In an effort to urge Oregon residents and insurers about ‘new’ rights in the event that their car gets totaled in an accident, the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) issued a reminder last week.
Taking effect earlier this month, House Bill 2190 permits car owners to obtain more information for the purpose of greater leverage whenever a settlement for a totaled car is in the middle of negotiation.
The DCBS reported that this new law compels insurers to take several considerations. First, drivers should be provided with a written notice that outlines the total loss which includes procedural mechanics of car value determination as well as providing options for the owner to seek for alternatives if an offer is rejected.
Second, clients should be provided with appraisal reports used to determine the value of a vehicle since customers were formerly obligated to request for a copy themselves.
Third, insurance companies should pay clients the amount which is not in dispute during the course of the determination of a car’s value. For instance, should the company offer $7,000 while a policyholder requests $8,000, the company will be compelled to pay the $7,000 immediately.
Fourth, companies should reimburse “reasonable appraisal costs” for customers. In cases where a policyholder has the right to determine the value of a wrecked car and the final value is greater than the last offer of an insurer, a customer would be eligible for reimbursement.
Legislator, Paul Holvey, Democratic Oregon State Representative for Eugene, is the chairperson of the House Consumer Protection Committee. Holvey said that policyholders are usually exasperated since they feel that they have no negotiating power when it comes to working out valuations for their total cars. When negotiations with insurance companies occur, customers often do not agree with the insurer’s offer. This is compounded with the fact that little information is received regarding how exactly the company determined the value provided in an offer.
Insurance Division administrator, Teresa Miller, says that the scenario of having insurers pay for the “undisputed amount” is common since many customers are in a hurry to purchase a new vehicle to return to their work routine as soon as possible. Given this predicament, several customers are placed in a spot where they have to relinquish the intention of maximizing the value of their totaled vehicle as well as reaching a commensurate settlement negotiation.
DCBS urges car owners to question their insurance company’s recommendation to declare their totaled car as a “total loss” so that considerable protections could be evoked by this new legislation.