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  • Writer's picturePaul Fulmer

What you need to know about Auto Total Loss

Agents- There seems to be a lot of bad information about total loss autos. In our agency we help a lot of people with their total loss autos. On average they are getting 25% more for their total loss vehicle. We are putting money in their pocket. For some reason they seem to like that a lot.

So let’s start with the basics.

Please stop telling people with a total loss to go on the internet and find a comparable vehicle and submit it to the carrier. It just gets added to the other comparable vehicles and watered down. For example, the 5 comparable in the evaluation report, is now 6. Even if the new comp is $1200 more, it’s watered down to $200 more. Tends to piss off the client because they spent all that time researching, for just a $200 bump.

Telling people to use the appraisal process is not helping your client. This clause is for the benefit of the carrier to avoid being sued. It is not the best resource to get the client more money for their vehicle. It's a lot of work, slow process, and yields very low results, if any.

Total Loss Evaluation reports - Get a copy! Under the Unfair claims Practices Act they have to provide it to you.

Appraiser - the individual who actually looks at the car and determines the value. Fewer companies are doing this in house, most of the industry is outsourcing this to companies like CCC. Ask yourself, why do insurance carriers use 3rd party appraisers? To save money! How are they saving the carrier money? By using their data to come up with comparable cars, to offer you the very least they can legally justify. Kind of sounds like a conflict of interest.

Adjuster - the (very busy) person who is the go between the appraiser and the customer, and is the one who actually authorizes the payment.

WHAT TO DO: Tell Your customers to get a copy of the total loss report and read it line by line. Look at the VIN, make sure it is correct. They pull the VIN and the car features based on what the manufacturer put on the car. If someone added something to the car after it was manufactured, it may not be listed as a feature. Review the comparable vehicles. #1) if there are more than 5 comparable vehicles - Red Flag. If the comparables are more than a 100 miles away - Red Flag. If the highest $ comparable is more than $2000 above the lowest comparable - Red Flag.

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