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== NADA Blue Book Guide== Go to the NADA book to determine the retail value of your vehicle. This is about all you can expect to receive. You can go to www.nada.com and get the low retail value of your car. Ask the payoff amount on the car. The difference is about what you will have to work with. I think there are two parts to your question. First is the value. In a perfect world you should get enough money to replace the car with a similar one without paying any more than you get from the insurance company. Very often you will get something less. You can dispute the claim amount if you think it is too low, but you must have some basis for your amount. Low settlement amounts are common when a car has unusually low mileage, is in especially good condition, or has had restoration work done to it. In addition to the source above, look in your local papers and see whether you can substantiate a higher price. The second part is your loan balance, which remains your obligation regardless of the payoff amount on the claim. Let's say you put $4,000 down on a $20,000 vehicle that you wreck six months later. If you still owe, say, $15,000 on the vehicle and the book value is, say, $17,000, then the finance company gets 15 thousand and you are left with just two thousand. Things get really crappy when the book value of the car is less than what's owed on the loan. In that situation, you are on the hook for the difference. So, not only will you not have money to buy another vehicle, you are now in the hole. The insurance company will pay the Blue Book trade-in value less your deductible. Since the bank has a lien, they will get their share first and quite often that leaves the owner with little, nothing, or still owing the bank. And, of course you will pay Blue Book retail for the replacement. The chances of even getting enough for a downpayment that will allow you to finance the same amount you owed on the old car are slim.

2006-09-14 04:21:53
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