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Used Car Values Easy to Find

vv-3Determining used car values when you most need them following an accident or other mishap may be easier than you might think to find. When a car or other vehicle is damaged we need to know how much it’s worth so we can get the most out of our insurance company. There are numerous online guides like the Kelley Blue Book and NADA to easily figure the value of your car.

Out of curiosity, I looked up my vehicle, which is a 2002 Chevrolet Tracker with 83,000 miles. The results showed that there are two classifications of value and within those there are values based on condition.  My car in fair condition has a trade-in value of $3500 and a resale value of about $5100. That is assuming that the vehicle is well maintained and has average wear and tear.

This is fairly typical for an older model vehicle. If my car is involved in an accident and it is a total loss, I have some idea of the value but an insurance adjuster would still have to inspect the vehicle and list all the options to figure the vehicle value, including the condition of the paint and the interior as well as the wear on the tires.

80% of all Drivers Overpay for Insurance. Do You? Start Saving Now. As an insurance adjuster in the field, when I have had to discuss the value of a car with the owner, I have often been told of all the maintenance on the car, the new paint job, the new tires, etc. and it has been expected that these expenses would be added onto the value of the car. But tune-ups, oil changes, brake jobs, etc. are normal car maintenance and do not increase the value of the vehicle.

In an insurance claim, the insurance company will typically use a service to check your car against possible replacement vehicles that are what they call “like, kind and quality. ” In my case, they would look to see if there are any 2002 Chevy Trackers with about 83,000 miles and use that to help determine the value of my vehicle.  The idea being that I should be able to purchase about the same vehicle to replace the damaged one.

There are also vehicles that have no more than what is known as transportation value.  These are old cars in poor condition with high mileage.  This can be problematic because this type of car may get you around town but when they are declared a total loss you are only offered a few hundred dollars.

This is where negotiations with your insurance carrier may be required.  The highest used car values are usually only paid after proving a higher price.  Look up the value of your car or other vehicle in Auto Trader  or the classified section of your newspaper online to see if there are vehicles that would be equivalent to your vehicle and discuss this with the adjuster.  There may be a way to reasonably adjust the value to get you back into a vehicle that will provide transportation again.

Sometimes, vehicles are damaged within days of purchase so using the normal guides do not accurately reflect the value. In these rare cases, most companies will depreciate the vehicle by mileage and subtract that from the purchase price, which is the most equitable way to handle the situation. But it would usually only apply to vehicles that have 1000 or less miles on the odometer.  This most commonly comes up in cases where there has been flooding and a brand new car is declared totaled.

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