Property Damage For Your Vehicle
If you have been in an automobile accident as a result of someone else’s negligence or fault, and your car was damaged, you are entitled to have the “at fault” person’s insurance company pay you for your damages or the value of your vehicle. After receiving a claim, an insurance company has 30 days to pay the claim, make an offer, deny the claim or advise that they’re investigating the claim.
If your car can be repaired, the insurance company for the “at fault” person is responsible for ensuring the car is repaired to your satisfaction. This does not necessarily mean the estimated amount by a repair facility you choose. If the company can have the same repairs completed at a lower cost from another shop, you may be required to pay the difference. However, the insurance company will often negotiate the cost with the repair facility that you choose. No insurance company can require the use of after-market parts in the repair of your vehicle unless the part is equal to the original part in terms of fit, quality, performance and warranty. You can choose not to have after-market parts placed on your car but you may be responsible for any additional cost. The insurance company may deduct for depreciation when they allow for an entire paint job or when such items as tires and batteries are replaced. Depreciation is the decrease in value of the vehicle or part because of age or wear and tear.
If the damage to your vehicle is equal to or exceeds the total cost of repair or if the damage exceeds 75% of the pre-accident actual cash value (ACV), the insurer must consider your vehicle a total loss. When your car is totaled, the insurance company is responsible for its ACV. ACV represents the local market value of your totaled vehicle. You have the right to keep the salvaged vehicle but if you do, the insurance company will deduct the salvage value from the ACV
There are two methods to determine ACV/local market value:
- By using the local market price of a comparable vehicle; or
- If no comparable vehicle can be located, dollar estimates from at least two qualified dealers within the local market area are normally used