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Car Accidents

How to Determine a Car or Truck’s Fair Market Value After an Accident

Posted Apr 20, 2021 by Matt Boulton

Did your Indiana car or truck accident leave your vehicle with minor damage? Moderate damage? Or was it totaled?

No matter the level of damage, if the other driver was placed at fault for the accident, your property damage claim should be submitted through their insurance company, or, if the other driver was uninsured, your own policy.

Attorney Matt Boulton has handled and consulted with countless Indiana car and truck accident victims, and once a property damage claim is filed, the question that usually arises is: “How much should I receive for the damage to my vehicle?”

The answer to that question can depend on a number of factors, but there are resources available that should be able to help arrive at a fair offer.

How Much is Your Car or Truck Worth After an Accident?

When the insurance company assesses your property damage claim, they may refer to the “fair market value” of your vehicle. In short, the fair market value is the approximate price your car or truck would sell for on the open market.

In other words, what would a reasonable person/buyer pay for your vehicle in its pre-accident condition?

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Some of the primary factors the insurance company will use to make this determination include:

  • The condition of your car or truck before the accident, i.e., did it have pre-existing damage, such as door dings or hail marks?
  • How old is your car or truck?
  • What is the make and model of your car or truck?
  • Did your car or truck have any aftermarket accessories or special upgrades?
  • How many miles are on your car or truck?

The insurance company may use a number of other factors to help assign fair market value to your vehicle, but you should also do some initial investigation as to your car or truck’s potential value.

One of the first sources to consult may be Kelley Blue Book. This resource has been used for several years to help vehicle owners determine the estimated value of their car or truck. Similar listings can also be viewed on online marketplaces or local dealerships.

Also, keep in mind that when looking for similar cars or trucks, you should restrict the search to your local geographic area. A vehicle’s value can vary depending on the part of the state or country where you reside.

Negotiating with the Insurance Company

Property damage and personal injury claims are typically assigned different claim numbers and handled by different adjusters. And in many instances, the insurance company will move relatively quickly in making an offer on your property damage. Unlike a personal injury claim, property damage is determined by a much more objective valuation process.

However, that does not mean that the insurance company may not miss the mark from time to time with their opinion of a vehicle’s value.  So if you receive an offer and feel as though it does not match the values you have seen reported in other resources, such as Kelley Blue Book, you can provide them with documentation that suggests a different value.

In Matt’s experience, property damage claims often represent the straightforward portion of the personal injury claims process. And while Boulton Law Group does not directly handle property damage claims for its personal injury clients, we can advise you on best practices.

(The reason Boulton Law Group does not officially handle our clients’ property damage claims is that attorney’s fees would result in you receiving less than what your vehicle is worth.)

Questions About Vehicle Property Damage?

Boulton Law Group is a statewide personal injury firm that helps victims throughout Indiana recover compensation for injuries that resulted from their accident.

If you were injured in an Indiana car or truck accident and have questions about your property damage claim, attorney Matt Boulton offers free and friendly advice.

In addition to Matt’s winning track record, the firm places a particular focus on personal service, meaning every client’s case receives a custom legal solution and a degree of attention aimed at ensuring they Get Treated Like Family.

To speak with Matt, you may call the firm directly or write to us using our website’s confidential contact form. Matt personally reviews all website forms received at the firm.

Matt Boulton

Author Matt Boulton

Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana. He designed his firm for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.

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