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Any insurance experts here that might be able to answer this? Is there anyway to refuse to have them total it and instead make them give you the money per the estimate? Then just get it fixed yourself. The idea being you never give up the title and if you don't give up the title you don't turn it into a salvage vehicle plus you would still have the maxcare on it when it's fixed.
Yeah, that might be me with 29.5 years dealing with multiple facets of auto collision industry...

From the insurance company's standpoint, it's about numbers. For a car that is technically repairable, simplified math is that car's actual cash value is x, repair costs plus rental costs are y, salvage value is z. If the sum of y+z is past a percentage threshold value, the car is totaled. There are different rules and regulations from state to state that influence the threshold value but it's the basic math. Very objective.

Then there are the more subjective factors which is which the humans all play a role in determining the y portion of the equation. Factors are:
  • Does the selected shop provide a good balance between quality of work and cost? Some shops are known to pad the estimate and / or have a higher than typical labor rate which impacts the labor portion of the estimate and possibly the tax depending on jurisdiction. Nothing wrong with picking a high end shop that will do a high quality repair BTW, more on that later... Balance is key.
  • What type / grades of parts are used? Aftermarket and recycled parts lower the parts cost which also lowers the tax portion of the estimate.
  • Are the owner's expectations reasonable?
  • Does the shop / claim rep feel this claim can go away quickly or will this be an endless claim?
And there you have it. No question this car is repairable and will end up back on the road one way or another, but something subjective influenced the outcome of the claim to the point where the y portion of the math tipped the scale to a total loss.

Whenever there is collision damage on a car, we should all be prepared to have it totaled. Cars are totaled for very little damage now due to mutliple factors including cost of parts, proliferation of parts (I think I once counted 12 separate parts for a WJ front bumper assembly vs. 40+ for a WK2 with all the options), and difficulty of repairs. Shops have high costs for equipment and training so they can work on every type of car, and they're not charities; they want nice homes and cars and their kids want iThings and straight teeth and college educations. On top of that neither the insurance company nor the shop wants the liability of a repair gone wrong for a car that could have been totaled - read this little gem of a lawsuit for a repair gone bad Couple Awarded $42 Million for Crash Injuries After Body Shop Glues on Replacement Roof .

Given all that we should be careful in picking a shop and have a balance between quality of work and cost to do the work. I would also have a frank discussion with the shop about the total loss scenario.
If you prefer not to see the car again, let it be known. Up front
If you prefer to have the car fixed, let it be known. Up front.
The shop plays the biggest role as they control the y portion of the equation and they'll be happy to fix the car and do it well as long as there is a profit in it for them and they can secure a return customer.
 

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Any insurance experts here that might be able to answer this? Is there anyway to refuse to have them total it and instead make them give you the money per the estimate? Then just get it fixed yourself. The idea being you never give up the title and if you don't give up the title you don't turn it into a salvage vehicle plus you would still have the maxcare on it when it's fixed.
Pretty sure there's no way to do that. I'm not an insurance expert, but the way I understand it, the decision whether or not a vehicle is deemed a total loss is strictly based upon the numbers. Once you hit a set percentage of the vehicle's market value in cost of repairs, it's considered a total loss.
 

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Yeah and the salvage title makes the Maxcare invalid. Maxcare was mostly there as insureance on Quadralift repair costs down the road. Conceivably, if a good deal buy it back and convert to coils.
I've said this before in other threads and I'll say it again here----don't let Quadralift scare you. People seem to think it's a dealership-only type of repair, but that's not true. For a fraction of dealership costs, we can repair it ourselves. Sure, it's a little more involved than an average repair, but the tools needed to work on an air suspension system can be put together for a reasonable cost and once you have them, you can do any/all repairs required if you have basic mechanical aptitude.

