How to Dispute the Actual Cash Value of an Auto With USAA

by Stephanie Jenkins

You recently had an accident that left your vehicle in horrible shape. Your car is declared a total loss and you wait to hear from your United Services Automobile Association (USAA) insurance adjuster, expecting your vehicle to be worth a certain amount. When the adjuster gives you the settlement offer, you're astounded because you believe the actual cash value of your automobile is more. Fortunately, you have the option to dispute the cash value that USAA offers you.

Request a copy of the Vehicle Valuation Report from USAA. The report is a multiple-page document that reveals the accident history of your vehicle and the actual cash value of your car that was determined by the USAA adjuster. Allowances for extra features such as leather seats and rear spoilers are noted on the Vehicle Valuation Report as well as the prices of comparable vehicles--automobiles in your area of the same make and model that are listed for sale. If any of your vehicle's options aren't listed on the Valuation Report, make a note of it as you review the document.

Research additional comparable vehicles. USAA takes the average price of three similar vehicles in your area to help determine the actual cash value of your automobile. Go to local dealership's websites--or visit them in person--and find vehicles that are the same model and year as yours. If you find vehicles that are selling for more money than USAA offered, print copies of the pages listing the automobiles and their prices. Make sure information about special features and mileage is included.

Find the receipts for any upgrades to your vehicle. Are you claiming options that were added after you initially purchased your vehicle, such as rims or a navigation system? Did you recently buy four new tires or a new motor? Make sure you have the documentation to prove it.

Submit your findings to USAA. Contact USAA at 800-531-8722 and ask to speak to your adjuster. Let her know about your research. According to Edmunds.com, the authoritative automotive information website, insurance companies are required to give you a fair deal, so your adjuster will be willing to listen to your dispute. You may be asked to submit your receipts and research via fax or mail: USAA (Claims Service) P.O. Box 33490 San Antonio, TX 78265 Fax number: 1-800-531-8669

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About the Author

Living in Texas, Stephanie Jenkins has been a writer since 2009. She specializes in health, fitness and beauty topics. She attended Patrick Henry Community College and Longwood University in Virginia.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Crash on the street. German auto model 2007. image by Dariusz Kopestynski from Fotolia.com