AUTO INSURANCE MADNESS
by Derek Drew, New York, NY & Washington, DC
copyright 1991, firstname.lastname@example.org
|This is my first
posting of this gem, and somebody might want to stick it
in the archives as a separate item (or I can send it as a
formatted HTML file). It was written in 1991 and is kind
of a companion piece to my article Refrigerator Madness
(in the archives under the mis-labeled title
"Refrigerator Manual"). At the end is the
prize, the letter I sent asking the insurance company to
ignore their own appraiser's estimate of the value of my
camper and instead value it at $18,000 plus 8% New York
Sales Tax, a letter to which they gladly agreed at a time
that the blue book value of the car was around $11,000.
The secret to why this letter worked is explained in the
'90 Syncro Westfalia.....seen off-road at http www.tiu.net/~des/vw/drew/index.html
What follows is a story about my insurance investigations, the crash of my beautiful 1987 Westfalia, and what I found out about the wacky way insurance companies decide how much to pay out in the event of an accident. It also explains why my model insurance letter worked and how to use it to your best advantage.
When I bought my 1987 Syncro Westfalia camper in 1989 it was one year old, was in mint condition, and had less than 10,000 miles on it. The owner had added about a thousand dollars of aftermarket goodies to it (such as car alarms and a great stereo) and the car carried a $26,000 list price. The blue book value of the car was only about $16,000 but I couldn't understand how it could be so low. I certainly couldn't find a used Syncro Westfalia anywhere else for sale so we agreed on $20,000 as the purchase price and I was glad to pay it.
Over the course of the next year I put several thousand dollars into the vehicle by adding things like winches, awnings, screen rooms, a hot water shower, extra interior lighting, exotic rust proofing materials, two-way radios, etc. I became aware that the value of the vehicle was rapidly going down in the insurance company's eyes as I built up the mileage, but that its value to me was going the other direction. In essence, I was becoming uninsured before my very eyes. I think the final straw was when I spent about $400 to buy and install a set of in-body mounted Oettinger fog lamps made in Germany.
SEEKING ADDITIONAL COVERAGE
Accordingly, I made up a list of the improvements I had made to the vehicle, along with receipts, and sent this list to my insurance agent asking him if these $6,000+ of improvements would be covered in the event of a loss. The agent wrote back stating that the improvements would be covered provided I kept the receipts. I kept his letter but something about it suggested to me that he didn't know what he was saying. I called him by phone and asked him how the improvements would be valued and how he could be sure that the insurance company in question would pay me for them.
He didn't seem all that sure of his ground and so I pressed him to call the insurance company for an answer. If necessary, I stated, I would be willing to pay an extra amount to receive extra coverage. A week passed before the agent returned my call.
He said he had been busy researching my problem and the answer was not optimistic. No insurance company he could find would allow me to explicitly declare my added equipment and pay to ensure it was covered. The amount I would receive if the car were stolen, he said, would be determined based on the "book value" of that type and year of car at the time of the loss. The agent then confused me, however, by stating that I should keep the receipts for the improvements I had made to the vehicle so that I could show them to the insurance company should I experience a loss.
I then asked the insurance agent how these receipts could possibly be useful to me if the added equipment wasn't covered. The agent wouldn't give me a precise answer but mysteriously repeated that the receipts would be "useful" in the event of a loss.
STATED AMOUNT COVERAGE
The agent told me that "stated value" or "stated amount" coverage was the normal way to agree to the amount of coverage prior to a loss. But he said no US insurance company would issue such a policy to cover anything other than a collector car or an antique. The policies generally state that they will only cover vehicles more than ten years old, owned by families with a least one other car for every adult with a driver's license, and which are driven only a few hundred miles per year. I couldn't qualify on any of these criteria, let alone all three.
The agent then said that if I insisted on having an explicit agreement on the amount I would be paid in the event of a loss the only way would be through Lloyds of London. They would charge about 8% of the amount covered annually, insist that the policy would be in addition to my regular insurance (which I still had to purchase), and would insist on a $15,000 minimum coverage. All this would cost me about $1,000 annually over and above the amount that I was already paying for my regular coverage. Since I had receipts for what I had added to the car, he said, why bother?
His case was convincing, and I dropped the idea.
