Rip-off that is auto insurance

- Photo courtesy Pixabay
- Photo courtesy Pixabay

THE EDITOR: I've always considered auto insurance to be one of the biggest legal rip-offs and now that it has hit me personally, I am even more convinced.

At 73, I decided to treat myself to a luxury vehicle (not new) and I believed it would be the last vehicle I would ever buy based on my age. After all, no institution would grant a loan to anyone my age or older. I located a beautiful car, extremely well-appointed.

Seven seats, leather, with the front seats heated, woodgrain accents, airconditioned, automatic headlights, interior/exterior thermometer, AM/FM radio with cassette and six-disk CD changer, sun-roof, a 2.4-litre engine with tiptronic transmission and fancy wheels.

These vehicles are equipped with engines known to last for over 500,000 km.

Two years later, while crossing a traffic-light controlled intersection, a driver approaching from my left side went around the vehicles that had already stopped, and crashed into my vehicle. His insurance admitted their client was wrong and made me an offer of $40,000, without seeing my vehicle, but based on its registration.

Obviously I declined their offer and sought legal advice. I have since been to five lawyers and they have all told me I should accept the offer on the basis that the courts usually accept the insurance company's value in terms of compensation offered.

My contention is that my vehicle is not only a luxury vehicle, it is also rare, which should increase its value. In the last three years, I have seen only two others like it. Parts for this car are not available locally and I approached several parts dealers but none were willing to bring in used parts for this model.

Parts are available from overseas but the insurance company thinks it is uneconomical to bring in the parts because it would exceed their valuation of the car.

I did not put myself in this position. It was their client who put them in this spot and I think it is disingenuous to tell me to give up my luxury vehicle and accept their donkey-cart money offer.

I hired an independent valuator and he came up with a similar valuation, after I told him what the insurance company was offering as a settlement.

However, together with his valuation he prepared a repair valuation. My vehicle suffered cosmetic damage (two fenders, one hood, one bumper and grille, two headlights, one radiator and one condenser) – $25,000.

Simple maths would show that he valued the rest of the car at $15,000 for engine, transmission, a/c, five doors, seven seats, all-around suspension units, power steering, power brakes, four wheels, instrument panel, radio and sun roof. This valuation makes no sense whatsoever.

If there is anyone out there who can help me in this situation legally or otherwise, I would appreciate it very much, since it is now going on three years that my car is sitting idly in my driveway.

All I want is to have my car back on the road.


Diego Martin


"Rip-off that is auto insurance"

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