I haven't had any issue with my Quadralift yet, but I did put together a refill tool and I do have an app on my phone that will allow me to properly refill the system after working on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Fredo - thanks for the
I've said this before in other threads and I'll say it again here----don't let Quadralift scare you. People seem to think it's a dealership-only type of repair, but that's not true. For a fraction of dealership costs, we can repair it ourselves. Sure, it's a little more involved than an average repair, but the tools needed to work on an air suspension system can be put together for a reasonable cost and once you have them, you can do any/all repairs required if you have basic mechanical aptitude.

I haven't had any issue with my Quadralift yet, but I did put together a refill tool and I do have an app on my phone that will allow me to properly refill the system after working on it.
Yeah, I believe you. But in 2017 when I bought it, the Maxcare was available and I got it for peace of mind. And even though QL had been out for a while at that point, I don't recall there being many viable spring swap out kits available and not too many people had done it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Yeah, that might be me with 29.5 years dealing with multiple facets of auto collision industry...

From the insurance company's standpoint, it's about numbers. For a car that is technically repairable, simplified math is that car's actual cash value is x, repair costs plus rental costs are y, salvage value is z. If the sum of y+z is past a percentage threshold value, the car is totaled. There are different rules and regulations from state to state that influence the threshold value but it's the basic math. Very objective.

Then there are the more subjective factors which is which the humans all play a role in determining the y portion of the equation. Factors are:
  • Does the selected shop provide a good balance between quality of work and cost? Some shops are known to pad the estimate and / or have a higher than typical labor rate which impacts the labor portion of the estimate and possibly the tax depending on jurisdiction. Nothing wrong with picking a high end shop that will do a high quality repair BTW, more on that later... Balance is key.
  • What type / grades of parts are used? Aftermarket and recycled parts lower the parts cost which also lowers the tax portion of the estimate.
  • Are the owner's expectations reasonable?
  • Does the shop / claim rep feel this claim can go away quickly or will this be an endless claim?
And there you have it. No question this car is repairable and will end up back on the road one way or another, but something subjective influenced the outcome of the claim to the point where the y portion of the math tipped the scale to a total loss.

Whenever there is collision damage on a car, we should all be prepared to have it totaled. Cars are totaled for very little damage now due to mutliple factors including cost of parts, proliferation of parts (I think I once counted 12 separate parts for a WJ front bumper assembly vs. 40+ for a WK2 with all the options), and difficulty of repairs. Shops have high costs for equipment and training so they can work on every type of car, and they're not charities; they want nice homes and cars and their kids want iThings and straight teeth and college educations. On top of that neither the insurance company nor the shop wants the liability of a repair gone wrong for a car that could have been totaled - read this little gem of a lawsuit for a repair gone bad Couple Awarded $42 Million for Crash Injuries After Body Shop Glues on Replacement Roof .

Given all that we should be careful in picking a shop and have a balance between quality of work and cost to do the work. I would also have a frank discussion with the shop about the total loss scenario.
If you prefer not to see the car again, let it be known. Up front
If you prefer to have the car fixed, let it be known. Up front.
The shop plays the biggest role as they control the y portion of the equation and they'll be happy to fix the car and do it well as long as there is a profit in it for them and they can secure a return customer.
Fredo - thanks for the reply. Yeah, for those of us not involved in the industry, or haven't had to deal with this recently (if ever) it's a surprise that mostly pristine vehicles get totaled. Seems a little unfair that the salvage value enters the equation since if the market for parts on your car is high, it would seem to shift the equation a little more in their favor.

Right now it looks like they are calculating a vehicle value of $29.1K and giving $2.2K for tax so total of $31.3K. While it appears they have accounted for all of the options on the vehicle (hemi, ACC, HID, etc), 2 of the 3 comps they are using in the local area are 3.6l vice the 5.7l. Also doesn't account for upgraded tires to the Falken Wildpeaks in +1 size, or installed skids, roof rack. I will likely pull the skids and roof rack if it comes to it being totaled out, which seems more and more likely now.

