If the other guy’s insurance assumes liability, do we still have to accept a settlement that won’t cover replacement cost?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Mar 15, 2017

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Insurance Question from Burlington, OR

Asked on 03/15/2017

If the other guy’s insurance assumes liability, do we still have to accept a settlement that won’t cover replacement cost? My son was hit head on by a drunk driver who crossed into his lane. Thankfully, he's not hurt, but both insurance companies want to give him the supposed resale value of his truck and we cannot find a replacement at that price. What are our options?

Answer given on March 20, 2017

When an auto is considered a total loss due to an accident, the insurance company will pay what is considered to be the current actual cash value of the car. This may not be what you, the owner of the car, considers the value but it is the approved way of settling a claim on a total loss.The insurance company may use the “blue book” value or some other similar valuation publication. If you do not feel this is sufficient, it is up to you to prove the difference. If you can find a local used vehicle of similar age and mileage you can present that to the adjuster. Classified ads or values from dealers in the area can be used. You cannot use the internet unless the vehicle is in your area, since car values vary in different areas of the country. After you can support your valuation, contact the adjuster and provide them with your evidence. If they decline ask to speak to a supervisor who may be able to work with you on a revised value.

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