New Protections for Owners of Oregon Totaled Cars

Few things can be as mysterious to the outsider as the methods insurance companies use to value damage to a vehicle, especially when the car or truck has been totaled. A new Oregon law attempts to make that process a bit clearer – and fairer – for consumers.

The new law, which went took effect January 1, requires insurers to provide consumers with a written explanation of how the value of their totaled vehicle was determined. If there is a dispute over the amount of the insurance payment the law also requires the insurance company to pay the portion of the claim that is not in dispute while the two sides continue to argue over the remainder. Insurance companies must also reimburse “reasonable appraisal costs” to customers when an independent appraisal results in a higher valuation than what the insurer had offered as a final settlement (provided that the policy contains an appraisal provision in the first place).

As with any new law these measures are likely to be subject to some degree of interpretation by courts, especially in the coming months. They do, however, provide you and your Portland auto accident lawyer with powerful new tools to hold insurance companies to account. Getting an insurance company to pay what you are owed is often a difficult and contentious process. With the help of these new laws, however, an Oregon traffic accident lawyer with expertise in totaled vehicles can fight to get you the settlement you deserve.

State of Oregon Insurance Division: 2009 Legislative Summary