Consumer FAQs

The following are answers to a few of the questions we often hear from consumers. Don’t see your question answered here? Contact us and we’ll help you find an answer.
No! Today’s automobiles are too complex for an accurate visual estimate. A drive-in claims center often doesn’t have the equipment needed for examining your vehicle properly. And even if it does, it doesn’t have a representative from your body shop to make certain that all the damage is assessed. There is only one place for the adjuster to examine your vehicle: At the shop of your choice!
A good body shop will take the time to do the job right. Sometimes it may encounter delays when necessary parts are not available locally. Expect an estimate of when the work will be done, but not a promise.
Be aware of the “Appraisal Clause” in your insurance policy. If the insurance company and the body shop cannot agree on what the repairs should cost, this could provide a means for fair settlement.
Every appraiser is required to reinspect damaged vehicles when supplementary allowances are requested by repair shops.
Your adjuster can obtain a competitive estimate from another shop only by having that shop’s owner or his authorized agent physically inspect your automobile.
No. Do not be pressured into having work done by a shop simply because of a lower price.
The cost to repair your vehicle is actually more than its value as determined by law. For example, if your vehicle’s repair cost is $1,000. and its value is $500, the insurer will pay you the value of the vehicle plus sales tax.  The insurer, in essence, is buying your wrecked vehicle from you.
The insurer must provide you a copy of the paperwork that will explain how they arrived at the valuation. In calculating the value of a totaled vehicle, the insurer is required by law to use at least the average of the retail value given by the National Automobile Dealers Association Used Car Guide otherwise known as the NADA and any other publicly available automotive industry source approved by the Insurance Commissioner.

The following is the CT Statute, the Insurance Commissioner’s approved additional sources that may be used for valuation and the link to the NADA website.

Connecticut General Statute Section 38a-353
Sec. 38a-353. (Formerly Sec. 38-175y). Calculation of settlement amount on totalled motor vehicle. Disclosures required.
(a) Whenever any damaged motor vehicle covered under an automobile insurance policy has been declared to be a constructive total loss by the insurer, the insurer shall, in calculating the value of such vehicle for purposes of determining the settlement amount to be paid to the claimant, use at least the average of the retail values given such vehicle by (1) the National Automobile Dealers Association used car guide or any other publicly available automobile industry source that has been approved for such use by the Insurance Commissioner, and (2) one other automobile industry source that has been approved for such use by said commissioner. For the purposes of this section, “constructive total loss” means the cost to repair or salvage damaged property, or the cost to both repair and salvage such property, equals or exceeds the total value of the property at the time of loss.
(b) The insurer shall provide to the claimant, not later than the date the insurer pays the claimant the settlement amount for such vehicle, (1) a detailed copy of such insurer’s calculation of such vehicle’s constructive total loss value, (2) if applicable, a copy of any valuation report provided to the insurer by any automobile industry source that is not publicly available, and (3) a written notice disclosing that the claimant may dispute such settlement amount by contacting the Insurance Department. The written notice shall include the following statement, which shall appear in the final paragraph of the notice in not less than twelve-point type: “If you do not agree with this valuation, you may contact the Consumer Affairs Division within the Insurance Department”. The notice shall include the address and toll-free telephone number for the division and the Insurance Department’s Internet address.
Other Automobile Industry Sources Approved by the Insurance Commissioner:
  1. Automobile Red Book—Prism Business Media, Inc.
    9800 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, KS 66282-2901
    (800) 654-6776
    www.pricedigest.com
  2. Mitchell International, Inc.
    9889 Willow Creek Road, San Diego, CA 92131
    (800) 854-7030
    www.mitchell.com
  3. CCC Information Services, Inc.
    222 Merchandise Mart, Suite 444, Chicago, IL 60654-1005
    (800) 621-8070
    www.cccis.com
  4. Audatex North America, Inc. (formerly ADP) Bishop Ranch 1
    6111 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 200, San Ramon, CA 94583
    (925) 866-1100
    www.audatex.us
  5. AutoBid Services, LLC.
    8900 Indian Creek Parkway, Suite 450 Shawnee Mission, KS 66210
    (800) 875-2217
    www.autobid.com
  6. Vehicle Valuation Service 1 South
    450 Summit Ave., Suite 185 Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
    (888) 475-9975
    www.v-v-s.com

 

NADA Guide: http://www.nada.com

Yes, but you must be aware of a couple of things first. Here’s an example of how this will work:

  • The value of the vehicle is determined as follows: value at the time of loss using at least the average of the NADA Used Car Guide and one other approved source, less the “salvage value” of the vehicle as determined by the insurance company. (The salvage value is the value of the wrecked car at a salvage car auction, which is where the insurer will sell it if they buy it from you.)
  • You will have to pay for any repairs on your own if you choose to keep the car.
  • The vehicle Title will be stamped “SALVAGE” by the insurer and returned to you.
  • After being repaired, the vehicle must be flat bedded to The Department of Motor Vehicle inspection garage to be inspected and certified safe before it can be allowed back on the road.
  • Extensive documentation of the repairs including pictures must be presented at the time of the inspection.

Please check with the DMV Website for complete details.

Yes, if the insurance company’s repair estimate equals or exceeds the value of the vehicle, it is going to be considered totaled regardless of whether your shop will give you a discount.
Click here to read the State of CT Insurance Department’s most recent statement on Loss of Use.
Most will need to be replaced after any crash. It’s always best that you check your owner’s manual or with the car seat manufacturer for their recommendation.  CarSeatsforTheLittles.org is a great resource with links to many brands and models owner’s manuals.

Have more questions or concerns? Click here to contact us.