How Do Insurance Companies Determine a Cars Value When Totaling It?

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How do insurance companies determine a car's value when totaling it out?

1. T pay you and take the car (oh, and if it’s old, consider the offer a low-ball commitment to buy the car; comprehensive insurance means that you’ve “pre-sold” your car for $3500). 2. Then t mark the title as salvage and send it to an auction house. 3. If you want to buy it from the auction house, you can, but you’ll have to get it inspected to get a new tag put on it. — You can’t buy the car back from them at 1 or 2 because then it would look like impropriety on the part of the insurance company (if t gave you $3500 for the car and you bought it back for $500 without it being “salvaged”… that doesn’t look valid; either t overpaid you for your car or you are getting a sweetheart deal), so t generally won’t let you buy it back from them until it’s been at least appraised by an auction house (no, not Mecum… think Red Top Mountain Auto Salvage). So… before bringing it in to be appraised, (step 0.) strip everything you can that’s not stock that you might want to keep if you can (taking the exhaust is going to be a no-go, but if you go to pull-a-part and get steelies instead of your ultimate-billet-alloy-wheels), and decide if you want to take their offer.

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If you don’t think your title is salvage at all, it is (you can't take that 3500 car off the lot and put it back on their lots as salvage, not if the dealer is paying 500 at this stage; if t pays you 3500 to buy the car, they have no basis to make the transaction seem salvage). You will need to take an appraisal of the car, although this part of the process can be skipped entirely because you will be able to buy the new tag from the auction house in time for the car to come in to be appraised when it comes in to be evaluated (Step 2.), so it will be up to you if you want to put in the extra time to do this for the new tag, or whether you want to wait until it comes in to be appraised..