What I was only beginning to grasp was the weird truth about how the auto insurance business works that he was trying to tell me. My insurance company didn't want to agree to pay me for my loss ahead of time in any kind of explicit way, but if I did lose my car, they would take into account my receipts. In other wordsthe insurance company actually preferred to keep the amount I would be paid in the event of a loss fuzzy. I didn't understand why until a lot later.
THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENS
The last day of November, 1990, I swerved in an attempt to avoid a deer that had stepped out right in front of the van on a lonely, unlit back road. The van turned on its side. The police and an ambulance showed up and I was taken to the hospital for x-rays on my ribs.
Meanwhile, my vehicle was left on the highway full of all kinds of goodies like ham radios, a radar detector, etc. I was worried sick about this stuff and got up at six a.m. to drive to the compound where the police had told me the vehicle was towed. Sure enough, an employee of the towing service was already leering over the vehicle at daybreak casing out the goodies.
THE EVIL STORAGE YARD
He looked quite startled when I arrived and guilt was written all over his face. He bantered good naturedly until his nervousness subsided and then he walked away to other business. I felt it was obvious that had I not shown up promptly, my van would have received a good scavenging.
Horror number one was averted, I told myself. Now what could be horror number two. Storage fees by any chance?
Sure enough, I had already spent $10 on the first day's storage and my mission was to get the car out of there as soon as possible! I called my insurance agent to report the loss and then arranged to have the vehicle towed immediately to the most expensive, classy, and excellent body shop I could think of.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY ON AN ACCIDENT
I knew from past experience that it is important to get your estimate at the most expensive body shop you can find. One should never, ever, be pressured by the insurance company into taking the vehicle to one of their own shops since they use these places to produce low estimates. Typically insurance companies pressure you to go to one of their own shops by telling you it will be quicker or somehow better.
Anyway, the insurance company is basically forced to pay the fee of whatever body shop you select for the estimate. Most state laws also explicitly state that you don't have to have your vehicle actually repaired at that facility, but are free to subsequently have the repair done at a lower priced facility if you so choose. The game is to get a high estimate, get the check from the insurance company, and only then decide how much you want to pay and where you want the repair to be done. Road Warrior fans can even amuse themselves by depositing the insurance company's check and then driving what is left of the vehicle around town without any repair at all. The insurance company has nothing to say about the matter.
MY CAMPER IS DECLARED DEAD
Now, unfortunately, this game was not for me to play this time. The body shop guy starting adding up the cost of various parts on the van and within a short period of time it became apparent the thing was a total loss. I was quite dismayed because with an average of only two Syncro Campers per state per year having been sold in the United States, I felt there was slim chance of me finding another used Syncro Camper for sale.
I barely noticed it at the time, but the body shop guy seemed strangely quite willinga little too anxious, evenin taking the wreck off my hands. He also told me what kind of money to expect to get from the insurance company. He opened a "blue book" guide to the value of all vehicles and announced that I'd be lucky to get $10,000.
I was stunned. I couldn't believe my ears. I knew that in no event was I likely to find another Syncro Camper for sale, and if I did, it would probably cost me at least $20,000. In the one-and-one-half-years that I had possession of my car, I couldn't believe that it I had put $5,000 into it and it had lost $10,000 in value.
I then explained to the body shop guy that there were only 1,200 Syncro Campers in the US and that the market value of one such as mine was surely more than $10,000. I was sure, I told him, that the $10,000 figure in his book was based on the guess of someone in some publishing company that published the book.
THE HORROR OF THE USED CAR PRICE BOOK
He responded that he had a good familiarity with these kinds of cases, and that the published books were reliable because they were based on actual sale prices of vehicles. And even if someone had guessed at a priceas I contended by adding a small amount to the price at which two wheel drive campers tradehe said no insurance company would be inclined to believe me. "If you try to fight them on this," he said, "they'll spend any amounteven $20,000to fight you. I know. I've seen it."
I asked him about all my valuable accessories. Forget it, he responded, if the insurance company decided to pay me for them they'd pay 20 cents on the dollar, maximum. I looked forlornly at my brand new $400 fog lamps from Germany as he spoke and decided to remove them from the vehicle before leaving the place. As I was taking the lights out a funny thing happened.
EVIL BODY SHOP TRIES TO STEAL MY CAR
The owner of the body shop seemed upset at what I was doing. "Are you removing parts," he asked? "You can't do that!" He then seemed to resent me being near the vehicle at all and sort of shooed me away. "This belongs to your insurance company now," he explained, "and you can't do anything to it."
