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How to deal with insurance law disagreements over a totaled auto

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2020 | Insurance Law |

When there is an auto accident in Washington State, one of the primary concerns is that people are free from injury. Those who have been hurt should be aware of the importance of getting medical care to try and return to normal. Another issue that is secondary to a person’s health but is still important is receiving appropriate insurance payments on the vehicle. If the auto was “totaled” meaning it is a total loss and cannot be repaired, there may be complications in getting full value from the insurance company. Knowing what steps to take to get full payment is imperative.

The facts about insurance recovery for a totaled auto

When the auto has been totaled, there are important points to remember. When making a claim for a vehicle that has been totaled, the insurance company is legally required to pay cash value for it. If there is a disagreement as to what the vehicle was worth, there are options available for the insurer. They include replacing the vehicle with a comparable one; paying a cash settlement that goes beyond the cash value based on comparable vehicles in the area; or activating an appraisal provision so independent entities can resolve the disagreement.

Regarding the insurer’s attempt to find comparable vehicles in the area, it can expand its search up to 150 miles to find those comparable vehicles. Fees will be included to any cash value appraisal. The insurer can be asked for a report detailing its assessment and finding as to the vehicle’s value. When there is still a chasm between the owner and the insurer as to the vehicle’s value, the owner can hire an appraiser. If the policy allows this, the insurer can also hire an appraiser.

Insurance disputes may require legal assistance

People who need their automobiles for work and personal use and suddenly find themselves without it because of an accident in which it was totaled have the right to a full and equitable recovery. Unfortunately, there are common disagreements between owners and insurance companies as to the value of the totaled vehicle. If an insurer is behaving unfairly or is trying to avoid paying a fair amount, having legal assistance can be important. A firm with experience in insurance law can provide guidance and protection to get the full value of the vehicle.