If you are thinking of filing a property damage claim after an auto accident, and the insurance company is telling you that your vehicle is a total loss, you may be wondering: what happens now? You may even disagree with the valuation of the insurance company. Does it make a difference whose insurance company you are negotiating with, your’s or the at-fault driver’s? We are going to discuss some of these questions and shed some light on what to do.
Whose Insurance Company Will Cover Car Damages?
The first thing you may ask yourself is which insurance company will cover the damages to your vehicle, your own insurer or that of the person who caused the accident. The answer depends on what sort of coverage you have for your vehicle.
No-Fault Auto Insurance
No-fault auto insurance essentially means that the insurance company will the cost of specific damages regardless of which driver is at fault for the accident, or if anyone at all is responsible. Utah is a no-fault state, meaning that you are not entirely subject to no-fault regulations. If you have any questions concerning no-fault insurance, contact a qualified car crash attorney in Utah today.
Collision coverage is a type of insurance coverage that will cover all damages of your vehicle resulting from a crash. Collision coverage can be fairly expensive because it covers car damages despite who is at fault for the incident. You are able to file a claim against your own insurance company’s collision coverage in the event that you are at fault for an accident.
Essentially, because Utah is a no-fault state, the rules regarding car damage claims may vary. It is important to consult with state law or an experienced Salt Lake City collision attorney in order to determine which insurance company should pay for any property damages caused by a car crash.
How Much Will Be Covered?
Insurance companies will only pay damages up until the limit of the given policy. An example could be a driver who was at fault, causing $25,000 of damage to your vehicle. He or she may only have $10,000 coverage limit for property damage, meaning that his or her insurer will only pay $10,000 toward the cost or repairs. The only way you will be able to receive the remaining $15,000 to cover the full cost of repairs would be from your own insurance policy’s collision coverage, if you have it, of course.
What Happens If the Insurance Company Says My Vehicle is a Total Loss?
In the event that the insurance company tries to tell you that your vehicle is a “total loss,” it will only cover you for the market value of your vehicle per the date of the collision. Sadly, the insurance company is only obligated to cover damages up to the market value of the destroyed property, even if more is owed on the car loan than the vehicle’s actual value. In order to better understand, let’s take a look at a common scenario.
Let’s imagine that at the time your vehicle was totaled you still owed about $14,500 on your loan. However, the current market value, or Blue Book value, of the vehicle was only $12,000. The insurance company will only give you $12,000 toward the car’s value. This would still leave you with $2,500 to pay on your loan, despite no longer having the vehicle.
Even more, if the insurance company declares your vehicle to be a total loss, the insurer will usually give you the choice to sell the vehicle to them where they will in turn sell the vehicle to a salvage yard in order to partially recoup its financial losses, or you can retain your vehicle and the insurance company will pay you the market value and deduct the amount they could have received for the salvage value.
What to Do If You Disagree With the Insurance Company’s Valuation
If you find yourself doubting the insurance company’s valuation of your sustained damages, the only available options are to accept the valuation, attempt to negotiate with the insurance company, or file suit.
Even if you attempt to negotiate or sue, you will have to have some justifiable reason for disagreeing with the figures given by the insurance company. You will likely need to provide hard evidence that the vehicle is worth more than what the insurance company told you. The two types of evidence you would need are the exact condition the vehicle was in and proof of the car’s true value.
The most effective method to provide evidence of the car’s condition is fairly current pictures of the vehicle. If you think your car may be valued more than it’s Blue book value, maybe due to serious upgrades or other work, you should regularly document your vehicle. This will allow you to prove the condition of your vehicle at the time prior to the accident.
The most effective method to provide evidence of your car’s true value would be through the assessment of a qualified appraiser. If you disagree with the insurance company’s valuation, you will need to hire an appraiser to give a professional opinion on the vehicle’s actual value. Just using an online vehicle value calculator would not be sufficient. You will need to have the documented testimony of a qualified professional.
Salt Lake City Vehicle Collisions
Thousands are injured on the roadways of Utah each and every year. When the victims are injured to the actions of a negligent driver, it is important for them to call a qualified Salt Lake City car accident lawyer immediately following the crash.
For the best three decades, the experienced Utah personal injury lawyers at Siegfried & Jensen have helped countless victims get the compensation they deserve after being harmed in a crash due to the actions of a reckless driver. If you have been injured, contact our law offices today at (801) 845-9000 to discuss the options for your case.
Content checked by personal injury attorney Todd Bradford. I worked for a small law firm in Utah County, where I handled various types of cases. My main focus was personal injury and I decided that is what I enjoyed doing the most. I rejoined Siegfried and Jensen in 2012 where my focus is solely on helping personal injury clients. I take pride in helping personal injury clients and enjoy serving them. If you need an attorney for auto accidents or injuries of any kind in Salt Lake City, UT, Ogden, UT, Spokane, WA, or Boise, ID, contact us.