Don’t Let Texas’s Total Loss Statute Become a Total Scam

Any cable car accident will ruin your day, but it ’ s specially frustrating when your car insurance company makes the days and weeks that follow even worse by giving you the runaround on what it will pay for repairs or a substitute. In Texas, policy companies sometimes try to pay less than you deserve by taking advantage of the Lone Star State ’ s total loss legislative act for bust up automobiles. With the aid of a skilled car accident lawyer, you can prevent them from getting away with it.

What Totaled Means to Your Auto Insurance Company

If person tells you they totaled their car, you probably picture a cable car that ’ s completely destroyed and undrivable. Crumpled front-end, caved-in roof, deflect skeleton, that sort of thing. Basically, to most people, a totaled cable car is destined for the junkyard. But that ’ s not how policy companies see it.

To indemnity companies, totaled ( or sum loss ) doesn ’ t necessarily mean “ damaged beyond all repair. ” alternatively, it means, “ not worth repairing, based on our estimate of what the car was worth before it crashed. ” Or, to put it another way, policy companies use “ totaled ” to justify paying you less than you deserve for the damage to your car.

The Texas Total Loss Statute

Most states, including Texas, have laws on the books that require special titles for discredited vehicles. The function of these statutes is to protect purchasers of use vehicles by giving them notice, on the face of the vehicle title, that the vehicle has previously sustained damage in crashes, floods, or early damage incidents. The Texas Transportation Code defines two levels of vehicle damage requiring a particular title :

  • A salvage motor vehicle is one for which the cost of repairing damage exceeds the actual cash value (a.k.a. market value) of the vehicle immediately before the damage occurred. The law requires a salvage title for a vehicle with this level of damage.
  • A nonrepairable motor vehicle is one to which the damage is so severe that its only value derives from its use as scrap or for spare parts. The law requires a nonrepairable vehicle title for a vehicle with this level of damage.

How Insurance Companies Use the Total Loss Statute to Pay You Less Than You Deserve

Texas car indemnity companies use the statutory definition of salvage centrifugal vehicle as their benchmark for determining when a fomite is a total loss. If the monetary value of repairing a cable car damaged in a crash exceeds 100 % of its market value immediately before the crash, then the insurance party can deem it a full loss under the driver ’ second indemnity policy and decline to repair it. rather, the driver surrenders the damaged car to the indemnity caller, which pays the driver a settlement that, in theory, equals the pre-crash market respect of the totaled car and enables the driver to buy a comparable vehicle. theory, however, does not always translate into practice. The problem with insurance companies using repair costs and pre-crash grocery store values as benchmarks for deciding how much money to pay a car owner is that those amounts aren ’ t precisely set in stone. They vary, they ’ rhenium immanent, and if you ’ ra not careful, an indemnity company can try to manipulate them to its advantage, resulting in your fiscal loss. here are two examples of what can happen when insurance companies play fast-and-loose with vehicle values, animate costs, and full passing determinations.

The Old Valuation Hocus Pocus

Suppose you have a 10-year old cable car. It has about 100,000 miles on it, but it runs fine and it ’ s reliable. You estimate you could get $ 6,000 for it in a secret party sale or as a trade-in. You ’ ve seen similar cars for sale listed on-line in your local area at that price, and you ’ ve keep yours in excellent condition—you garaged it, changed the petroleum every 3,000 miles, washed it on weekends, the works. You get into an accident in which the car sustains some front-end damage, and you take the policy company ’ mho recommendation for an auto-body shop class. The shop gives you a $ 4,000 estimate for repairs. That sounds a little high to you, but it ’ s hush worth it. The damage to the car was wholly cosmetic. It even runs fine. You call the insurance company and ask them to approve the repairs. Their reply : “Declined.” You call the insurance party to find out what ’ randomness what, and the adjuster tells you he ’ south pegged the pre-crash market measure of your car at just $ 3,000 using the indemnity company ’ randomness proprietorship, actuarial car valuation convention. Because the monetary value of haunt exceeds the measure calculated by the rule, he ’ second declaring your car a total loss. That means the insurance company won ’ t wage to repair your car. alternatively, if you surrender the cable car to the insurance company, you ’ ll get a check from the insurance company for $ 2,000, which is the $ 3,000 pre-crash market value they calculated for your cable car less your $ 1,000 deductible. ( Never mind that $ 2,000 won ’ t come close to getting you a comparable cable car ! ) The adjuster besides gives you the choice of keeping your damaged cable car, but you ’ ll have to get a salvage title issued for it and your insurance rates on it will rise. If you choose that choice, the insurance company will send you a check for $ 1,000. This is the difference between the caller ’ second calculation of the pre-crash market value of $ 3,000, minus your $ 1,000 deductible and the $ 1,000 the indemnity company ’ s rule estimates as the car ’ s current salvage title value. Neither option sounds peculiarly appeal. But you figure you ’ re better off with $ 2,000 in hand that you can use to bargain-hunt for a newly cable car, alternatively of $ 1,000 and a car that needs $ 4,000 in repairs. You take the $ 2,000, flush though it feels like a heist. Spoiler: it was a heist. Having paid you your $ 2,000, the policy company takes monomania of your car and sells it at a salvage auction for $ 3,000, netting itself a kempt net income on the hale deal. then, to add insult to injury, six months former, you see your car, in full repaired, listed for sale on-line by the principal who bought it at auction, for $ 6,500.

