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total loss..forced to hand it over...any recourse?

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Posted by MG on January 04, 2002 at 21:19:27:

My son was recently in an accident and handled himself very well.
His defensive driving most likely saved the life of the woman
who pulled out in front of him.
At the onset, she was claiming no fault to both her insurance
comapny and to ours as the officer decided not to cite her....
We asked why and he said that he didn't see the accident but would
indicate on the report and in court if necessary that she was at fault.
All of the back and forth was frustrating, but her insurance company
decided to assume full liability.
I have been researching the "total loss" laws on the internet and
in my state (ohio) insurance web site.
Their insurance company will not reimburse us towing or any rental
car costs even though this occurred over the holidays and they made
no offer for 9 days. We were without a car for that time and continue to be...
My insurance agent said the car rental available up until the check is cut.
We made no medical claims even thought the insurance company kept
stressing for my son to get checked out by a doctor.
We also asked for title/license fee as indicated in documents
I've read but she has ignored this.
Upon the first contact with their company,
they said we were entitled to a rental if they assumed liability.
The OH insurance website says that after the offer of cash value
for a total loss, any responsibility for car rental ceases.
But what about before that?...The adjuster says since the car
is a total loss we cannot ask for these things. She did include tax if we replaced the car within
33 days of her offer....which will be very soon.
We feel the offer is unfair and that the repair estimate made
by someone in a few minutes in my driveway is overblown.
We asked about how the car's value was determined and
she sent a report that shows cars that were avaialable many months ago (supposed to be in the last 30 days in Ohio)
...and the NADA value SHE sent us is what we told her we thought was
fair offer. They also deducted money for a missing stero...which was playing when I started the car for the estimator.
The car is now driveable, but looks like he**. It wasn't driveable initially and needed towing,
but my husband has pulled the fender away from the wheel and the damage is mostly superficial.
It would need a new tire to be road worthy though.
We do not want to go through the hassle of a salvage title and reduced offer etc etc.....
What course of action can I take, if any? My husband says he would like to get estimates on our own
and see if they are within the cash value they are telling us so we can at least keep the car and either repair or salvage it ourselves.
It has many new parts and was on it's way to becoming a was an ongoing project and this is a great disappointment.
I also think i would like to go to several area car dealers and ask how much they would ask for
the car. (not wrecked) Is any of this information worth gathering? Or is it a waste of time since they have
already decided to offer next to nothing? We decided that if we are forced to "sell" our car to them
for a pittance then we will completely trash it and even paint signs on it about how unfair this
situation was. Can we do this?...Will they still pay the claim...they already have their pictures and have made their
offer so it would not be fraudulent at all. It is after all a "total loss." We just don't want to see our car back on the road next month without the
salvage title that we would be forced to get if we kept it.
We've even joked about dismantling it completely and sending it
to her piece by piece....or getting into a demolition derby. I guess it isn't a money's the principal.
The attitude of the adjuster is quite unpleasant.
She kept trying to confuse my husband on the phone and when he asked her for the offer in writing she seemed
angry. She kept telling him he needed to get a salvage title....and he thought
he needed one even if he gave them the car. We just realized that she should be dealing with
me instead of him...because the car is in my name. We joked about telling her that she now needed to send
the offer to me as I don't read his mail and more car rental days are ticking away as no one has ever made me an offer.
But they won't even cover the days before the why would they cover these extra days too.
I just want to be difficult because they have made our lives diffcult for the past few weeks and
they are the ones who are liable. It seems as though they will go out of their wy to claim a total loss on a car
as the law makes it possible for them to get out of their responsibility....what a system...they get to decide
how liable they are!
Any advice?
Thanks for getting this far through my ranting.

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