I then called a friend who was just entering the body shop business to see what advice he had for me. "Get that car out of there!" he said on the phone. "Don't you know how these things work? That guy at the body shop is going to make a deal with the insurance company to dispose of the car for peanuts and he plans to keep all the parts himself. He's probably already calculating where he's going to sell everything of yours and how much profit he is going to make."
My friend added that if I even parked my car at the body shop for a few weeks so many parts would be missing at the end that I wouldn't even recognize it. Furthermore, he said the shop would virtually own the car within a short time because of outrageous storage fees they would charge. Sure enough, I checked with the front desk at the body shop and they said they charged $25 a day in storage. Assuming it would take the insurance company two weeks to get an agent to the shop there'd be a bill of almost $400 just on storage!
Needless to say, the next morning I showed up with a hired tow truck operator and had the vehicle towed away to my father's driveway.
THE PARTS SWITCHEROO GAME
Next I called some Long Island Volkswagen friends who advised me that I had only a few weeks to get all the goodies off the car that I wanted to retain before the insurance company sent a tow truck to take my prize away. My alloy wheels, they said, were worth $330 each. I should remove them and install cheap $25 wheels. They advised me to get the battery out and put in an spent one, etc. So long as I did these things before the insurance adjuster came to look at the car, they said, the insurance company wouldn't know the difference and I'd get paid the same amount. This is what the body shop would have done anyway, I was advised, which is why the insurance company would have been so willing to let the body shop keep the car.
I would have had to consider carefully the advise of these people except that I was after bigger game. What I really wanted was to retain the vehicle for parts and buy another one just like it. The questions were: how could I convince my insurance company to pay me more than book value of my carwhat I felt to be its actual valueand how could I convince them to let me keep my car.
For help I turned to Hemmings Motor News where I saw an ad from Terry Shaw, who advertised himself as "Automotive Legal Service." I called Terry in Pennsylvania (215-659-4947) and he was most helpful and I would recommend him to anyone reading this article. Terry's feeling was that I'd probably end up having to resolve my dispute with the insurance company on the basis of appraisalsthat is, his appraisal vs. the appraisal of the insurance company. That would cost me somewhere in the area of $200 plus travel expenses, he said.
He further advised me that in all relations with the insurance company I should correspond by certified mail and that my insurance company was unlikely to want to pay me more than their initial appraisal of the value of my vehicle. "Let them tell you what they think your car is worth," he said. "That's probably all they'll want to pay unless you fight them, and even then, you may not get any more."
If I did want to fight the dollar amount they appraise my vehicle at, he said, I should call him back and hire him to produce a contrasting appraisal of the loss. The two would then meet somewhere in between the two estimates and that would be that.
Within a few days the insurance company sent an appraisal company called A.A.B. to my father's house to see my crashed car. A.A.B. then called me the next day and said they would be sending a tow truck to take the car away and that my insurance company would be contacting me about the amount of the settlement.
On Terry Shaw's advise I did not panic but patiently explained to the lady at A.A.B. that I was interested in retaining ownership of the vehicle and so I didn't want the vehicle to be towed away. Remember that I had reason to panic, since I had still had thousands of dollars of custom modifications I wished to extract from the vehicle no matter what happened.
THE EVIL APPRAISAL SERVICE
The lady at A.A.B. was most upset and said that my request was most irregular and angrily stated that I will be responsible for storage fees from that date forward. Further, she said, she felt that A.A.B. should really store the vehicle on A.A.B.'s own storage lot until the matter was cleared.
She sounded just a little too upset given the circumstances-suspiciously upset reallyand I began to see that A.A.B. itself was looking forward to making a profit off of my wreck! All these companies were licking their chops over the spoils from my own misfortune! Anyway, the A.A.B. lady
finally stopped trying to intimidate me and she said she would pass my request to retain the vehicle to Giantco Casualty and we'd see what they would say.
Now in the meantime, I decided to do some more work to try to figure out how much I should receive for the vehicle. I obtained one negative and one positive piece of information. The negative piece of information was that Consumer Reports' auto price service, which reports via touch tone phone the value of any used car, informed me that a used Syncro Camper like mine was worth about $11,000.
The positive piece of information was really an observation: my odometer had been replaced not too long before the accident and showed only 10,000 miles. Meanwhile, the driver's side door had been crushed permanently shut in the accident so it was unlikely the insurance company's appraiser would be able to see the sticker placed on the door showing the odometer had been changed. I realized then that I had a chance of getting more than $11,000 given the low reading on the odometer but I didn't know how much.
