If you’ve been in an accident, and are handling the property damage portion of your claim on your own, you may have heard the claims adjuster mention the term “actual case value” of your vehicle, and wondered what determines a vehicle’s “actual cash value.” This term is generally used when the car is being considered for “total loss” status, often referred to as “totaled.”
The actual cash value of a vehicle in Texas is the Fair Market Value, which is the amount you would pay to replace your vehicle with a vehicle of similar condition in the geographic area in which you live. Keep in mind, this value may be more or less than blue book value. Generally, when the cost of repairing your vehicle is greater than the vehicle’s “actual cash value,” the insurance company will deem the car a “total loss,” and will purchase the car for its fair market value instead of repairing it.
In most total loss situations, the owner of the vehicle does not feel that the insurance company is giving them a fair valuation of their vehicle. In many cases, vehicle owners will base their valuation of their vehicle on subjective factors, such as how well the care was cared for, that they were the first an only owner, or that the performed upgrades to the care. However, under Texas law, the insurance company is only required to pay fair market value, which is determined by researching sale prices of same or similar vehicles, i.e. model year, make, condition, mileage, options, within the same geographic area (usually the state in which you live).
As mentioned above, most owners disagree with the initial vehicle valuation, and think that they should be entitled to greater compensation for their total loss vehicle. However, in most cases, insurance companies use software programs in the valuation of total loss vehicles, and are therefore pretty accurate as far as determining what fair market value of the total loss vehicle is. Because of this, insurance companies will rarely increase the amount they are willing to pay a vehicle owner for their totaled vehicle. This is especially true if the owner is trying to settle their property damage claim without an attorney.
While insurance companies are reluctant to increase their initial valuation of a total loss vehicle, having an experienced attorney on your side can help. While we do not represent clients in property damage only cases, we assist our injury clients in settling the property damage portion of their claims. In fact, we have had great success in persuading insurance companies to increase their initial valuations, obtaining thousands in increased compensation for our clients.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident, and are now facing the many unfair tactics that insurance companies often employ against accident victims, we are here to assist you, and to answer any questions you may have regarding your situation. We offer a free consultation with one of our auto accident lawyers. Call us at (210) 593-8709, or visit our contact page to request a consultation.