Why Won’t the Insurance Company Replace Your Car After an Accident

Why Won’t the Insurance Company Replace Your Car After An Accident

If you’ve recently been involved in an auto accident in North Carolina there are certain things of which you should be aware regarding your claim.  First, the property damage claim for your vehicle is separate from your bodily injury claim and is usually handled by two separate insurance adjusters. 
The property damage claim can generally be resolved faster than a claim for the injuries you sustained as a result of the car wreck.  Why is this?  Well, it’s pretty straightforward.  Almost immediately after the car crash, your vehicle is damaged.  The damages will not increase or decrease although the different valuations of that damage may differ slightly. The car will not slowly repair itself and won’t progressively get worse.  The damage done to the car in the accident is it.  A bodily injury claim is different because requires a longer period of time to appropriately assess and treat the harm caused to your body.

The insurance company will determine a value of the damage to your vehicle after conducting an investigation into the post-accident status of the vehicle. The insurance company will weigh the extent of the property damage against the value of your vehicle prior to the accident.  Thus, putting you back in the position you were in before their insured damaged your vehicle.  The insurance company will decide if the cost to put your car back in its pre-accident condition is greater than completely replacing the car altogether it will render the car a total loss. 

This is a source of contention between the insurance adjuster and the car owner.  The insurance company is convinced that you can find the exact same car you had before the wreck for a fraction of what you could in reality.  So, how do you dispute this?  Well, there are a number of ways.  The process will be comparable to saving the princess on the original Nintendo with only one Mario life remaining.  Nonetheless, it can at least be attempted.
Are there ways to counteract this loss for personal property?  Absolutely, it requires planning and common sense, but it can be done.  One way is to frequently get the value of your vehicle from your own insurance company.  I don’t mean the asking or lowest accepted offer values if you were to sell the vehicle.  Or even the KBB or consumer report values. Especially not the remaining balance you owe on the vehicle.  These values may be determinative in an insurer’s assessment of value, but there is a “value” that insurance companies may place on your vehicle.

Because most automobiles are generally considered depreciable assets, as time passes and the vehicle use increases, these are depreciated from the value of the starting asset value as an expense. When you purchase a new vehicle you would obviously want to insure the replacement value of the vehicle.  A year after owning the vehicle the value of the car is depreciated—whether you agree or not—it’s true.  If you don’t check with your insurance company and adjust the policy amount to correlate to a change in value you could pay higher premiums for a higher policy limit that you’ll never use.  The insurance company won’t tell you this.  Why would they?  Pay your premiums on the car that was worth $10,000 when you got it.  Keep paying the premiums even though three years into the policy, the car is now only worth $5000.  You get in an auto accident after paying the premiums on a $10,000 car when in reality your premium should have decreased—assuming your driving record remains constant. 

Use the difference in the premiums the insurance company prefers that you pay and what you should really be paying to save for a replacement car.  Or use the difference to pay down the balance owed on the car faster.  This will save you less in interest and may help reduce the likelihood of an unfunded liability in the event your vehicle is considered a “total loss.”  If you still owe more on your car than what it’s worth—the insurance company still only has to put you in the position you were in before the incident.  If that means paying the lienholder some but not all of the balance you owe on the vehicle, they don’t care. 

Is that harsh?  Well, their insured driver only caused the damage.  The fact that you may have a car that is worth less than what you owe on it doesn’t matter a lick to the insurance company.  These are a few ways to keep things in check when it comes to property damage after an auto accident.   Call us today at 336-838-5129 www.willardsonlaw.com to discuss possible options .