I did have a good discussion with the rep today, but he is handing it over to the total loss adjuster. But what you say above about quality of the shop. I researched shops and did take it to a good one that handles high end repairs as opposed to something like a franchise chain repair shop. My thinking at the time was if it was to be fixed it needed to be done right. At the time I had no inkling this relatively minor accident would total it out.

Did I shoot myself in the foot by taking it to a higher quality repair shop? I don't think so since there are some expensive parts.... the air compressor at $2800 in the estimate. Also the two after market skid plates add up to $1600; one of which I don't see how it was damaged and I would take a pass on the other being repaired if needed. In the estimate they have included non-oem parts where possible it appears.

They are saying salvage value of $14k or $16K. But CO is a 100% total loss state; so not sure how they are approaching it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Been going back and forth with the insurance company. Fredo, maybe you can explain this to me. My understanding is that Colorado is a 100% Total Loss Threshold state. The insurance company appears to be using a Total Loss Formula (TLF) which is counter to CO rules. Using the TLF they include the ratio of repair, actual cash value (ACV), and salvage value. My (limited) understanding of this is that they should not be using a TLF for CO. I have asked them to explain how they arrived at the determination in relation to Colorado's TLT of 100% but all they come back with is the same answer which doesn't really compute. I think I am dealing with someone that doesn't quite understand the difference.

Ok, having said all of that.... I'm just trying to make sure they aren't trying to take advantage of me. Objectively, I guess if I get a good valuation/payout it would be better down the road since I'd have diminished value down the road. If I replace with a similar WK2 might be better in the long run. Also working on getting a better value. Seems most options are accounted for except rock rails. But their comps are questionable, finding a comp with OEM rock rail will be next to impossible, but will just have to figure a fair value they add for that. Other adders are the upgraded tires to Falken Wildpeaks, which only have around 8K miles on them I think.
 

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You were right to pick a high end shop. It's a risk as the chances of a total loss increases, but then again you should theoretically end up with a high quality / no sotry repair. For the formula there are other tings that factor into it like rental, storage, potential other supplement. I'd have to see the documents to assess, but it sounds like it's headed down the total loss path... If it were my car I would let it go and focus my energy on getting the max payout.

I would not accept the first offer. Find your own comps, and send them to the rep. Find holes in their comps (sounds like you did already). For the number focus on pre tac as the asking price for comps is also pre tax.

Non factory installed equipment (rock rails) is tough. You'd have to find a receipt to prove cost new and age at which point it will be added to the valuation, albeit heavily depreciated; not every mod is an upgrade to the general public... If you don't like what they are offering for that equipment you may be able to take it off, although if it was a swap for factory equipment you'd have to provide and install that back on. Also depending on how your policy is written, non factory equipment may be excluded completely / covered via add-on endorsement.

Tires / brakes / betteries / mechanical work will not play a big role. The reason is every car has to have these things in order to be operational and safe, so even if you just put on a new set of tires or brakes or a new battery it means your old equipment was used up and the car needed the money spent as part of maintenance or wear item replacement. For tires you will get a few bucks if there was near new tread wear, and a deduction if on the low side. Receipt will help.

This is why I think you need to focus on comps and if you have proof that you've done above and beyond maintenance or detailing then that can influence the valuation (I keep a spreadsheet of everything I do to the cars just in case...)

Hope this helps, good luck.

PS - If it makes you feel any better, when it comes to mishaps, I am also at the mercy of high repair costs. I loaned the Jeep to cousins who were visting from France back in July, they returned it with a ripped out front bumper after they parked on top of a log. The car lowered itself for easy entry and when they started it up and backed up it had not fully risen so the front bumper got caught on the log.
I just had it fixed and picked it up on Friday - $3,800 repair. And the shop rates seemed reasonable. The front bumper had some light prior damage due to San Francisco street parking so now my beast of burden / dog car / winter beater Jeep looks too nice for a beater. Sigh...
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
You were right to pick a high end shop. It's a risk as the chances of a total loss increases, but then again you should theoretically end up with a high quality / no sotry repair. For the formula there are other tings that factor into it like rental, storage, potential other supplement. I'd have to see the documents to assess, but it sounds like it's headed down the total loss path... If it were my car I would let it go and focus my energy on getting the max payout.

