Our insurance company paid more to repair our car than what it was worth. Now it’s lost value due to fixed frame damage and we cannot sell it for what is owed. Do we have any financial options?

We live in CA. We were in NV when in a weather related accident. There were no other vehicles involved. Our SUV was worth approximately 17k when the accident happened. Our vehicle had substantial damage that was originally misjudged or misrepresented to insurance. Instead of totaling the car, they paid at least 22k to fix it and return it to us after approximately 3 months, having to take the vehicle back to NV, then several shops locally and it still has issues. Now, we are upside due to the amount we still owe being more than the amount we are being offered due to the

Asked on November 3, 2017 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you would not have any recourse. The insurer is not liable for lost value due to being upside down on the financing (what you paid for the vehicle is irrelevant to an insurance claim); it is responsible to pay either the cost to repair or the the-current fair market or "blue book" value. While the insurer will usually pay the blue book value and "total" the car when that is less than the cost to repair, it is not required to: the insurer may choose to pay to repair even when that is not logical or the most-cost-effective choice. If the insurer paid for the repairs, even if that was a bad choice, it discharged its resonsibility and has no more obligation.

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