I heard the next day from Giantco. Casualty, my insurer: the appraisal amount for my vehicle was $15,100. If I wanted to keep the wreck, Giantco. Casualty would deduct $4,200. Giantco. Casualty wanted to know where to send the check.
RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO SETTLE
Next was one of the most important things that I did. I asked for the insurance company to put the amount in writing and told them I would get back to them. I resisted the temptation to agree to anything and I allowed things to just string along. This was what Terry Shaw had told me to do.
On the one hand, I was pleased with the settlement amounts on both counts: I had just heard of a rolled and demolished Syncro Camper in Indiana which had been sold at auction for $5,500 so $4,200 wasn't bad. And $15,100 was certainly much higher than the $11,000 figure being quoted in the official price books. If I rocked the boat and asked for even more money, I reasoned, the insurance company might find out the odometer had been changed. And anyway, I wanted the money.
THE POWER OF SCREAMING
I then called another friendChrisfor advice and Chris told me about his experience with a BMW that he had. The vehicle had been demolished and the insurance company had offered him book valuesince it was an older model the amount was something like $3,000. But my friend had just put $6,000 into the vehicle and he was convinced the vehicle had a value far greater than $3,000at least $5,000 in his mind.
This is how he explained it to me: "They called and said the amount was $3,000 and the amount was based on the book value," he said. "I became really mad and I told them that I didn't care what the book said, I wanted $5,000. They tried to insist on the $3,000 and I blew up. I told them that the figures in those used car price books were complete fabrications with no relation to the actual value of the cars. I told them that they were obviously kept artificially low in order to benefit the insurance companies and I just screamed at them." A few weeks later, he said, he received a check for $5,000 minus the deductible.
THE EVIL INSURANCE COMPANY
Another friend reported a similar incident. The insurance company made an offer on his car. My friend then called the agent to point out that the car was clearly worth twice the amount that the insurance company had offered. For some reasonI cannot recall now quite whyit was not really a matter of interpretation. It was absolutely clear that the car was worth a lot more than the insurance company had initially offered. Since the friend was on good terms with the insurance company adjuster he asked how the adjuster could possibly have produced such a low estimate at firstit seemed almost evil. The adjuster responded sheepishly, "Well, I had to try. It's my job."
In other words, it is the insurance company's mission to see if they can get you to agree to the lowest amount they can think up. If you agree you are stupid. If you won't agree then they're ready to deal. It is up to you to say what you want. The key in any dealing with an insurance company is to make your counter proposal as high as possible but also as thoroughly documented as possible.
And that's when I really understood the insurance business. Insurance companies like to negotiateeven prefer to negotiatebecause they know that due to time and money pressures most people will accept the insurance company's first offer. The few people that ask for more...well...pay them off because that's the cost of doing business.
That's where I set about deciding how to respond to my insurance company's offer. The next thing that I did was consult with New York State's department that helps consumers on insurance affairs. The attorney there said that I was on shaky ground. My contention was that the publisher of the official used car price guide had fabricated the figure they listed for a used Volkswagen Syncro Camper since I was sure they weren't being sold that cheap. Even if this was true, he said, New York State law states that the use of published price guides is acceptable evidence of the value of a used car. Were I to litigate the case, I would definitely lose on this point, he said.
I had to consider carefully what he was saying but I decided to pursue my other theorythat insurance settlements are not rational things at all. The insurance companies prefer to negotiate and sort of hedge everything. They gauge how much to pay you on how upset you get, I thought hopefully.
I got a boost by calling a body shop that advertised Rolls Royce and Ferrari repairs. I figured they would have experienced situations similar to mine and would have a point of view. The owner of the body shop told me that in cases he had seen there was a legal benefit to getting letters from three different official Volkswagen dealers, on their letterhead, stating that the value of a car like mine was more like $18,000 instead of the book value. "There is no sweat," he said. "All you need is three letters."
I never did determine who was right and what the exact legal advantage of the three letters was. I simply set about obtaining the letters and doing most of the work for the dealerships involved so the letters came out to my benefit. If you read the letter I wrote to Giantco. Casualty carefully you will see that I spent literally months preparing a convincing case that I should have received $18,000 as a settlement for the car I bought for $20,000. I worked particularly hard to remove all traces of anger and frustration from my letter and overwhelm the insurance company with documentation that they would be ill-inclined to dispute.