I would not accept the first offer. Find your own comps, and send them to the rep. Find holes in their comps (sounds like you did already). For the number focus on pre tac as the asking price for comps is also pre tax.

Non factory installed equipment (rock rails) is tough. You'd have to find a receipt to prove cost new and age at which point it will be added to the valuation, albeit heavily depreciated; not every mod is an upgrade to the general public... If you don't like what they are offering for that equipment you may be able to take it off, although if it was a swap for factory equipment you'd have to provide and install that back on. Also depending on how your policy is written, non factory equipment may be excluded completely / covered via add-on endorsement.

Tires / brakes / betteries / mechanical work will not play a big role. The reason is every car has to have these things in order to be operational and safe, so even if you just put on a new set of tires or brakes or a new battery it means your old equipment was used up and the car needed the money spent as part of maintenance or wear item replacement. For tires you will get a few bucks if there was near new tread wear, and a deduction if on the low side. Receipt will help.

This is why I think you need to focus on comps and if you have proof that you've done above and beyond maintenance or detailing then that can influence the valuation (I keep a spreadsheet of everything I do to the cars just in case...)

Hope this helps, good luck.

PS - If it makes you feel any better, when it comes to mishaps, I am also at the mercy of high repair costs. I loaned the Jeep to cousins who were visting from France back in July, they returned it with a ripped out front bumper after they parked on top of a log. The car lowered itself for easy entry and when they started it up and backed up it had not fully risen so the front bumper got caught on the log.
I just had it fixed and picked it up on Friday - $3,800 repair. And the shop rates seemed reasonable. The front bumper had some light prior damage due to San Francisco street parking so now my beast of burden / dog car / winter beater Jeep looks too nice for a beater. Sigh...
Fredo - thanks for taking the time to write such a well reasoned reply. I'm kind of getting more used to the idea..... I guess I don't like change! :) For condition they really didn't ding me on anything that I could see, except a little for slightly above average mileage.

The rock rails are factory installed OEM, and good luck finding a comp with those. In fact it's not even listed as an option on most valuation tools. I did find a listing on Mopar parts online for $942, but that's not including install. So I'm going to send that to them and my original window sticker that shows they are OEM. There are lots of other options that don't seem to be accounted for, Front collision warning, rain sensing wipers, lane departure, park assist.

My other stuff, Chief skids, roof rack, I'll be removing. Well, maybe not the lower front guard, now that I think about it. It seems it's damaged, which might not be too bad, but it might be a real pain to remove all the mounting stuff around the tow hooks. I have all of the old parts, but wouldn't be able to mount it all back since that is where it is damaged. Is it good enough just to put the parts in the back? Whoever fixes it will be completely reassembling the bumper and fascia anyway.

So for the lower front guard and sump plate, the repair shop has included that in their estimate showing that they are there and the cost to replace. But, the insurance company is not showing those as part of the value yet. Can I just point that out to them that they are there? If I decide to leave them that is. Sump plate is easy enough to remove and put the original plastic pan in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Just to close this out.

My 2017 Trailhawk was totalled. Ended up not being able to argue for any increased valuation. Liberty Mutual was pretty good at avoiding answering reasonable questions, explaining how they arrived at things, and just in general running out the clock. In the end we weren't too far off, but their "process' and poor communication will guarantee I will never do business with them in the future as a client. Biggest bummer is the loss of the Lifetime Max Care contract, getting back $687 for that though. And I have to refit with Wildpeaks again.

