United States & New York state here. Although the first few paragraphs might make it seem like a legal question, it is not! It's an insurance question, and more specifically, about how to handle a particular aspect of an insurance claim.

I am trying to help out my elderly mother. Her car was legally parked in a supermarket parking lot last week and another man accidentally rammed her car while driving by it. Thankfully she was in the store when this happened and no one was hurt, including the other driver.

The police labeled it as an accident but cited the other driver as being the at-fault party. Because of this, the other driver's insurance is taking effect, and they sent a claim adjuster to review the damages to my mother's car. They have deemed her car to be a "total loss" and unsafe to drive.

They want to cut her a check for an appallingly low figure. Her car was in mint condition, had all sorts of special aftermarket accessories (remote starter, etc.) and even Kelley Blue Books puts its value way above what they are saying it's worth.

My question: what are her options here?

Can she hire an independent adjuster to review the first adjuster's analysis/assessment? Can she appeal the assessment? Does she get to have full access to all the information the current adjuster used to make his assessment of the value of her vehicle?

  • 3
    What did your mother's insurance company say? (In Australia, it is common for your own insurance company to first cover you to whatever the policy says, then go after the other party's insurance company. My impression is that if you're insured, it shouldn't matter to you what the other insurance company values your car at. But things might be different in your country.)
    – Lawrence
    Sep 12, 2019 at 18:00
  • 1
    You always have the option to sue in a tort case for the fair damages as assessed by an agent of your own choosing. If she tells the insurance she is going to do this and provides the estimate from her own agent they may be inclined to negotiate to avoid court.
    – Vality
    Sep 12, 2019 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


Start with going back to the insurance company telling them their offer is too low, and provide specifics on what you've listed above regarding KBB and after-market accessories. The'll most likely up their offer.

I was in a very similar case last year when a cab hit my parked car. After some back and forth they raised their offer significantly to get closer to what the car was worth. Suing is also an option, but it'll be a lot more time consuming and expensive.


Your mom needs to file her own claim against HER insurance. What happens when you get into an accident is you take the car to get repaired and your insurance covers the repairs. Then, your insurance company subrogates against the at-fault party's insurance (i.e. tries to recoup money from the other person's insurance). DO NOT CONTACT THE OTHER PARTY'S INSURANCE COMPANY - give that company's information to YOUR company when you call them.

  • There is an option in NY for your insurance company to be a middle-man or if you want to deal with the other insurance company yourself, unfortunately.
    – paulj
    Jan 21, 2020 at 21:02
  • I have the option to step out into the street in front of a moving bus, but that doesn't mean its a good option. The best thing to do is always go through your own insurance company, and if you're not at-fault it won't count against you at renewal.
    – Ben
    Feb 20, 2020 at 22:03

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