After the insurance company says a car is a total loss, they will often try to deduct storage fees from your total loss settlement, or the insurance company will try to deduct repair fees paid to the collision repair shop out of your total loss settlement.
A common example we see is the insurance company first says the vehicle is repairable. They write a very low estimate, if they even write an estimate at all. The insurance company never sends an adjuster to inspect the car. The adjuster only looks at photographs to write their estimate. The collision repair shop starts to break the vehicle down, order parts, and begin repairs. The shop submits supplements to the insurance company and then after weeks of delay (or months) the insurance company says the vehicle is totaled.
Insurance Company takes too long to make an offer
After the insurance company totals the car, then the delays continue as it becomes difficult getting an offer from the insurance company for the value of the car. Or, if the insurance company makes an offer, they delaying in explaining the number or sending you the valuation report.
If you’re lucky, the insurance company will negotiate with you and review comparables you send them. But most times, despite the errors in their total loss valuation, the insurance will refuse to negotiate with you.
At this point, sometimes months after the car accident, you finally give up and just accept the amount the insurance company is offering.
Then, a bad deal gets worse.
For the first time, the insurance company tells you they aren’t going to pay for some of the charges the collision repair shop incurred – writing the estimate, breaking down the vehicle, taking photographs for the insurance company, ordering parts, and storing the car.
Now the insurance company is subtracting the charges from the collision repair shop out of your total loss settlement.
A Florida auto insurance policy requires the insurance company to pay you the actual cash value of your vehicle.
By deducting storage fees from your total loss settlement, or by deducting repair fees from your total loss settlement, the insurance company is not fulfilling the requirement under the policy to pay you the actual cash value.
Insurance companies are slow. Since COVID, their response times have been slower than ever. Then they want to blame you, their insured, for incurring fees that help them do their jobs.
Generally, insurance companies cannot deduct storage fees from your total loss settlement.
Our law firm has helped others in the past who did not receive the full value of their vehicle from their insurance company.
Unfortunately, on March 24, 2023 Florida law changed drastically. If your accident or loss occurred after this date, we may not be able to represent you due to these changes.
However, we do offer a free consultation: (407) 848-5800 and would be happy to discuss your case with you.
Unsure how to evaluate your insurance company’s total loss valuation? Read our article on How to Dispute a CCCOne Total Loss Report.