Frequently Asked Questions

When can an insurance company consider my car a total loss?

When the repair cost approaches or exceeds the actual cash value of the car.

I recently had an accident in my five-year-old car and the company wants to fix it by using used parts.  Can they do this?

Yes.  The company my have your car repaired with parts of like kind and quality, which would include used parts.

Will an insurance company pay to replace items such as tires or batteries that are damaged in an accident?

Yes. However, an insurance company will not necessarily pay for 100% of the replacement cost of such items as tires, batteries, or entire paint jobs. These items may be subject to a deduction for depreciation for the amount of time the item had been in use prior to the accident.

If I am involved in an accident where the other party was at fault, am I entitled to compensation for renting a substitute vehicle while my vehicle is being repaired?

If the other party’s insurer assumes liability for the accident, you would be entitled to recover reasonable costs which were incurred in hiring a comparable substitute vehicle for the period during which you are deprived of the use of your vehicle. The rental may not exceed a reasonable period of time for repairs to be made.  You have an obligation to keep these costs to a minimum.  You should provide the insurance company with a receipt for the rental cost.

May an insurance company use non-original manufactured parts or “after market” parts in preparing an estimate for my vehicle that was involved in an accident?

Yes.  The company may have your car repaired with after market parts. However, they must disclose on the estimate or on a separate document that the estimate is based on the use of after market parts.

Do I have the right to select the repair facility to conduct the repairs to my vehicle after it has been involved in an accident?

Yes.  Although many companies will suggest body shops or repair facilities, the final decision is yours.

If my car is determined to be a total loss, can I keep the vehicle?

Yes.  However, the company’s settlement offer will be reduced by the salvage value of your vehicle. Salvage value is the value of the vehicle after the loss.

I am dissatisfied with the repair work done to my vehicle by the repair facility I chose. What obligation does the insurance company have to correct this?

The insurance company is responsible for paying for repairs to your vehicle. Since you chose the repair facility, you are responsible for making sure the job is done satisfactory.

Is there any one method a company must use to determine the value of my vehicle when settling a total loss claim?

There are many different methods a company may use to determine the value of your vehicle. There is no method prescribed by law.

Under the terms of the physical damage coverage in my automobile  policy, do I have the right to make the decision as to whether to repair, replace, or to receive cash for my wrecked auto?

No.That is one of the rights given to the company by your policy.