Insurance Disputes Over Your Stolen Car in Florida
The National Insurance Claims Bureau (NICB) recently released a list of the most stolen vehicles in the country and the state of Florida during 2013. While the Honda Accord is stolen most often nationally, Florida car thieves are more interested in the full size Ford pickup truck. Other cars that made the top ten include the Honda Civic, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry. The report is compiled from vehicle theft data that is maintained by law enforcement agencies across the country. The reports lists the make, model and year of stolen vehicles.
Recovering from the Insurance Company
When thefts occur, owners generally seek compensation for the loss by filing an insurance claim. Most comprehensive car insurance policies cover theft. However, problems can occur when compensation is denied or offered at a rate that is below the owner’s expectations. Insurance companies pay the value of the car, minus any deductible due by the owner. Disputes often arise over vehicle valuations and the provision of temporary transportation options until the claim is settled. The insurance company may refuse to provide a temporary rental car, leaving the owner without transportation to work or necessary destinations
The company may also offer a compensation amount that is unacceptable to the owner. Insurance agencies generally offer the actual cash value (ACV) of the car as calculated at the time of theft. This equates to the car’s estimated value, minus any depreciation for age, mileage and usage. Often times, the amount does not consider customizations to the car that may increase the value. Vehicle owners should ensure that the insurance agent is made aware of valuable features, like navigation or entertainment systems, that are installed on the car. Owners should also report any personal items that were stolen with the vehicle.
When insurance disputes arise, owners may want to reject the company’s initial offer. Though negotiations may result in a settlement agreement, litigation may become necessary for the insurance company to provide reasonable compensation. In this situation, vehicle owners should enlist the assistance of an lawyer who is experienced with insurance disputes
Tips to Avoid Auto Theft
The NICB provides the following tips for avoiding vehicle theft:
- Use your common sense by locking your door and removing the keys from your vehicle. Many thefts occur when drivers leave their cars easily accessible for thieves.
- Car alarms are useful when they contain an audible or visible warning system. These alarms deter thieves and alert the owner if someone attempts to steal the car.
- Use an immobilizing device to prevent the car from starting in case of theft. Often called a “kill switch,” the device prevents the ignition of the vehicle.
- Tracking devices are used by the owner to locate a car after it is taken away from the driver. A computer monitors the movement of the car, which assists law enforcement officers in locating and recovering the car.