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When an insurance adjuster deems your car totaled, at what point is settlement?

Pottstown, PA |

My son had an accident with my car. As part of my insurance policy I can get a rental car for up to $40 per day to a total of $1800. Three days after the accident the insurance adjuster deemed the car totaled. He called me on the phone and stated what the value of the settlement would be and that he was faxing me paperwork. Part of the paperwork is a power-of-attorney which has to be signed in front of a notary and stamped. The adjuster also stated that since he was telling me the dollar value of the settlement I must return the rental car. I don't understand. I have not received or signed anything. The adjuster stated that the company is no longer liable to pay for my rental car because he told me the value of the settlement.

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Attorney answers 1


First, I am not licensed in PA and can only give you general advice. Generally, once the insurance company offers you the fair market value of your totalled vehicle, the carrier is no longer obligated to provide you with a rental car that is covered under your insurance policy. If you keep the rental car after the fair market value offer has been made to you, you may have to pay for the rental car yourself. Knowing this, you will have to weigh accepting the offer (even if you think it is less than your car is worth) against contesting the offer to see if you can get more. Usually the carrier will cut you a little slack if you have a reason for not returning the rental car right away. So put your reason in writing and ask them to work with you so that you are not out of pocket for any of the cost. Your carrier will probably pursue payment from the at fault carrier IF you are not responsible for the collision.

Betsey Herd
Tampa Florida

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