How To: Tips to handle Total Loss Claims. My experience with my Total Loss Claim - Nissan Armada Forum: Armada & Infiniti QX56 Forums
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation How To: Tips to handle Total Loss Claims. My experience with my Total Loss Claim

I believe this qualifies as a How-To. If you are reading this because you need to, my condolences on your accident, loss of your Armada and I hope no one was hurt. If you are reading this because you just came across it, then make sure to do one thing to be proactive: KEEP ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS. I'll explain what receipts below. There are several things that people don't know about insurance companies and Total Loss Claims that they don't tell you about. There are thousands and thousands of dollars you could VERY likely get back if you read about my experience with my Total Loss Claim I had just recently. In my case, if I did not know and pursue this, the difference from the first offer from the check I got, after paying off my loan, was over $7,500. I got back over $13,800. If I would have accepted the 1st offer, like most people do, would have been around $6500 after my payoff amount of $14,7xx.

I want to point one thing out before I go on any further. When I say the word, "Offer;" I use that term loosely. When the insurance company says they valuated your vehicle and claim, the amount comes to $XXXXXX Amount. They don't use the term Offer, as it's not really an offer nor is it a word they want to use as it gives people the idea that this amount is negotiable.

I totaled my 2008 GMC Sierra Crew Cab SLT Z-82 Sport August 28th this past year. A lady pulled out 30 yards infront of me on the highway while I had my cruise control set at 68mph. Swerved to miss her and didn't have a chance to hit the brake till I was past her, sideways. Rolled it 4 times. I was taken to the hospital by ambulance and released 2 hours later with bumps and bruises. I bought it brand new in 2008. $38k MSRP with a $6k rebate so I ended up paying $32k for the truck, which was a steal with it being fully loaded. So it was a 4 year old truck, 56k miles and after 3 months of haggling with them, they ended up giving me $28,682 for the truck after reimbursing me for everything listed at the very bottom that you need to make sure you get reimbursed for. I owed $14,7xx on it so minus that and I received a direct deposit of just a tad over $13,800. I turned around and immediately bought my 2004 Armada SE 4x4 for $12,000 in Ohio (Drove 1200 miles one way) with 82k miles, 325/60/18 Nitto Terra Grapplers, American Racing ATX Punisher Black Chrome 18x9 wheels, Bilstein 5100 front Coilovers, 2" Rear Spacer, JL Audio Cleansweep, MA Audio Speakers in the doors, 2 Planet Audio amps, 12" Kenwood Sub in a simple sealed enclosure and a Prodigy Brake Controller and the factory 18" wheels and factory running boards that were taken off the vehicle. I think I got a good deal. If you don't demand to have these finances reimbursed, then they obviously won't just come out and offer it.

It was my second rollover accident. I feel like I need to explain my first rollover accident, since it was in a Nissan Titan and we are on a Nissan Armada message board and the Titan and Armada are pretty much the same. It will first, explain the importance of wearing a seat belt. I guess this is MADD version of Drivers Against No Seat Belts. Secondly, it will explain the build quality and how safe Armada's and Titan's are built, if you see the pictures. Thirdly, it will show you that Nissan Titan/Armada Message Boards are the best of people of any auto message board.
First was in my Titan on January 9th, 2007 (just past my 6 year anniversary a few days ago), Lifted 6.5", with 35" Kumho Road Venture KL78 A/T's that were just a month old. Similar thing happened to me. A car cut me off and in order for me to stay on the road, I tried to get around the car and not hit it, but with the wet road and the speed, my rear end lost grip and I slid across all three lanes of northbound traffic, hit the 3ft median and rolled the Titan 8 times into a tree where I was ejected 40 feet into the tree next to it, where I was impaled. Was taken to the Plano hospital 3 blocks down the street, got me stable and CareFlighted me to Parkland Hospital (Where JFK was taken to) 15 miles in downtown Dallas where I coded in the helicopter. I was in ICU for 3 weeks where I coded another time 3 days later in ICU infront of my mother and my cousin (Only two people allowed in ICU at a time.)

The Community was VERY gracious and offered me so much help. Offered to come by my cousins house, where I was staying at the time where I was bed ridden for 2 more months, to help me with anything from groceries to picking up my medications to later taking me to the Houston Titan/Armada Meet that I was anticipating on going to. My GF at the time, took me to Northwestern Oklahoma (300 miles from Dallas) to my parents' house where I recovered for 3 months and moved from the wheelchair to a walker to crutches, then finally took my first unassisted step in August 2007, 8 months later. The Titan was a complete disaster; however, if I would have stayed in the truck, I believe I would have walked away with minor injuries, because the cab of the truck was not only intact, but nearly in perfect condition. You can see why in the link below with pictures.

At the time I posted on about the accident, I didn't remember much about the accident or the hospital stay. Over time, things started to come back to me. I stated that I didn't remember why I didn't have my seat belt on, but I remembered later that I took my seat belt off to take my wallet out of my back pocket out of my slacks.

Here is a link from when I posted on TitanTalk about my accident, if you feel like reading through it. Has my injuries listed, which are pretty insane and I have pictures of my Titan in the post that my cousin took at the junk yard when he went to go get my belongings out of my truck. I had few PM's on the site and some Text Messages on my phone from members on the message board, so I felt like I needed to post what happened, since they were wondering why I missed the meet in Dallas. Pretty cool that people cared that much and were worried about me.

Sorry for the rambling post. I meant to post about my accident I had in my Sierra and how to get the maximum amount from the insurance company. There are ALOT of things that people don't know about how insurance companies take care of Total Loss Claims.

