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Brown 2008 2 5I standard
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posted 13 Feb: Frontend Collision 5 to 10 MPN question

Hi Outback friends: It turns out the Collision was around 25/30 MPH.
My Insurance question / aggravation is with my agent.
I called the accident in on Monday morning and by 3 pm I was asked to release the car to them from the tow yard. The Agent (who now says she is also an adjuster) Ashley towed it off to the “total loss” graveyard of CoParts. Not a nice place in N. Salt Lake City.
My appointment to meet the “real” adjuster was on 14 Feb which I am mostly sure was the 1st time the Auto Owners saw the car.
My Aggravation is that CoParts treated the car like a total loss. Items (my propriety) stolen from the car and ransacked, everything tossed in the back. Also dragged thru the mud and moved by forklift.
The pisser: I was not given the opportunity to get a few estimates to find out if the car could be repaired regardless of the INS total loss math. With 72K miles, I had just put Bridgestone tires and did the 60K service, also the car was truly immaculate shape.
Many Subaru collision shops assured me it could be fixed. So my question is what would be my remedy or a reasonable request from my insurance agent for miss handling my Outback? Any ideas would be appreciated. By the way….
Thank God and Subaru that all involved are well. I am so grateful is just small stuff to take care of.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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When you total your car it still is yours. You can keep it, dismantle it and sell parts (if you have a place or storage available off the street). I totalled few, last one was Mazda MPV in FL when hail storm damaged body beyond repair - to fix it, it would cost more than the car was worth - but I kept the car. You can re-register it... some States allow that... and sell it with disclaimer that it was totalled...(which I did)... it will also show that on original title.
It all depends on your insurance company! Their policies vary - I have Geico and they were pretty good about it.
But as you described your mis-handling, I don't know if you have any recourse in your case.

Correction to above:
I researched my receipts, claims and my memory and the correct statement should have been that my insurance company's adjuster told me that the repair would exceed the value of the car and asked me, if I want it totalled (they would pay me some ridiculous amount). I declined, insurance company did not pay me anything and therefore I kept the car. The damages were just dimples from hails (pain wasn't damaged through to the bare metal) and I was able to sell the car "as is" ... sorry for misleading post above....
 

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Ask for arbitration to settle this matter.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5 Premium 6mt
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I have State Farm and had a car get totaled due to hail damage. Once they pay you for the car, its theirs. In my case, I bought it back from them for salvage value (something like 15% or 20% of the total value) and kept on driving it with a branded title. State Farm is pretty decent to deal with overall.

Out of curiosity, what insurance company did you have? It sounds like a company with poor policies.

Also, with airbags being deployed, you are looking at a lot of $$$ to fix. There are many other parts you will have to replace just from the airbags being deploying (an example is the seat belt pre-tensionors). I know just from hitting deer without air bag deployment in other cars, you are at least into it $3,000 to $4,000 just for a hood, grille, headlight assembly, the associated small parts, and paint. Add a lot more if your radiator and fenders needs replacement. From my quick google search, airbags cost about $1,500 a piece to replace. So, between my minimal estimate of $4,000 for body parts and $3,000 for airbags, it is going to be AT LEAST $7,000 for repairs. If you also need a front bumper, fog lights, both headlights, both fenders, windshield (often times those get cracked from the passenger airbag), radiator, air conditioner condenser, and other small parts, you will realistically be well above $10,000.

Finally, don't expect to get the full retail blue book value. That never happens with insurance companies. The best advice I can offer is don't accept their first offer.
 

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Brown 2008 2 5I standard
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I have State Farm and had a car get totaled due to hail damage. Once they pay you for the car, its theirs. In my case, I bought it back from them for salvage value (something like 15% or 20% of the total value) and kept on driving it with a branded title. State Farm is pretty decent to deal with overall.

Out of curiosity, what insurance company did you have? It sounds like a company with poor policies.

Also, with airbags being deployed, you are looking at a lot of $$$ to fix. There are many other parts you will have to replace just from the airbags being deploying (an example is the seat belt pre-tensionors). I know just from hitting deer without air bag deployment in other cars, you are at least into it $3,000 to $4,000 just for a hood, grille, headlight assembly, the associated small parts, and paint. Add a lot more if your radiator and fenders needs replacement. From my quick google search, airbags cost about $1,500 a piece to replace. So, between my minimal estimate of $4,000 for body parts and $3,000 for airbags, it is going to be AT LEAST $7,000 for repairs. If you also need a front bumper, fog lights, both headlights, both fenders, windshield (often times those get cracked from the passenger airbag), radiator, air conditioner condenser, and other small parts, you will realistically be well above $10,000.

