How can I get replacement not book value for a vehicle that was a total loss?

My husband and I lost our work van recently in an accident where the other driver was at fault. We need this vehicle for our business. Their settlement offer is based on book value, not replacement value. I can’t replace this vehicle for what they have offered, and I don’t have thousands of dollars to spare. We would be driving our vehicle until it was dead, if not for this. What can I do?

Asked on March 1, 2012 under Accident Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you probably do not have any recourse. While you should double check what your policy says, every policy I've seen states that the insurer will pay the cost to repair or the book value of vehicle, whichever is lower. Even if the book value, in the case of totalling a vehicle, does not make the insured whole, because it costs more than that to replace the vehicle, the insurer is only obligated to pay as per its policy. So unless the policy stated they would pay replacement cost, they are most likely, if the van were totalled, only required to pay the book value.

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