How to Claim Loss of Use
Owners of high end cars such as the Porsche Panamera pictured, a Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Tesla or SUVs such as the Cadillac Escalade are just as prone to accidents as the rest of us. Luxury vehicles like these also tend to spend more time in body shops when undergoing collision repairs. Down times of 60 days or more aren’t uncommon because virtually all expensive cars are built with more sophisticated electronics, custom paint, have more extensive trim and require more expertise and attention to detail in order to restore them to their pre-accident condition. Insurance companies are required to pay for these expensive repairs but unfortunately, many of them do not feel that their obligation extends to the substitute rental cars provided to the owners of these vehicles. Loss of Use claims in luxury cars can wind up costing almost as much as the diminished values or the repairs themselves but it is here that insurers often feel that they can shortchange their policyholders and claimants by providing lesser replacement vehicles in order to hold down costs. The St. Lucie Appraisal Company provides Loss of Use reports in all 50 states.
Loss of Use is the inability to use an automobile due to damage caused by the negligence or other wrongdoing of another. It can also be defined as the damage a person suffers from the inconvenience of not having their car after it has been in an accident. The owner of the vehicle has a right to be compensated for Loss of Use.
Where property has a reasonable value, its owner is entitled to recover damages equivalent to the reasonable value of such use during the period he or she has been deprived thereof. Loosely translated, it is unreasonable to require a policyholder or claimant to rent a car worth substantially less, or one that cannot provide the same function than the car being repaired.
Insurers are advised to follow requirements and guidelines with regard to providing substantially similar replacement vehicles to eligible policyholders and claimants. Failure to act accordingly is cause for the vehicle owner to cite appropriate unfair claim settlement practice laws in a complaint, even if the state has no statutory restrictions on settlement verbiage.
Finally, most luxury car owners aren’t aware of the fact that a replacement vehicle need not be rented at all in order to make a Loss of Use claim.
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