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Auto Insurance Claims/Total Loss claim settlement


My son was in an accident where he was hit in the back end of his truck.  The adjuster has totaled the truck out.  I have my sons power of attorney since he is unavailable to take care of this matter.  I got a call with an offer to settle.  They are offering $2248.00 with the option of buying the truck for $200.00 so the settlement would be $2048.00.  The truck is a 1980 F100 SWB with a 302 V8 engine. At the time of the accident my son was in the process of restoring it in fact there is still tape on it from where it was beening  primered in it was to be painted the next week.  The truck was rearended while stopped.  The bumper, tailgate, tail lights, driverrs side rear fender are severly damaged, also the drivers side window was knocked out of the frame.  I would like to know if this is a fair offer and if not what do Ineed to do


Thank you for your question;
While I am not an attorney nor any longer a licensed claims adjuster, I cannot provide you legal advice but I can share with you my 35 years of experience and what I would do if in your situation. Additionally, I don't know what state you reside and as such its laws and regulations regarding such matters.

First of all, your son is entitled to be put back in his pre-loss better and nor worse.

Since the vehicle has been deemed to be a total loss by the insurer, the only means of restoring him is to provide you the funds needed to enable him to get another vehicle just as he had...this would include the year, make, model and to the condition it was (i.e. ready for refinishing).

One way to determine the pricing would be to attain another 1980 F100 SWB body/chassis that he can have his engine and power train, wheels, interior etc. installed and prepared just as his was before the loss and the cost to do so. In this instance he would not be required to buy back his truck as it's components would be needed to restore him.
...or...if available, the insurer can locate and provide him another 1980 F100 SWB in the same condition (mileage, options, improvements etc), or better than his was prior to the loss. Again.. the at-fault party owes him what it would take to place him in the same condition as prior to the loss...their insurer is involved to protect them and their financial assets by handling that for them just as you would hope your insurer would.

To determine what the truck's replacement cost is may require a court approved expert or licensed public adjuster to assist you as it would not necessarily be in your son's best interest to merely rely upon the insurer to do so in a fair and equitable manner. You can demand that the insurer provide you the information they relied upon to determine their replacement value so you can scrutinize the information and contact the comparable vehicles they relied upon to verify the information. Oftentimes insurers engage the services of those like CCC Value Scope to do this for them and often times the information has been found to be erroneous and at best questionable.

Note that in some states the cost of such assistance may be recoverable from the insurer if it is found that they attempted to underpay your some states this is a cost you would have to incur.

Your son may also be entitled to loss of use for the time he's without a vehicle unless the insurer has provided a rental during the time from the loss to the time a reasonable settlement is offered/made.

I hope this helps you in asserting your son's rights for a proper and equitable settlement.


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Barrett Smith


Auto Claim and Collision Repair issues including quality and thoroughness of repair, Diminished Value, Total Loss settlement valuation, Appraisal Clause matters, Expert Testimony, pre-purchase inspections and others. While having been a Senior Claims Adjuster, I am not licensed to practice law and cannot provide legal counsel. I will provide replies as friendly and informal advice based upon my experiences and those of our clients as possible. For more information on our offerings please visit For more informatin on our offerings please visit


I grew up working in a family owned auto body repair business my father owned and operated in Alaska and after leaving the US Air Force I started my own repair facility in Florida. I later became a senior claims adjuster for a national auto insurer and later managed two GM dealership collision centers. I started another shop which was recognized as a "Top Shop" in central Florida for over 15 years winning numerous local accolades and awards such as Business of the Year. In 2001 I developed Auto Damage Experts to provide its services nation wide and to all segments illustrating balance and equity for all ADE clients. For more information please visit

ASA (Automotive Service Association), SCRS, CCRE and others... For more information please request CV or visit

Local and national publications including but not limited to Auto Body Repair News (ABRN), Body Shop Business (BSB) and others. For more information please request CV or visit

ASE Master Certified in collision repair/refinishing including damage diagnosis and estimating. Please request CV or visit

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As a quality Collision Repair facility owner, we received Top shop, Small Business of the year and other awards and accolades. Please request CV for additional information in this regard.

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ADE provides services to all segments including Legal professionals, Consumers, Auto Dealers, Insurers, Governmental and judicial entities. For more information please request CV or visit

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