My attitude was that if negotiation was what they wanted, negotiation was what they would get. I would open my initial salvo like Rambo blasting into the room with 30 machine guns. Like a skilled card player, the insurance company would decide it was too much work to argue with me, fold its hand, agree to everything that I wanted, and send me a check. And that is exactly what happened.
The net result was that I had bought a used car for $20,000 and over the next year-and-a-half ran the mileage up from 10,000 miles to 48,000 miles. The insurance company then paid me the equivalent of $18,000 for having crashed it, meaning I had effectively paid only $2,000 in depreciation to drive it 38,000 miles. Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to buy the wreck back for $3,600 for parts. I wanted to do this because I intended to buy another Syncro Camper just like the one I had crashed and I had a reasonable expectation I'd need spare parts eventually. The $3,600 wasn't a bad deal for the whole car, I figured, since the cost of a replacement transmission at a dealer was $4,980.
The story had a happy ending since I located a brand new Syncro Camper for $23,300 and have since transferred all my modifications over to the brand new car.
A few closing notes are in order:
· don't forget to ask for sales tax
· don't forget to ask for the retail value of your car, not the wholesale value the insurance company offers at first
· don't forget to ask for all your storage, towing, etc.
· act like you have all the time in the world. This puts pressure on the insurance company since they are overworked and want to close out the case as bad as you do
· consult Terry Shaw by phone. He was most helpful even though I didn't need his services, and he might even disagree with some of what I have written here.
· if you have a collector or older car, look in one of the official price guides to the value of your car. If that's all you think it is worth, then don't do anything. But if it is in especially good condition be certain to have it appraised BEFORE THE ACCIDENT and send this appraisal to the insurance company. Scan the ads in the back of Hemmings for sources of appraisers in your area and for ads for collector car insurance.
· unless you are buying vintage insurance advertised in Hemmings Motor News, buy insurance based on the ratings in Consumer Reports. The companies that top the rankings are the ones that give you the best deals in negotiations!
· feel free to call me personally for advice
March 13, 1991
Butler Hill Road
Sommers, NY 10589
xx xxxxxview Blvd.
RE: File #000000000
Thanks for your letter dated January 4 offering me an insurance settlement of $15,100 for my Volkswagen GL Syncro Camper minus $4,200 salvage and $500 deductible.
I am sorry to have not responded to your follow-up letters and phone messages until now. Here's what's up.
Since the deer jumped out and wrecked my car I decided to buy another used one just like it. After a month's worth of research I found that I could not hope to find another one like mine near the $15,100 figure valuation placed on the vehicle. I couldn't understand how this could be so, and why there was such a large difference between selling prices of used Volkswagen GL Syncro Campers and the $15,100 valuation. For this reason, I have delayed my response to you until I could get a better idea of the market for these vehicles.
I found that there are only 1,200 Syncro (4WD) VW Campers imported into US and they trade very rarely. This is such a small number of vehicles that it would take some real digging and research to find out about actual trades and current asking prices. Given this, I suspect the $15,100 figure is based on a what would be much more convenient--to make an extrapolation from the prices at which the much more common two-wheel-drive VW Campers trade. Such an extrapolation would might seem reasonable, but it yields a figure that is not market reality. That's what I found out.
What follows are several charts listing information that I found out about. Please feel free to call any party or dealer mentioned in this letter directly.
USED VOLKSWAGEN SYNCRO CAMPERS CURRENTLY FOR SALE
|1. Dennis Haynes (private individual) ph.516-563-8248||1987 Syncro Camper,,no power windows,no power doors,has 45,000 miles.||$18,000|
|2. (unknown) ad in New York Times attached. ph.718-343-3672||1987 Syncro Camper has 30,000 miles||19,000|
|3. William's Volkswagen of Lansing Michigan ph.517-484-1341||offering used 1990 with 22,000 miles on it||19,995|
|4. Vasek-Polak Volkswagen of Calif. ph.213-376-0935||offering used 1990 with 17,000 miles on it||23,900|
|5. Steve Loper (Private individual advertising in Denver papers)ph.203-323-2975||offering used 1987; vehicle lacks many options,windshield, cracked and dented bumper; had 60,000 miles on it||18,000|
USED VOLKSWAGEN SYNCRO CAMPERS RECENTLY SOLD
Party Description Selling Price
1. Campbell-Nelson VW 1987 Syncro Camper $19,000
(authorized dealer) Used vehicle
ph.206-778-1131 sold to retail
contact Hugh customer
2. Kinney Motors VW, Vt. Used Syncro Kinney bid
(authorized dealer) Camper $18,000 and
ph.802-775-6900 lost bid to
contact Fred Malone another VW
(see letter attached) dealer
I actually found a few VW dealers who said they did a sufficient volume in VW Syncro Campers to have sold a used one or to say they felt they understood the market well. Two of the dealers wrote me a letter stating that I should expect to pay around $18,000 to $20,000 to replace my vehicle with a similar one. Copies of their letters to me are attached. Other dealers offered to write.
