Total Vehicle Loss in Arizona
The magnitude of your risk for a car crash may surprise you. According to data published by the Arizona Department of Transportation, during the 10-year period from 2010 to 2019, the number of vehicle crashes in Arizona rose by almost 22 percent. A total of 98,778 crashes occurred in the state during 2020 alone. Those crashes resulted in $17.193 billion in economic losses to Arizona.
Car crashes often result in significant damage to the vehicles involved. Even relatively minor auto accidents can be traumatic. When your vehicle sustains major damage in a car crash, stress levels are likely to increase due to the personal and financial repercussions. Auto insurance is supposed to protect you from the financial risks and stresses associated with a car accident.
When you buy insurance, you do so with the expectation that if you must make a claim, your insurer will treat you fairly and will pay the claim in conformance with the law. Too often, however, especially when a car is rendered a “total loss,” insurance companies fail to do so. What then?
What Happens When Your Auto Insurance Company Decides to “Total” Your Car
If your vehicle is severely damaged in a crash, your insurance company may declare the car a “total loss.” Under Arizona law, the actual cash value of your damaged vehicle is its pre-crash value, and that amount should be similar to that of vehicles of comparable model, year, mileage, and condition. The salvage value of the vehicle is what the car is worth after the crash in its damaged state. If the salvage value of your vehicle plus the cost of repairs is equal to or more than the pre-crash value, Arizona law considers it to be a total loss.
The amount you are entitled to receive from insurance is determined according to state law and the terms of the applicable policy.
If your vehicle is declared a total loss, under Arizona law, your insurance company is required to replace the vehicle, or pay you the actual cost, less any deductible provided in the policy, to purchase a comparable automobile, including all applicable taxes, license fees and other fees incident to transfer of evidence of ownership of a comparable automobile. The actual cost is to be determined either by the cost of a comparable automobile in the local market or based on quotations obtained by the insurer from two or more qualified dealers located within the local market area when a comparable automobile is not available.
However, some insurance companies fail to properly calculate the settlement payments when settling total loss claims, often neglecting to include some or all of the following costs and fees:
- Sales tax
- Title transfer fees
- Vehicle registration fees
- License plate transfer fees
- Other mandatory Arizona fees
If your settlement does not include these costs and fees associated with your total loss, you may be able to pursue a claim against the insurer for those additional amounts. Where it appears that the insurance company has failed to include these items as a general practice, moreover, a class action lawsuit may be appropriate to recover on your behalf and for all other persons similarly affected. And for that, Anderson + Wanca can help.
Call Anderson + Wanca for Total Loss Vehicle Claims in Arizona
Anderson + Wanca is a boutique class action litigation law firm. Our consumer rights attorneys at Anderson + Wanca have years of experience with class action litigation, including fighting for the rights of insured whose total loss claims have been improperly underpaid. If you believe you have been wronged by an insurance company in connection with your total loss claim, or if you just want to be sure you have been offered a proper settlement, contact our attorneys at Anderson + Wanca. We will review your insurance policy, settlement documents, and the invoice for your replacement vehicle to see if you are being offered a fair settlement and, if not, to determine if there is a potential for a class action claim that our firm could advance on your behalf at no monetary cost to you.
Anderson + Wanca works with licensed attorneys in Arizona and throughout the United States.