You get what you pay for

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Before the holidays, I experienced the implications of living in a rural area when I wrote off my 2014 Chevy Cruze after colliding with a deer. Although nobody was injured, the accident sparked a month-long debate with my
out-of-town insurance company over the definition of replacement value; a definition we learned was completely different from that of local insurance brokers.

Before the holidays, I experienced the implications of living in a rural area when I wrote off my 2014 Chevy Cruze after colliding with a deer. Although nobody was injured, the accident sparked a month-long debate with my
out-of-town insurance company over the definition of replacement value; a definition we learned was completely different from that of local insurance brokers.
After being convinced to add the extra replacement value
coverage to my policy by an
insurance agent and being
reassured it was the best way to ensure my investment was protected, I naively believed that if something were to happen to the car, another vehicle, of the same year, make, and model would be mine for no added cost. Wrong!
Due to a clause, said to be hidden somewhere amongst pages of fine print, that states the company can receive quotes to determine a vehicle’s value based on a cash sale rather than a price those financing the vehicle would pay, I was left with a substantial amount of money owing on my previous car loan after the claim was finalized; the amount awarded was also $5,000 less than what was paid for the car 6 months prior. In addition, the quote was received from a dealership close to two hours away. Is it understandable to base a vehicle’s value on a method of payment that few are able to use? How many of us are able to buy a car outright – without financing it?
Once again, I was taught the value of dealing locally.           
After contacting a local
insurance agent about their policy regarding replacement value,
I found out this is thankfully not the norm – so they say! According to the agent, when a vehicle
covered by replacement value is deemed a total loss, the client is asked to receive quotes for a ‘new’, identical vehicle from three dealerships of THEIR choice; an average of the three determines the amount awarded. Other local brokers use this same method.
Is this not a better way of assigning a realistic market value to a vehicle? A value that is based on the means of ordinary people who do not have tens of thousands of dollars in cash sitting in their back pockets to make a cash sale a realistic figure?
Although we were provided with a rental vehicle within 24 hours of the accident, the rental was cancelled after we questioned the value placed on our vehicle – there was no room for negotiation! Perhaps an added pressure tactic to accept the offer?
And vehicle insurance isn’t the only domain where this company falls short of the mark. Although their home insurance policies claim you are covered up to a
certain amount, ie $300,000, this is in fact not the case; the amount awarded in the event of a total loss is based on the dwelling’s assessed value and not rebuild cost like the policies of local companies. 
However, my out-of-town
company did have significantly cheaper premiums – sometimes half of that of other companies. But rightly so considering the
lack of coverage, and quality of
customer service they offer; a clear example of how you get what you pay for!
Allyson Beauregard, Editor