, auto damage, auto theft claims, or personal injury claims. I am specifically suited to answer questions concerning insurance investigations and the effects of those investigations such as claim delays, claim denials, examinations under oath, or the special investigations unit. I can answer most any question that relates to proper claims investigations, or claims handling procedures and processes. I have authored several ebooks which provide claim guidance for consumers. Those books are available on Amazon Kindle: Power To Profit - will provide you with the knowledge you need to overcome the patterned obstacles that insurance companies will use to delay, devalue, or deny your valid insurance claim. The No Nonsense Guide to Accident Settlement - Teaches you how to manage your claim, how to identify the precise tactics likely to be used against you, and how you must respond.


12 years of experience with 3 major insurance companies. I hold an all lines adjusters license in Florida. I am well versed in claims handling, claims investigations, and industry standards related to both. The bulk of my experience stems from my 10 years as a police officer / detective. Building on that investigative experience, I became an SIU (Special Investigations Unit) Investigator. Accordingly, my unique expertise lies in the investigation of claims. What is necessary and related, what is not necessary and related? What constitutes a fair claims investigation? What recourse is available for consumers who suspect they are experiencing unfair claims delays? During the course of my experience, I became a certified trainer, instructing adjusters and investigators proper techniques for claims investigation and claims handling.

B.A., Communications, University of Miami 350 credit hours of intense investigative training, Miami Dade Police 80 hours of investigative training, various Federal Agencies, Miami, Fl Intensive Accident Reconstruction and Pedestrian Injury Analysis, NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, Oklahoma City, OK 2 weeks Auto Damage Appraisal, Winston Salem, NC Legal Principles Claim Specialist, AEI

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