If an insurer is only offering half of what it will require to replace my vehicle, do I have to go to court to get fair value?

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If an insurer is only offering half of what it will require to replace my vehicle, do I have to go to court to get fair value?

I was not at fault.

Asked on March 15, 2012 under Accident Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the insurer (or the at-fault driver) refuses to pay what you consider the fair amount, you have the right to sue; moreover, filing a law suit is the only way to force someone to pay if they refuse to. Note that insurers do not generally pay replacement cost--they typically only pay, if a car is  totaled, the then-current value (e.g. the "blue book" value) for a car of that make, model, year, and mileage--this amount, unfortunately, is generally less than the replacement value. Even if you sue and win, you cannot recover more than the then-current value of your vehicle--neither an insurer nor an at-fault driver is obligated to pay replacement cost (unless it is your own insurer, under a collision policy, which happens to provide for replacement cost, which is very rare). Therefore, it is possible that you cannot receive as much as you think is appropriate.


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