Yesterday I was a victim of a hit and run. The offender cut off a motorist in a two-lane road going eastbound. I was traveling in the left lane going east-bound when the vehicle impacted my rear passenger side perpendicularly, flinging my vehicle out of control. I was fish-tailing and I noticed in my rear-view that the offender decided to cross two sets of double-yellows and join west bound traffic at full speed and vanished.
There was a witness (the motorist that was initially cut-off) that stayed at the scene. I found the offender's license plate in the road with some other debris from the impact. Once the police arrived and received the license plate information they quickly located the offender and found that he was operating without a license. I took over a dozen photos and retrieved the police report as soon as I could.
After speaking with my insurance agent today, she deemed my vehicle a total loss (within 5 minutes of conversation) without actually seeing my vehicle. She instructed me to release the vehicle as soon as possible from the towing company. I went to release the vehicle and while I was there, one of the employees (who happened to be a licensed appraiser) told me that it would be unwise of me to release the vehicle to my insurance without first having the vehicle assessed. He told me to contact my insurance agent asap and ask to have my vehicle assessed and to receive a quote before releasing the vehicle over. I took his advice as I understand how it could be to my disadvantage in doing so.
I'm not experienced in this process at all and what I'm looking for now is some advice as how to approach this situation without being exploited by my insurance company. I currently have no means of transportation and although I have been told that I can immediately rent a vehicle and have the expenses (up to 30 days) reimbursed, the advice I have been receiving has been mixed. I have been told that if I don't have rental insurance coverage and the owner of the offending vehicle doesn't have rental insurance coverage I may not be reimbursed. I've also read that MA civil law requires the party at-fault to cover the expenses of substitute transportation.
Am I making any mistakes so far? Can anyone give me some tips? I want to make sure that I get a fair settlement package for what my vehicle should have been worth prior to the accident. I've been told to wait for assessment and then negotiate things such as improvements/repairs made to the vehicle recently, license/reg fees that I wouldn't have had to pay for had I not been in this accident, etc.. I've also been told to consider taking the offender to court. I'm sitting here at home with no means of transportation and feeling like I can't even trust my own insurance agent, which is why I'm looking for unbiased advice. Thank you!