Fair market value is the price at which the vehicle would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller. Neither the buyer nor the seller is under compulsion to buy or sell and both should have reasonable knowledge of relevant facts, taking into consideration the vehicle’s age, condition, mileage and other history. 

It is not necessarily the sales price or the amount you have spent on the vehicle during its lifetime. It is not necessarily the amount of money you must spend on a new vehicle. When it comes to determining the fair market value of a total loss, property damage adjusters use the phrase “like kind and quality” (LKQ) to describe equivalent vehicles.

Continue reading to learn more about how LKQ is used to determine the fair market value of your car, what you can do if you don’t agree with the insurer’s assessment of the vehicle’s fair market value, and how a Spokane car accident lawyer could help you. 

How is LKQ used to determine the fair market value of my car?

To establish the value of your vehicle at the time of a loss, the adjuster will find local, purportedly equivalent cars for sale. However, the adjuster’s list of LKQ cars and their selling prices—based on their supposed contact with numerous used-car lots—may include vehicles at the low end of the price scale that actually do not exist. 

These prices pull down the average fair market value on which the adjuster bases a settlement offer. Don’t be taken in by this deception. Demand to see a copy of the adjuster’s valuation report. This report will include details about the exact model of your vehicle and how it was equipped, including the engine and any extras. 

Make sure that the adjuster’s information is accurate. Then call each of the comparable vehicles listed on the adjuster’s LKQ list. Sometimes you will discover that the lot doesn’t even exist or that the salesperson does not have a car of the same LKQ as your damaged vehicle.

What if I don’t agree with the insurer assessment of the fair market value of my vehicle?

Once you can find errors in the valuation report, you can introduce your own evidence of other comparable vehicles to determine the fair market value of your vehicle. 

What about the value of recent work performed on the vehicle prior to the loss? Realize that some work and maintenance on a vehicle simply helps preserve a vehicle’s value rather than adding to it. This is particularly true of mechanical repairs and standard parts, such as batteries and tires. 

However, depending upon the timing and nature of the expenditure, you may be able to add some value to the vehicle. This must be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Call a Qualified Washington Car Accident Law Firm

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your damages—far beyond the market value of your car. Get in touch with an experienced Washington car accident lawyer at Craig Swapp & Associates. Fill out the online contact form below or call 1-800-404-9000 when you are ready to get started on your case. 

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp