The Good News: On Day 11, the adjuster informed me that he would go ahead and authorize a rental car for me. (Nice gesture, except that I'd been in one since the night of the wreck, and had gotten out of it on Day 10, in accordance with the topic of my next post.)
The Bad News: An inspector / adjuster has now looked at what's left of our old Honda. As expected, it's a total loss. He called me this past Friday to make sure that he had the car's options correct, and to let me know that he would rate its condition as "Very Good" — supposedly the highest rating he could give it. Then he proceeded to inform me of all the car's shortcomings (faded door moldings, tires only 5/32" tread remaining, etc.). It doesn't take a Google-employed Ph.D. to figure out that they're gonna low-ball the value as much as possible. Insurance companies, after all, aren't in business to hand out as much money as they can.
We have an appointment scheduled with the adjuster for tomorrow evening. I don't know whether to expect any sort of settlement offer(s) at this meeting. However, when the need arises, I now have in my Counteroffer Weapons Stash:
1) A pile of printed pages from Autotrader.com which show that, within a 200-mile radius of my zip code, no vehicles matching our 1995 Honda (same trim level, mileage, etc.) exist. Of those that are "relatively similar," price tags start at $4,900 or so.
2) Printed NADA tables showing the retail value of our Honda to be ~$4,150.
3) Two letters containing "expert opinions" (read: local dealership used-car managers' assessments) of the retail value of our Honda. Both state that they would ask $5,900 or $5,995 for the car. And both seemed to feel that they would easily sell it for $5,000 or just a nudge below. (I was surprised that both of their assessed values matched so closely; I hadn't prompted those dollar values at all.) I collected these opinions from my dealership's used-car manager, as well as from a local Honda dealer's general manager.
"I would kill to have that car on my lot," the Honda manager told me. "But it won't happen, because the folks who have cars like that won't give them up. You won't find one like that anywhere."
Which is precisely why this whole sordid affair makes me so mad.
And to top it all off, I'm back in debt again. And in a big way. Check out my next post!
Posts In This Series
How Quickly It All Changes, Part 1
How Quickly It All Changes, Part 2
And Now We Wait ... Some More
There's Something New In the Garage
How Quickly It All Changes, Part 3