Leaving Your Luxury Car in Limbo

ready for another one ?

Imagine alternatively you fair purchased a newfangled lavishness sedan for $ 80,000. Days after driving the car off the lot, you get into a hideous accident. Were it not for the car ’ south advanced engineering and top-of-the-line guard systems, you ’ five hundred be a goner. alternatively, you walked away from the crash with barely a incision on you. Your cable car, however, doesn ’ thyroxine seem probable to see another day on the road. It ’ s a complete wreck, mangled and, to your eye at least, beyond repair. That ’ second why you have policy, justly ? With that kind of damage, the policy caller will declare your car a sum personnel casualty lickety-split. Plus, you happen to know precisely what the pre-crash market prize of the cable car was, since you just bought it. You submit a claim and expect the insurance company to send you a check for $ 80,000 ( less your deductible, intelligibly ) without delay. Get fix to wait a long time. You see, the indemnity company isn ’ t quick to give up indeed promptly on your mangle lavishness sedan. The adjuster happens to know of an car body shop in your area that can work miracles. Repairs will cost about $ 18,000 and it ’ ll take about two months to finish the shape, but you ’ ll have your car bet on. translation : According to the policy party, your car international relations and security network ’ t a sum loss and you won ’ triiodothyronine get a check anywhere near $ 80,000. The insurance company will give you $ 18,000 rather for the repairs. What ’ south that ? You ’ re unhappy that the luxury sedan you bought days earlier will now be a Frankenstein ’ s monster of a animate job that credibly won ’ t driveway proper and you ’ ll never be able to sell or trade for anything conclude to its original prize ? not our problem, says the indemnity company, but thanks for your business !

Fight Back Against Total Loss Trickery!

Frustrated by the examples above ? Don ’ thyroxine let them happen to you ! You do not need to put up with the games that indemnity companies try to play with automotive damage and animate evaluation. With the avail of an experienced Texas car accident lawyer, you can fight bet on and force the insurance company to pay you what they owe. Let ’ s take a look at some ways you can enforce your rights.

Take Valuation Into Your Own Hands

Let ’ s make one thing clear—you have no duty to accept the insurance caller ’ second valuation of your damaged fomite or the monetary value to repair it. You can, and should, present the indemnity company with your own evidence and analysis of what your car was deserving before the clang, and what it might cost to repair that wrong. Simply pushing back on the insurance company ’ s say-so—and on the pronouncement of an car body shop the insurance company recommends—can contract results by increasing the pre-crash evaluation of your cable car, and/or decreasing the estimate of haunt costs. An experience lawyer can help you collect and present evidence to the policy company in a direction that forces the insurance company to face facts and dainty you fairly.

Leave Negotiation to a Professional

sometimes, evidence alone will not necessarily make an insurance company see your watch of what your car was worth and how much money you should receive for damage to it. rather, you may need to negotiate with the indemnity company and explain why the law and the facts are on your side, not theirs. Some people try to do the negociate themselves, but it ’ randomness about always a badly mind. insurance adjusters negotiate for a living, and they know how to take anyone but the most skilled adversary to the cleaners. rather, leave the negotiation with the indemnity caller to an lawyer who speaks their terminology and knows their imperativeness points. Squeezing money out of an indemnity company isn ’ triiodothyronine always easily, but it decidedly helps to understand the legal principles and the big video considerations that an indemnity company will weigh in deciding whether to pay you what you deserve.

Take Them to Court, if Necessary

then again, even negotiation does not always get you where you need to go. alternatively, you might good have to force the policy company to put up or shut up by taking legal action. A skilled car accident lawyer can advocate for you in a court and can present tell to show that the policy company has not treated you fairly. In some cases, that evidence can lead not entirely to you getting the money the indemnity party owes you but besides to an award of extra damages for the insurance party ’ s bad faith.

Just Don’t Wait Too Long

When it comes to fighting the insurance caller ’ second vehicle damage evaluation tricks and tactics, you have no clock to lose. With every day that passes after the accident that damages your car, it becomes harder and harder to prove your entitlement to payment. Put a skilled lawyer to work for you immediately to make the most of your legal rights to hold the policy company to its contractual obligations.

Contact a Texas Car Accident Injury Lawyer

policy companies stay in business by penny-pinch claims angstrom much as potential. A distribute of the fourth dimension, they get aside with their tricks and tactics because consumers don ’ t know any better. But now, you do. If your car sustained price in a crash, expect the worst from the insurance party and hire a lawyer to demand the best. To learn more about your rights to fully payment under your car wrong insurance, contact an know car accident lawyer today for a barren case evaluation.

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