Can I hope to be reimbursed for the retail value of my car?

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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: Jan 4, 2012

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Insurance Question from Brooklyn, NY

Asked on 01/04/2012

Can I hope to be reimbursed for the retail value of my car? I own a 1994 Acura Vigor with 96,000 miles, in excellent shape. I was struck by a tractor trailer. One estimate of repair is over $4,000.00. I expect that it will be totaled. If this happens, I want to be compensated so that I have enough money to purchase an identical car with no cost to me. If the insurance company will not do this, what are my chances of winning this amount in small claims court? I have gone to court in another insurance accident claim matter to prove fault, with good results, and so have no reservations on trying this again. I woThank you

Answer given on January 04, 2012

If your vehicle is damaged in an accident, the insurance company is expected to repair it or reimburse you for the actual cash value of the car. The insurance company bases its determination of the value of the car on several resources including the Blue Book and local sales of vehicles. If you feel the settlement offer is low, it is your responsibility to provide evidence that you are entitled to more money. You can do this with evidence of local ads or online ads for the same car. You must use local costs, not costs throughout the country.If you and the insurance company cannot agree to a value, then an arbitrator may be called in to try to settle the claim. If you are not satisfied with that procedure you could try to go to small claims court, but if you have provided strong evidence of the value of your car to the adjuster then the insurance company should be willing to offer a fair settlement for your car.

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