Friday, January 20, 2006

How Quickly It All Changes, Part 4

Well, it's been 39 days since the wreck that demolished our Honda.

This past week, I received three checks. I settled my own personal-injury claim (a tad over $500) and was reimbursed for our 10 days of rental car usage ($250). Tuesday we received a check for the settled-upon value of our 1995 Accord. That check, including an allotment for tag, tax, and title change, rang out at $4,082.

Readers may remember from my previous post that the insurance company initially listed my Honda's value as $3,422. I felt that was low, and gathered evidence to support my view.

It took three phone calls back-and-forth (and a fairly sizeable fax session) with the insurance company's "Total Loss" representative, but in the end I garnered another $600+ for my efforts. My goal was to get at least $4,000 for the Best Car I've Ever Owned, and I accomplished that. Barely, but I accomplished it.

The "bargaining" process with the insurance representative wasn't exactly smooth. The moment I suggested that their initial value wasn't going to be acceptable, her kind demeanor pretty much evaporated.

Following is the text of the letter which accompanied my faxed "evidence" of higher cash value for the Honda:

Following please find documentation which I have recently obtained, and which I believe shows our 1995 Honda Accord’s value to be significantly more than the figures with which you presented me during our phone conversation of January 5, 2006.

If, in fact, the “Actual Cash Value” which your company uses is arrived at by the following:

Retail Value (minus) Advertising Costs (minus) Commission (minus) Detail (minus) Haggling Allowance

…then by extension (and using my dealership’s avg. costs for such expenses) we find approximately:

$4888 (minus) $200 (minus) $250 (minus) $110 (minus) $200 = ACV of $4128

Given the documentation and “expert opinions” I have collected, I suspect that I am being fair and conservative regarding the retail value which I use in the computation above. If I am misunderstanding the process and/or value computation, please let me know.

Thank you for your time and attention in this matter.

I didn't get the $4,188 in my formula, obviously, but the final amount wasn't far off. And I'm glad it's done. I now have another four thousand bucks to put toward our new Accord.

So, to sum up, we have yet to settle my wife's and our daughter's personal-injury claims. I'm willing to let this stretch out until my wife feels more comfortable with a decision, and as of last week, she wasn't there yet.

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
How Quickly It All Changes, Part 4

— Posted by Michael @ 11:57 PM


Congrats, Michael, on having this insurance "chapter" behind you. Enjoy that $4,000 debt paydown! How I love that feeling!!

Did you at least get to salvage the car mats from the old Honda? :)



No floor mats. They wouldn't fit the new car, anyway. :)

All I know is that some salvage yard somewhere gets itself a 128k-mile Honda engine in sweet, sweet condition.


Might want to find out exactly where the car was taken and buy the engine!

Good job on the negotiating - I'm sure most people just take the money that is first offered. It pays to do a little homework to get a fairer settlement.


Thanks for sharing your story. This makes me want to just drop the collision on my 95 Nissan, if they are only going to lowball me unless I fight. And you work at a car place, so you have some better resources. Hmm.

It's nice to see you didn't go nuts with an attorney for the personal injury part, although I hope you get a fair shake on that too.

** Comments Closed on this Post **

Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
[About Our Liquid Savings Goal]