Finally, don't expect to get the full retail blue book value. That never happens with insurance companies. The best advice I can offer is don't accept their first offer.
what insurance company did you have? Auto Owners. I was told you really never want a repaired car. The adjuster I met showed me the bent frame and that the engine took some impact. What got me is I trusted my car's care to Auto Owners. I did not give my consent for anyone to treat it as junk, until we had an agreement. thanks tom
 

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what insurance company did you have? Auto Owners. I was told you really never want a repaired car. The adjuster I met showed me the bent frame and that the engine took some impact. What got me is I trusted my car's care to Auto Owners. I did not give my consent for anyone to treat it as junk, until we had an agreement. thanks tom
Its a total loss if the frame is bent and the engine is pushed back. Having a repaired car isn't that big of an issue if it is repair right and it was only cosmetic or light mechanical damage. With that being said, I refuse to own a vehicle that had a bent frame.

It isn't right that they were treating your car like they did before the settlement. Often times, insurers will want to get the car out of the wrecker yard ASAP to avoid high cost storage fees, which is understandable. What isn't understandable is causing more damage to the car before an agreement is made with you.

Hopefully they offered you a fair value for the car.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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Correct me if I am wrong but Subaru does not have a "frame"... it's a unibody. Any decent body shop or dismantler (at least in Calif) can fix (stretch) bent unibody to almost perfect OEM specs...I have a friend there, who does it and re-sells these cars with "tarnished" title...
 

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You actually have two issues. First, the damage from the accident. Second, the additional damage and negligence of the tow yard. When I worked for Allstate, we had a contract with a tow yard for towing and storage. So, you could argue with your insurance company that the tow company they are contracting with caused additional damage and your insurance company should pay for it. Or, you could take the tow yard to, maybe, small claims court. But, I would argue that you had every expectation that your insurance company would utilize a competent tow company. If their employees are stealing, your insurance company should stop dealing with them.

Take photos!!

Personally, with the additional damage, I would NOT want this car back. You can ask extra for the settlement for the brand new tires you just put on. They will argue it's normal maintenance but they should also make an adjustment for the new tires. We always took tire tread measurements on our "totals." You can always tell if the car was well taken care of or if it was indifferently maintained.

Good luck. Really, no one wins in these situations. But, you should put your insurance company on notice concerning the poor practices of the tow yard they are contracting with.
 

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What did you sign and did you get paid for the car before all this happened?

If nothing - then they sound liable to some degree. I'd hold my ground and look for some reasonable act on their part - I'd act as if they damaged your car without any accident being involved. Just because a car is wrecked does not give anyone else the right to abuse it and devalue it.

Every junk yard or tow company would have an incentive to go purposefully damage a vehicle they are towing. That's plain stupid, don't support that asinine business model.

Some notes, having done lots of Subaru rebuilds:

1. at 25 mph - you do not have "frame damage" or anything to render the car not worth repairing. even mechanics will incorrectly say "bent" when really what happens to a subaru is the control arm or strut are bent or the fender rail is kinked - all three of those are what happens to a Subaru and are easily remedied. people get apocalyptic when they haven't actually rebuilt Subaru's.

2 - air bags are no big deal. newer Subaru's get more complicated with side impact air bags, explosive charged one-time-use seat belt pretensioners that have to be replaced...it's all easy bolt on stuff, i've done it. Anything is expensive if you buy all the parts from the dealer, but this stuff is easily had for reasonable prices used, ebay, etc.

heck you can even cut the air bags out/remove them and drive the car as a beater, around the property, or until you find a suitable replacement. not a big deal. i've seen vehicles with non-working air bag systems before that were prior wrecks with the air bags removed. not a big deal. in the mid-90's you could simply put non-air bag vehicle parts into a wrecked air bag vehicle if you were worried about it...not that there's any reason to not repair it properly. air bag sets can be had for $50 - $100.
 

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OP,

It's really hard for us to evaluate whether or not your car was repairable without pictures. We have to go on what you say and not what we see. Blindingly saying that a 25 mph crash is never a total is slightly misleading. Saying it's unlikely a 25mph crash is a total would be more accurate. It's not uncommon for people to overstate or understate damage on a car.

