what does the insurance company owe me for my totaled car in colorado? replacement value? fair market value? ie: based on comps with depreciation for wear/mileage? Also for the taxes - do they owe what I paid? Or estimated taxes are on the fair market value of the vehicle or actual taxes on a new vehicle? Please advise
Read your insurance policy and talk to your adjuster.
This answer is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice regarding your question and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
This is a question entirely based on contract law rather than tax law. All that matters is what your contract (policy) with your insurer says. In other words, they are not obligated to do anything beyond what the contract says that they must do.
The first step in this process is to talk to an adjuster. But be careful not to agree to anything. Ask for the adjuster to point out where your policy says what he claims it is saying and read it over. If it doesn't smell right to you then consult with an attorney familiar with contract law.
This is for general purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
A specific statute governs the minimal policy requirements in Colorado for what an insurer must pay on a total loss. This includes title fees, sales tax, and transfer or registration fees that you have already paid (My reading is that it does not include the taxes for a new vehicle purchase.) The company is supposed to make a fair market value offer, however the still lowball often and it is up to you or your attorney to provide other sources for the fair market value (NADA, Kelley Blue Book). The statute is below:
10-4-639. Claims practices for property damage
(1) An insurer shall pay title fees, sales tax, and any other transfer or registration fee associated with the total loss of a motor vehicle.
(2) An insurer shall clearly disclose to an insured or inform a third-party claimant what benefits are provided related to towing and storage of a motor vehicle that sustains property damage and shall specifically advise an insured or third-party claimant concerning excess charges that may be incurred related to towing and storage of a motor vehicle for which the insured or third-party claimant may be responsible.
(3) An insurer shall establish a fair and consistent method for determining total loss of a motor vehicle. Such method shall include consideration of unique characteristics of the motor vehicle and a credible source of valuation. An insurer shall maintain a record of its methodology for determining total loss evaluation and provide such methodology to the commissioner upon request. The commissioner may promulgate rules for the administration and enforcement of this subsection (3). An insurer may not use different credible sources of valuation only to determine the lowest amount payable for the total loss of the motor vehicle.
(4) The commissioner shall promulgate rules concerning when payments for any applicable replacement motor vehicle shall be made by an insurer and collision waivers for third-party claimant coverage.
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