I am not making any of this up. Let me invite you to call any of these authorized dealers and ask them what they think a customer would have to pay to get a used Syncro Camper:
VW DEALERS EXPERT AT SYNCRO CAMPER:
Campbell Nelson VW (Wa.) 206-778-1131, Hugh Wallenfels
Kinny Motors (Rutland, Vermont) 802-775-6900, Fred Malone
Carter VW (Seattle, Wa.) 206-782-7474, Fred Turner Owasco
Volkswagen (Toronto) 416-668-9383, David in sales
I have read my New York State policy, and I see that if I disagree with your offer I have the right to hire an appraiser of my own to produce a contrasting appraisal of the loss. I have located a suitable, licensed, automotive appraiser who represents individuals to insurance companies.
His fee is reasonable but I doubt there is a dispute about the quality of my vehicle before the accident; it was in near perfect condition. The problem is that, in the real world, it seems that vehicles like thiseven vehicles in worse conditiontrade for $4,000-$5,000 more than the $15,100 valuation. And I don't think the issue is retail vs. wholesale. New York State insurance regulations provide that coverage should be the retail price.
The second issue that gives me concern is that the salvage value of the vehicle at $4,200 seems high. I canvassed salvage yards around the country and was advised that they usually pay for wrecked cars up to 20% of their wholesale value. The highest value any of the salvage yards would place on my vehicle was $3,500. Unfortunately, my car was crushed along the length of the driver's side, demolishing suspension parts and the factory camper equipmentall of which is installed on that side of the vehicle. I think it would be more fair to set to salvage amount at 20% of final vehicle valuation.
Thirdly, New York State insurance regulations provide for you to pay sales tax in addition to the settlement for the vehicle. Sales tax on a $18,000 vehicle would add $1,300 to the settlement.
Fourth, I spent $163.56 and $58.99 on towing and storage which I believe should be reimbursed. Receipts are attached.
Here is what I believe would be a fair offer:
|18,000||for the vehicle (this is the minimum price I could find a replacement vehicle for)|
|1,300||for sales tax|
|222.55||towing and storage (receipts attached)|
|-3,500||maximum salvage value I was able to obtain|
2. Letter from Volkswagen Santa Monica estimating used Syncro Camper would cost me between $18,000 and $20,000.
3. Last Sunday's New York Times ad offering 1987 Syncro Camper for sale for $19,000.
4. Police Report
5. Accident Report
6. Hyatt's Garage receipt for $163.56
7. Towing Receipt for $58.99
May 22, 1991
Butler Hill Road Sommers, NY 10589
xx xxxxxxxxx Blvd.
RE: File xxxxxxxxxx
We spoke yesterday by telephone. You advised me that your appraisal service was able to confirm through a market survey that $18,000 would be a fair valuation for my 1987 Volkswagen Syncro Camper prior to my accident on November 29. You said they were also able to confirm that $3,500 was a fair valuation for the vehicle after the accident.
You advised me that in order to settle my claim I needed to write you a letter stating that I agree to settle on the terms you outlined to me and that I wish to retain the wrecked vehicle.
Accordingly, be advised that I wish to have $3,500 deducted from my settlement so that I may keep possession of the wreck and that I accept the following settlement:
$18,000 valuation before accident
-3,500 valuation of wreck after accident
+222.55 Towing & Storage
15,273.80 TOTAL SETTLEMENT
May 29, 1991
Butler Hill Road Sommers, NY 10589
xx xxxxxxxxx Blvd.
RE: File xxxxxxxxxx
You made of me a request this afternoon that I send you, for your files, a copy of the sales receipt for the Volkswagen Syncro Camper that I bought to replace the one that crashed into the deer. A copy of the sales draft is attached.