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Question
My wifes car was hit and totaled by another driver.  I just spoke with the adjustor and feel the offer is low.  I pulled the Kelly Blue Book Value and it was significanly more than they are offereing.  State Farm told me that they only have to give me what they deemed the amount.  Any idea what I can do to get the number up???

Answer
Bill, depending on whether this is a first party or third party claim, there is plenty you can do.  State Farm is not the authority on vehicle values.  In fact, unless they have a formal appraisal from a peer reviewed expert (not a company or computer database), then they will have a very hard time proving the value of your vehicle in any court.  There is not enough room on this medium to give you the proper help.    

The only way to determine the true market value of a vehicle is to PROPERLY conduct market research and then properly report upon that research in the form of an appraisal.  The only published standard for appraising is the USPAP.  

Many carriers will use settlement tools like CCC or JD Power Mitchell reports.  CCC doesn't perform appraisals.  There is no appraiser when a CCC is used.  Likewise for JD Power / Mitchell and the likes.  These are all nothing more than settlement tools used by insurance companies to try to make claims settlements fast.  CCC has been sued multiple times for undervaluing vehicles (they settle, but don't admit wrongdoing and then go right back to the same old thing).  The reports used are not consistent and rarely reflect the true value of a vehicle.  Mileage adjustments are inconsistent and they include made up adjustments like "list price" and "take price".  It can truly be frustrating to try and deal with a brainwashed adjuster that is a yes man to his/her company.  I make a living telling the truth, and most adjusters make a living doing what their boss tells them to do.

The good news is that if you search out my company on the net and call my office, I will personally consult with you for free and give you some tips on how to negotiate properly.  If the value they are offering is significantly low as you think, then you could press the matter by obtaining a real appraisal and putting up a good fight.  If there's not a huge difference, simply being pushy, calling out the problems with the CCC / other report, and refusing to settle might get you a few more dollars.  You can let State Farm know that if they refuse to negotiate, the claim WILL NOT settle, and an open claim is a claim that is costing money.  Without professional help, most accident victims are helpless.  Knowledge is power, and when you don't know, insurance carriers have a bad habit of making up rules and lying to accident victims.  They can't get away with lying to a professional.  

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Justin Petty

Expertise

Challenge me! I promise that I will provide you with the most honest answer I can muster, and I will base it on nearly 20 years of complex claims experience. My strength is shooting it straight and seeing through BS. I do not bluff and I can tell when somebody is. I've handled claims in almost every State in the U.S. and adjusted claims and consulted attorneys and CEO's on recovery and special claims tactics for over a decade. I am the founder and President of Petty Details, LLC. We provide the highest quality claim services to insurance companies, attorneys and individuals all exactly in the same way, by paying attention to the details and doing the right thing.

Experience

Nearly 20 years of combined claim company management, litigation, all lines adjusting, claim auditing, damage assessment, subrogation, small claims, tort recovery, collection, skip-tracing, tactical investigations, and contribution claim recovery experience across the United States of America.

Organizations
NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) AllExperts.com (Auto Insurance Expert) Diminished Value Appraisers Group (LinkedIn)

Publications
10 years experience in writing and developing technical claims correspondence for litigation and unique scenarios at insurance companies and as a consultant to attorneys assisting with legal briefs and research. 42 published articles relating to auto insurance and claims. Self Published e-books entitled "How Much is My Injury Worth" and "Diminished Value - How Do I Get Paid?".

Education/Credentials
School of hard knocks, 3 years college, NO DEGREE, years of real world experience running a claims service company and adjusting claims for carriers. Speaks English and Spanish, Limited Portuguese & Italian.

Awards and Honors
Platinum Author (EzineArticles.com) All Lines Adjuster (TX, 1998 - 2008) TX Public Adjuster (2009 - 2011)

Past/Present Clients
State Farm Insurance, Endeavor GA, MileMeter Ins., American Recreational Markets, Gainsco Ins. Co., Safeway Ins., Home State County Mutual Insurance, Old American County Mutual Insurance, FCCI, Farm Bureau, Liberty Mutual, and Pronto General Agency, LTD just to name a few! On top of insurance companies and attorneys, I have personally helped thousands of accident victims with the difficult and stressful process of navigating their claim to a successful resolution.

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