If my auto insurance company cost me $3500 on the value of my car, what should I be able to do?

My car was in a flood. My insurance company would not total it and by the time it was fixed, it cost $9000 to repair. Before the incident, the value of a trade-in on the car was around $7000, and now I can’t get more than $3500 for it. Do I have a case?

Asked on August 1, 2012 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not appear to have a case. The insurer may make the decision as to whether it is economically worthwhile to fix a car or it should total it--sometimes it makes the wrong call, but since this is within its discretion, there is no right to force them to total instead of repairing. And when a car is badly damaged then repaired, its resale, etc. value will be diminished, but that is, unfortunately, simply a fact of life; the insurer's obligation, if it chooses to not total the car, is to repair it, not to make sure the insured does not suffer any dimunition of value.

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