- To collect the new wheels, Liberty Mutual has to declare your car a total loss.
- The original claim must come under collision or comprehensive coverage, which are optional.
- You still have to pay the deductible under whichever policy option applies.
- You can't get it for leased vehicles or motorcycles.
- It's not offered in North Carolina.
Glenn Greenberg, a Liberty Mutual spokesman, suggests talking to an agent or getting quotes online to determine just how much the option would raise your premiums.Liberty Mutual also offers "New Car Replacement," which is a standard feature on every policy it writes and is available in every state but North Carolina and Wyoming. The company says that if your covered car is totaled in your first year as a customer, you can file a claim that will get you the money for a brand new car, not just the depreciated value. You'll still have to pay the policy deductible. "New Car Replacement" is only available for vehicles that:
- Are not previously owned.
- Are less than one year old.
- Have fewer than 15,000 miles
- Are not leased.
Steps to take if your car is totaledAll of us hope we never need to replace our vehicle. But if you do, here are steps during the car insurance appraisal to ensure you get the best settlement. They're recommended by several experts, including those at Automotive.com and the Insurance Information Institute (III).
- Determine the value before the accident. Research independent pricing guides such as NADAguides.com, Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds.com. Study how they value your car by factoring in the model, its year, mileage and general condition. Be as specific as possible and refer to supporting documentation.
- Evaluate any accessories installed by you or the dealer. Great audio system? Put that on the list. Same with other features, like those flashy chrome wheels your wife said weren't necessary. Include them and, again, gather the receipts.
- What about incidentals? Those would be taxes, registration, title and any other fees. Your car insurance is supposed to cover those so make sure they're part of the settlement.
- Check to see if that rental car you needed after the crash is part of your coverage; make sure you get reimbursed if it is.
Not happy with the settlement?If the insurer's offer leaves you cold, start looking for satisfaction by comparing the appraiser's analysis with your own, referring to those documents you've gathered. If still displeased, present your case to the insurer and ask for a larger, fairer payout.
III spokesman Michael Barry says that some insurers may have a complaint division that can help forge a compromise. But if yours doesn't budge, Barry notes that each state has a department of insurance that regulates all forms of coverage, including vehicle.Go to your state's website to see if the department shows you how to challenge a settlement. Barry says most states have consumer advocates that can give you information and advice on filing a complaint. Still unhappy? Then Barry says an arbitrator may help resolve the dispute. Your insurer may suggest one as part of the process or you can consider getting one on your own at American Arbitration Association. More from CarInsurance.com: Compare average car insurance rates by state and ZIP code How much car insurance should you buy? What you need to know about car insurance discounts