Is my insurance company supposed to pay book value for my totaled vehicle?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is my insurance company supposed to pay book value for my totaled vehicle?

I totaled my vehicle. It went through my insurance as no fault. I had full coverage on it. My insurance went and found prices for similar vehicles in the area and said that the average price

was around $3000 less than what we still owed. They said they wouldn’t pay what we owed because we didn’t have gap coverage. However, aren’t they suppose to give book value for the vehicle?

Asked on July 17, 2016 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They're supposed to give the "fair market value." The "book value" is one indicia of what that is, but it's not set in stone: FMV does vary with the car's exact trim and accoutrements, condition, even where you are located (since there is no one national market). If you believe that the amount they are offering is not the fair market value, you could sue them for the amount you think is correct, but since you would need expert testimony (e.g. an appraiser; an experienced car dealer or salesman who has sold this type/year of car; etc.)--court/evidence rules require  a live, knowledgeable person to testify, and you can't simply put "the book" in front of the court--and you'd have to pay such a person for her/his time (unless it's a friend, of course), the suit could cost you several hundred or more dollars, even if you act as your own attorney. If you sue, you may win, but may not--lawsuits are never guaranteed; you could spend money on the suit and delay payment for months only to not get more than they are offering.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption