How can I determine how much my auto insurance claim is really worth?

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How can I determine how much my auto insurance claim is really worth?


There are several methods insurance companies use to make a claim valuation for auto accidents. Some are not available to people outside the industry, but there are guidelines that attorneys generally use to reach an appropriate estimate.

  • Colossus is the computer model most of the major insurance companies use, but little is known of how it works outside the industry.
  • Per diem is a method of determining injury claims that determines the average income in this country and multiplies that amount by the number of days you suffered from your injuries.
  • Multiple of specials is the most common method used by attorneys and smaller insurance companies.

Multiple of specials is based on the medical special damages, or specials, incurred as a result of your injuries. Those specials are then multiplied by a number representing the severity of your injuries. That multiplier generally ranges between 1.5 and 5, although in extreme cases, it may reach 10. Lost income is then added to the total, as are property damage totals.

Attorneys use this type of calculation as an estimate that can be increased or decreased due to any special circumstances involved in your accident. It can be difficult for a layperson to know which multiplier to use and how to adjust the estimate in their case. That is why it can be worthwhile to consult with an auto accident attorney to help in this calculation.