After declaring a vehicle to be a total loss, the insurer must provide documentation to the claimant supporting that finding. If a dispute arises over a vehicle’s worth, the insurer must pay any undisputed amount once the claimant agrees to certain conditions. Insurers making any vehicle total loss determinations on or after January 1, 2010, must provide claimants with the new documentation. The remaining changes will affect all motor vehicle insurance policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2010.
The Oregon Legislature has added language to ORS 742.466, Oregon’s statute governing property damage disputes between claimants and insurance companies. New House Bill 2190 provides, when an insurer declares a motor vehicle a total loss and offers a cash settlement to a claimant, the insurer must provide the claimant with two things:
1. any valuation or appraisal reports relied upon by the insurer to determine the vehicle’s value; and
2. a written statement in a form that will be developed by the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services that includes information about total loss, vehicle valuation, the duties of the insurer and how the claimant may contact the Insurance Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services.
After determining the claimant’s vehicle is a total loss, an insurer must pay the claimant the amount of the motor vehicle’s value that is not in dispute, even if the insurer and the claimant are unable to agree on the total value of the motor vehicle. By paying the undisputed amount, the insurer does not waive any rights provided under the policy. Similarly, by accepting payment of the undisputed amount, the claimant does