Recovered Stolen Vehicle Smells like Drugs, Insurance only wants to correct physical damage

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Recovered Stolen Vehicle Smells like Drugs, Insurance only wants to correct physical damage

Hello,
I had a vehicle I owned for 30 days stolen and then recovered after heavy drugs
were smoked in the car crack and/or meth. The insurance company wants to
repair it overall physical and mechanical damage, but the scent of the car is
awful and makes me dizzy and gives me a headache was hospitalized from it.
They had Servpro disaster cleaning company professionally clean the car, but
the scent lingers and even a few minutes in the car and I notice a headache. The
repair shop recommended changing all the seats and upholstery, but the insurance
denied that and honestly I’m not sure that’s enough anyway. I have two children
and I am not and I don’t know if I will ever be comfortable putting them in the
car again. At this point can I ask that they just total the car?

Asked on June 6, 2017 under Insurance Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can ask, but they don't have to do this: their legal obligation as an insurer is to pay the lesser of the repair cost or the then-current fair market value (or "blue book" value). The law accepts that for various reasons, a repaired vehicle may never be as good as it had been; nonetheless, the insurer only needs to repair the actual physical damage, if that is less than the cost to total the vehicle. You cannot force them to pay more than they are legally required to pay.


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