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Total Loss.

Having a dispute with a tenant or landlord? Rental Law discussion

Total Loss.

Postby Joben » Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:10 pm

My vehicle was declared a Total Loss by USAA.  We agreed on a value. USAA's designated salvage yard, CoPart picked the vehicle up on 5/5/2011.  I mailed the title on the same day overnight via USPS to CoPart, as instructed by USAA.  USPS confirmed that CoPart received and signed for the title on 5/6/2011.  The title can now not be found.  The insurance company sent me a partial payment of 83.33% appx. a week later.  Since that time I have received no additional information or assistance.  I have called them at least once each week and nothing has changed.  I would like to know if the partial payment has reduced my position.  Did accepting the partial payment limit my ability to request further compensation for loss of use and aggravation.  This has caused a great deal of strain to my life, including failing 4 out of 5 classes that I was taking last semester due to lack of transportation to class.  I did not receive a rental vehicle.  Would you please tell me how you would evaluate my position?  Also, any additional advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

ANSWER:   Hello Bradley,

"We agreed on a value".  Now they have paid you less than that?

When you say you agreed, was this verbal, or was there something in writing to verify that value?

Let's take one issue at a time.

As to the lower value you received, you are going to have to demand an explanation. Since calling has clearly not solved the problem, you are going to need to send correspondence to the adjuster and the claims manager.  Call the company first and ask who the claims manager is for your claim number.  If they put you through, speak to him/her.  Either way, address the manager in writing.  Send the letter return receipt.

You need to ask specifically why your agreed upon settlement has not been honored.  Ask specifically where it says in your policy that they have the right to devalue your claim.  (It won't say that by the way.)

Give them a time limit to respond, and if they do not, suggest you will hire an attorney or that you will consider legal action.

As for the title being lost, that is Copart's problem.  If your insurance company is using that as leverage to deny your full payment, you need to provide the proof that it was received at Copart and that withholding payment to you because of it is unacceptable.  By the way, this would be a very unusual circumstance, and in my opinion, is ill advised.

As to your suffering, there are two issues.  First, do you have rental reimbursement or rental coverage?  If so, did you file a claim for this?  If not, or if you don't have it, I would suggest you consider it in the future.  The coverage is not expensive.

Second, you don't mention how your car was totaled, but your coverage would fall under either collision or comprehensive. Neither of those coverages provides for suffering.

Finally, if you signed the partial settlement check was there a release involved?  In other words, did you agree that this would be your full and final payment?  If not, this should not effect the balance on the agreed settlement.  Unless, of course, they have just arbitrarily decided not to pay you the full amount for some reason.  In that case, you have a right to know why.

You can go to my website for further details on claim help, and how to specifically deal with claim delays.  I suggest you read the articles, then act.

That website is http://SolutionsForYourInsuranceClaim.com

Hope this helps.  Good luck!

Jane Pytelhttp://SolutionsForYourInsuranceClaim.com http://FloridaAutoInsuranceCentral.com

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

I failed to mention that the accident that totaled my car was not my fault.  USAA is the at-fault driver's insurance company.  

They sent me a partial payment because the title had been lost.  They said that they would not pay me in full because they may need a further action on my end, such as filing for and mailing them a duplicate title.  

If the matter had been resolved within say a week of mailing the title, I would not even be considering asking for additional compensation, but this is ridiculous.  Each time I call USAA they say that CoPart is still trying to locate the title and they will call me when CoPart lets them know something.  

I did everything I was supposed to do, which was all that I could do.  It seems to be joint negligence between USAA and CoPart that is causing this issue.

The specific answers to your questions are:  

All communication between USAA and myself has been verbal.  I have never seen anything in writing.  

I have never spoken to the actual adjuster who is assigned to my claim.  They gave me her extension, but every time, and I do mean every time, I dial her extension I get her voicemail.  I have been intrsucted to dial "0" when her voicemail picks up to speak to another representative.

Again, this is not my insurance company, but I will look into whether or not my own policy has rental coverage.  I was asked by the USAA approved body-shop that did the estimate which led to the total loss if I would like a rental car, but I declined.

The partial payment did not include any additional agreement.  I did not release anything.  I did not accept the payment in place of the original amount.  It seemed at the time to be their way of showing me that I could trust that they would resolve the issue.  

My concern is this:  By Accepting the partial payment, did I limit myself to the amount initially agreed to?  Or is it now possible to get the loss of use for the time that has passed since they received my title.  The USPS has verified that the title was signed for and received by CoPart(I don't know if I had mentioned this already) more than 30 days ago.

Thank you very much for your specific response and for the information that is posted on your website.
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:30 am

Total Loss.

Postby Lewi » Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:23 pm

Hello Again Bradley ...

Well that certainly puts a whole new light on things!

USAA has accepted liability and they owe you the full value of your loss. Period.

The idea that they would withhold a portion of your payment because Copart has lost the title is nothing short of outrageous.

Right off the bat, I would inquire(you can do it online) about filing a complaint against them with your state insurance department(DOI).  Do your homework first, see how this might be done, even call them if needed for further information.  Then advise USAA in writing that you have filed a complaint with the DOI, and that you demand an immediate and full settlement of your claim.

When you send the correspondence(registered receipt) enclose verification that Copart received the title.  As I said before, this is Copart's problem.  It is nothing short of an outrage that USAA is holding you responsible for Copart - who is their agent.

It is also absolutely unacceptable that the adjuster will not speak to you.  Follow my previous instructions.  Call the number with your claim number in hand and politely demand to speak to the claims manager.  (Call or contact DOI first.)  Then, following the conversation follow up in writing.

There is something else you must do.  I'm not clear on whether or not you rented a car.  If you did, the liability carrier owes you for the rental.  This has nothing to do with you coverage.  The at fault carrier must pay for your rental car, if you obtained one. If you have not been able to replace your car because they have refused to settle with you for the full amount, then I would demand a rental car until such time that they settle with you for the full value of your claim.  Put this in your letter.  Be very stern, but be polite.

You are entitled to loss of use as I have described.  You would not be eligible for suffering unless that suffering was a result of injuries.  You have not mentioned injuries, so I will assume you have not been injured.

Make sure you read my articles on unfair claims investigations if you have not do so already. And let me know if you need additional follow up.

Good luck!

Jane Pytelhttp://SolutionsForYourInsuranceClaim.com http://FloridaAutoInsuranceCentral.com
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:10 pm

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