#1 RULE - Don't accept the first "offer!" The insurance adjuster/claim manager will always low ball you the first time. Receiving your payment for your Armada is ALOT like negotiating at a Pawn Shop on selling an item or bidding on Ebay. More than likely, when you reject it, the Claim Representative will tell you that it's not negotiable or "Sorry, that's what we valuated your vehicle at" or some variation of this. For my Sierra:
1st "Offer" for my Sierra was $21k. Immediately rejected it. I was astonished at this low balled amount.
2nd "Offer": $22k. Immediately rejected it again. They missed alot of options. They had my truck as an SLE, not an SLE2.
3rd "Offer" was $23k. Immediately rejected it again! I had to walk through with my Claim Manager with all of my receipts, (probably about 25 receipts) and make sure she included EVERYTHING with my claim.
4th "Offer": $24k. Wasn't happy with the amount. Rejected it. Had to go through it all over again with her. Had my tax rate in Oklahoma when I paid the tax rate in Dallas, TX.
Final "Offer": $26,883. Payoff on truck: $14,7xx. Money in my pocket: $13,9xx. If I hadn't haggled with them and made sure they didn't get it right and give me top dollar for my truck, I would have only gotton back $6700.I would have gotton back a POS car since I can't get a loan at the moment. So with the money I got back, I got a good vehicle, fully loaded and then some and I am payment free.

#2 Depending on what insurance company you have, alot of companies have automatic coverage for customizations to your vehicle that does not cover modifications that increases the value of your truck. So check your declarations and see if you have any sort of coverage like this. If you do, turn in your receipts for EVERY modification you have done to your Armada. I had $8k in customizations. Most was car audio. All of the items in my signature were in my truck, except the Planet Audio Amp and the subwoofers. Funny thing is, is that I was even able to go to the yard and retrieve all of my car audio equipment. None of my speakers were damaged. I painted my front chrome grill trim, front and rear chrome bumpers black to match the rest of the truck. I'm not a fan of chrome. I also put a new exhaust on so I submitted my receipts in from Spintech for my Spintech 6000 ProStreet muffler and two 4" Flat Black Powdercoated Exhaust Tips along with the labor and tax. Remember, you get the full amount back, not just the amount for the part. I also got my hands on a brand new factory 20" GMC Wheel and Factory Goodyear Tire and replaced my spare tire with this one. A friend of mine owns a body shop and I have done business with him in the past and he just gave it to me. I remember when I first bought my truck, someone tried to steal my rims. All of my lugnuts were off, my rear passenger's wheel was gone and the rear driver's wheel was halfway on the hub because their jack fell on them, thankfully. I called the GMC Dealership where I bought it from. One wheel, tire, TPS Sensor and labor was over $1100. So I made sure to claim this somehow. I had no receipt so I just had the owner of the bodyshop create me an invoice for it based on the value of it.
Things to include would be: Tint, car audio, exhaust systems/mufflers/tips with tax & labor, engine mods, aftermarket wheels and tires, winches, HID Lights, etc..

#3 Tag, Title, Tax, Inspection. One thing people don't know about is this. Insurance companies are legally suppose to reimburse you for your Inspection fees (if your state requires inspections) and annual vehicle registration. They also reimburse you, the full amount, for the taxes you paid on the vehicle when you bought it. If you don't have your bill of sale from the dealership, they look up in their system where you registered your vehicle when you purchased it and look up in their system to see what the tax rate is.

#4 VALUE of Vehicle AT the Time of Accident. I had just purchased brand new tires for $896 on my Sierra 63 days before my accident. The age of the tires, they are still considered NEW. I got reimbursed for the entire amount of the tires, labor, mounting, balancing and tax. So if you have the gas receipt for that tank of gas, turn it in. I sent in every single receipt I had, but Nationwide only covers up to $1500 in customizations, but I sent in receipts for my tune up I did on it a month before the accident. Receipts for oil, oil filter, transmission fluid, transmission filter, spark plugs, spark plug wires, air filter, etc... I even sent my gas receipt from the day I filled up my tank, which was $93 and got reimbursed for it. I was on my way to Dallas from my parents' house. I was 80 miles on that tank of gas. We all know that these Armada's have a huge 28 Gallon tank, so if you fill it up, then you know you have alot of money sitting in that tank. If you don't have the receipt, then use your bank or credit card statement.

#5: Make sure you get an itemized valuation sheet sent to you. You want to make sure that EVERY option is being considered as is being factored in to your value. You also want to make sure that every modification is being factored along with your tax, title, registration for that year, inspection, gas, etc...

I GOT MORE SPEAKERS THAN YOU. 2004 Armada SE 4x4 Fully Loaded, Bilstein 5100's, 2" Rear Lift, Towing Package, Leather, Power Seats, Auto-Air, Rear Parking Sensors. Rockford 3Sixty.1 DSP, JVC KW-NT800HDT, FRONT: Focal Utopia Comps powered by Audiopipe AQX-360.4 Bridged @ 320wrms x 2, 2nd Row: Focal K2p Comps powered by Bangs & Olfsen ZED Audio 4 Channel Amp Bridged @ 275wrms x 2, Center Channel powered by Phoenix Gold Tantrum 500.2 @ 175wrms x 2, FOUR RARE Sundown Audio SA-8 V.2 w/ SSA internals, 3cuft ported box @ 31Hz, 2 Audiopipe AP18001D's 1800wrms x 2 (3600wrms) XS D3400 Battery. 4800wrms

Last edited by TexasEdition; 01-17-2013 at 05:29 PM.
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