Now the good news: I found a very similarly equipped 2020 Trailhawk (Hemi, Luxury group, Premium lighting, Pro Tech I -std, and Pro tech II); the only thing missing is the OEM rock rails, but so hard to find one that has those. I'll be adding some after market ones in the future. Really liked the Granite Crystal, but couldn't go the same. This one is Sting Gray which is a cool color. Would like to say I got a great deal.... but just a normal deal since it was what I wanted and travelled out of state to get it.... not much leverage. But not a horrible deal considering.

Only problem - now I have "new" car syndrome all over again! Oh, and it only had 12,700 miles and literally looks new.

Considering some PPF like Expel for the front. Any recommendations/opinions on that? Reliving the whole Colorado rock chip thing in the winter is not fun.
 

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Congrats on the new ride....sounds like you found a good one. I looked high and low for a Trailhawk with the hemi, and just couldn't find any that weren't horrendously over priced. This was back in late 2020, when I picked up my 2019....right after all the rental car companies dumped a bunch of their fleet, which drove the used car market down for a few months (early during the pandemic) before supply chain issues caused the used car market to go crazy.

Keith
 

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I went with a complete Xpel front end install when we bought our 2020 Summit👍.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Congrats on the new ride....sounds like you found a good one. I looked high and low for a Trailhawk with the hemi, and just couldn't find any that weren't horrendously over priced. This was back in late 2020, when I picked up my 2019....right after all the rental car companies dumped a bunch of their fleet, which drove the used car market down for a few months (early during the pandemic) before supply chain issues caused the used car market to go crazy.

Keith
Yeah, the market isn't/wasn't as bad when I bought it last week. But would have been better to wait a couple of months, but just couldn't. And, I was comfortable with the history of this one. No red flags.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
I went with a complete Xpel front end install when we bought our 2020 Summit👍.
Not sure what I'll do yet if any. On my previous TH I took off the hood decal, but might leave it on this time. It looks better with this color. So if I leave that I either need to do Expel on the entire hood or limit how far back it goes, right? And I don't really want to pay the premium for the entire hood/ front end. Probable bumper, leading hood edge.
 

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I did the first 15 inches of my hood, bumper and leading edges of the front fender. All areas exposed to "frontal assault" 😉.
 

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Not sure what I'll do yet if any. On my previous TH I took off the hood decal, but might leave it on this time. It looks better with this color. So if I leave that I either need to do Expel on the entire hood or limit how far back it goes, right? And I don't really want to pay the premium for the entire hood/ front end. Probable bumper, leading hood edge.
Congrats on the new TH!
Agree with philbytx go the first 15-18". I'd also have them redo the lower rear doors with a much larger PPF pieces, wish I'd done that when I got mine.
Great that your getting money back on the Lifetime MaxCare. I'd thought there were no refunds/prorating back on the Lifetime, must have been just no transferring (except FL and NC).
 

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'Glad you were able to come out of this with that nice Trailhawk, Mogul.
 
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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Congrats on the new TH!
Agree with philbytx go the first 15-18". I'd also have them redo the lower rear doors with a much larger PPF pieces, wish I'd done that when I got mine.
Great that your getting money back on the Lifetime MaxCare. I'd thought there were no refunds/prorating back on the Lifetime, must have been just no transferring (except FL and NC).
How does that work on the hood with the TH decal? Seems like it would maybe fail prematurely since the decal is raised just that little bit. Anyone out there have Expel or other PPF put on over the decal first 15-18" as mentioned above?
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
'Glad you were able to come out of this with that nice Trailhawk, Mogul.
Thanks Jim. Of course all in all it is pretty much the same vehicle. But I did notice the better resolution of the UConnect screen and that the UConnect system is a bit snappier, so that's nice. If I can convince myself to upgrade my old smartphone, maybe I'll even try Android Auto.
 

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If I can convince myself to upgrade my old smartphone, maybe I'll even try Android Auto.
Android Auto (and it's twin, Apple Carplay) is a game changer......try it and you'll never go back. I haven't used the native navigation system in a long time, it's always Android Auto and Spotify for us.
 
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