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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?

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    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 at 18:00
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    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 at 18:36
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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.

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