Insurance companies have a job to do and it's not always to look out for you. They are looking to make money, not take care of you. They have incentive's to pay you as little as possible. Your job now is to get as much money as you can for replacement. If you still owed money on the car let your bank know and they can be a great resource and have more leverage with your insurance than you. The Bank wants to get paid and will not like that their asset gets under valued. They won't do the work for you but you are now going to war, you need all the allies you can get.

If you have not signed anything yet you still have leverage to get "good value" for your car. I've owned a few classic cars in my day and the law works on market value NOT Bluebook, so ignore any comments about that.

Do you research:
1) Figure out what cars like yours are selling for in your area. Get a binder and have at least 5 comparable cars to yours, same options. Have a range in prices and conditions but have 3 of them that you feel are like your car and the price you want. The more examples you have the better.
2) Add to the binder pictures of your car. Bring all the receipts for everything you have added and maintained and be prepared to discuss them.
3) Say as little as possible, volunteer less and stay on point about what you feel the value of your car is. Be polite, saddened and firm.
4) Less is more. Don't talk at all but answer any questions they have. Insurance people are used to listening all the time, you can make them feel very uncomfortable be being quiet.

I got this advice from a top executive at a major insurance company. Using this strategy I have have always received top replacement value or repairs that I wanted. I had a 1977 Nova that I bought for $400 dollars, restored with over $5000 in parts, and got them to fix it which cost more than $5000. Bluebook was $350 and the car had over 200k original miles. That's not my only example either. I was able to prove the value that I thought of my car to the adjuster.

Play the game to win. It's your baby that got destroyed and you want full value!
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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You still own the car until you sign the title over to whoever it is asking for it. If the car is ransacked in a yard without your permission then file a police report.

A towyard/junkyard are supposed to isolate insurance cars from the general population until they get title to the car from the insurance company. Whoever holds the title owns the car.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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You still own the car until you sign the title over to whoever it is asking for it. If the car is ransacked in a yard without your permission then file a police report.
this. the one out they have is if you signed anything...giving them permission to tow....usually means a disclaimer like "not responsible for thefts...etc"....i've always wondered how that can hold up in a court of law - that means any tow company can not put any thought or reponsibilitiy into protecting a vehicle under their care and let it get pillaged....seems weird but it happens.
 

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When you total your car it still is yours.
No it's not. If an insurance company totals a car and cuts a check then they own the car.

Totaled Car Guide: What To Do When Your Car Is Totaled | Nationwide.com

After your auto insurance company gives you the check for the totaled car value, it owns the vehicle. Oftentimes, the vehicle will be sold at auction – usually for parts – with proceeds going to the insurance company.
The Truth About 'Totaled' Cars: How to Keep Yours | Fox Business

Keeping a Vehicle that Your Car Insurance Company has Totaled
If you decide to accept the insurer's decision to total your car but you still want to keep it, your insurer will pay you the cash value of the vehicle, minus any deductible that is due and the amount your car could have been sold for at a salvage yard. It then will be up to you to arrange to make repairs.
How to Sell a Car That's Been Totaled - CarsDirect

Step 2: Salvage the Car

Once your car is totaled you can now sell it to your insurance company. This will make the car a salvage car. Some insurance companies will buy the car and salvage it themselves, meaning you won’t have the option to sell it. Since insurance companies often pay you, the owner, the money for the totaled car, they have first rights to do with it as they wish. As legally they now own the vehicle.
EDIT: I just read your edit to your post, I guess it's moot. :29:
 

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No it's not. If an insurance company totals a car and cuts a check then they own the car.
i think it depends on the definition of "totaled" someone is using and what insurance arrangement you have and part of the process you're in.

until something is signed - as with cutting check like you said - it is still yours. if you're wanting to negotiate a buy back, which people do, then you incurred a loss by the vandalism and tow truck company.
 

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i think it depends on the definition of "totaled" someone is using and what insurance arrangement you have and part of the process you're in.

until something is signed - as with cutting check like you said - it is still yours. if you're wanting to negotiate a buy back, which people do, then you incurred a loss by the vandalism and tow truck company.
The insurance company just cutting a check does not mean you accepted their settlement! Now if you deposited or cashed the check that is a different story!
 
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