Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Washington Auto Accident Valuation Dispute Overview

Determining Car Replacement Value in Total Loss Claims

If you have ever been in an accident and had the insurance company low ball you, you know that this is a tough part of the law if you don't know how to effective argue these items.

In accidents that include personal injury claims, as well as auto claims, the two issues will typically involve two different negotiation processes. Here is an overview of what you need to know with the automobile valuation should you happen to disagree with the insurance company valuation.

How is the value of the car determined/disputed?

Governing Law: WAC 284-30-391

Unless insurance company and insured can agree on value, an insurer must settle the insured’s total loss claim by using one of following three methods:

1) Offering replacement with an available and comparable care in the insured’s area

Replacement vehicle must be a (1) comparable vehicle, (2) available for inspection within a reasonable distance from where the totaled vehicle is normally parked.

2) Cash Settlement Based on “Actual Value” of Comparable Cars in the insured’s area
The insurer must determine the “actual value” of a comparable vehicle, minus the deductible. The insurer must determine the actual cash value is by using one of the following methods:
a. The actual cash value of a comparable vehicle in area where loss vehicle is normally garaged.
b.       Using two or more licensed dealer quotations of a comparable vehicle by dealers located within 150 miles of area where loss vehicle normally garaged
c.        The actual cash value of two or more comparable vehicles advertised for sale within 150 miles of area where loss vehicle is normally garaged.
d.       A computerized source that must meet the criteria within WAC 284-30-391(2)(iv)
e.        If no methods in a-d provide an actual cash value, search area may be expanded in 25 mile increment, not to exceed 150 miles without permission of the claimant
f.        If the insurance policy has an appraisal provision, either party may invoke it to determine actual cash value

The insurer must add to the actual cash value any applicable taxes, license fees and other fees that would have been incurred by the insured if he had purchased the loss. (WAC 284-30-391). After the  actual  cash  value,  sales  tax  and  applicable pro-rated taxes and fees are added together, the insurance company deducts the  salvage value from the total amount.

Tip from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner: To find out if the amount the insurer offers you is a reasonable estimate of the retail market value, ask the insurer for a “total loss valuation report.” This report shows the comparable auto data the insurer used to calculate your vehicle’s value. Insurers aren’t required to provide it without being asked, so be sure you request a copy.

For more information on Seattle Auto Accident Help, consider contacting a Seattle Auto Accident Attorney

Our Firm: 

520 Kirkland Way, Ste 103
Kirkland, WA 98033
T: (425) 889-9300

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