How do I deal with an insurance company who wants to total my car for less than I can get a replacement?

And does it help that the insured pulled a hit and run on me? The SUV hit me, then kept driving. Some very nice people followed the driver who tried to lose them driving around the neighborhood. The witnesses came back with the license plate number and called 911. Turned out that the driver lived in a condo within sight of the accident. After the firetruck left, and just as the police finally came – she drove up and said she was sorry. I think she only came back because she could see from her house that the police had been called, and/or noticed that her license plate was missing — which I’d found in the street :) The police came, but I don’t think they bothered to give her a ticket. They didn’t seem to mind that it took her more than 30 minutes to return to the accident scene.

I was not hurt. This is only about property damage. I have an older car that I’d planned to sell in six months to help pay for a move. Now her insurance company has totaled my car. I have no transportation to work. They will give me less than $ 2,500 for my car, which will never pay for a decent replacement. My travel “nest egg” is gone, and I’ve lost hours at my temp job. Should the driver’s hit and run have an effect on the compensation from the insurance company. Should I push them to compensate me for lost hours and devalued property?
Thanks so much for your advice! and regarding the license – the witness wrote their license plate number down on paper. After they’d returned, I happened to find the license plate in the street. Sorry, I left that out…story is now officially straight. :)

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  1. car253, April 25, 2014 8:39 am - How do I deal with an insurance company who wants to total my car for less than I can get a replacement?

    The other party’s insurance should have provided you with a rental car up until they offer you a settlement for the damage to your car. They do not pay for devalued property. Insurance companies only give you the cost of what the car is worth. If you have bought anything new for the car like tires and have bought anything special, like stereo, or special equipment give the reciepts to the other guys insurance so they will add that value to your total loss settlement.

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  2. StephenWeinstein, April 25, 2014 8:47 am - How do I deal with an insurance company who wants to total my car for less than I can get a replacement?

    It is not what the insurance company “wants to” do; it is what they must do, by law. They have zero choice in the matter. If the damage exceeds a certain percentage of the value of the car, then they must total it. Even if they do not want to total it, even if they would rather die than total it, they must total it. It is not their decision, or yours.

    They cannot give you more than the value of the car. It is against the law for them to give you more than the value of the car. They cannot give you any additional compensation for lost hours or anything else. If there is only property damage and no injury to humans, then they are prohibited from paying more than the value of the damaged property.

    You should not push them. You cannot push hard enough to get them to break the law, and that is what you would be asking them to do.

    You can take the value of the car, or you take nothing. Those are your only options. They cannot give you more.

    The hit and run cannot have any effect.

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  3. Zarnev, April 25, 2014 9:45 am - How do I deal with an insurance company who wants to total my car for less than I can get a replacement?

    How did the witness come back with the license number, but you found the license plate in the street?

    You need to get your story straight.

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