A Totaled Car Does Not Mean Total Compensation
Car accidents often leave victims lacking essential care and compensation for damages. Texas law does not require fulfillment of a rental vehicle or car replacement due to their limited property damage coverage, and victims are frequently scrambling to find ways to get their transportation needs covered.
A “totaled car” is properly defined as something that costs more money to repair than it would to buy a new one. With that being said, insurance companies consider a “totaled” car to be one that costs more than 70% of the current market value of the car. Unfortunately for those with older cars, the insurance company may decide the “market value” is little to none and will hardly cover the costs a victim has to pay for a new vehicle. So you end up buying an older car that needs just as much repair than your previous car would pre-accident.
It is solely up to the insurance provider to decide to provide a rental car to the victims, you are only protected by your insurance---not the Texas law. If your car is damaged but repairable, you may receive a rental car paid for by the insurance company for a short period of time until it is finished. Check to make sure you have insurance that provides this service.
The law does not require an immediate rental car for totaled car victims because it is assumed that insurance companies will immediately come to asses the car damage and promptly compensate the victim accordingly. Unfortunately, if you had to negotiate your property damage with an insurance company before, you know that there is a long time period before the insurance company can “handle you,” meaning they have checked the facts through the police reports and investigated witnesses. This process can take months and in the meantime, you have no rental car.
For a short while, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that in the event of a lengthy review process, the insurance company owes the consumer a rental car, but that was quickly turned over in appellate court and has not set precedence for any new claim.
If and when the insurance company finally claims your car is completely totaled, the most you can receive is the “fair market value” of the car at this point in time. Not how much you initially paid for it, or the worth is holds as a valuable tool in living a modern life. At the point in time of your car accident, the insurance company must follow no specific standards of how to determine the fair market value of the car.
Insurance companies have no obligation to replace your car with one of the same condition or better under Texas law. Their only obligation is to choose what your car’s worth is and provide you with the money to go find what you can. The skilled attorneys at Colley & Colley law firm in East Texas understand the pain of fighting insurance companies on your own. It is their goal to provide you with the best compensation available by getting irresponsible drivers and insurance companies to pay out what they truly owe. Contact Colley & Colley today for a free consultation.