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Actual cash value vs. market value

by Ray

1) Is the actual cash value same as the market value of a totaled vehicle? If no, what’s the difference between them?

2) The at-fault car insurance usually scans the value of a totaled vehicle by a computer such as from the What is that value made by the insurance?

3) Should the adverse insurance pay the actual cash value or not and how the claimant proves the actual cash value of his totaled vehicle?

I made three questions for more clarity. They are actually related. Thank you for your answer.


Hello Ray,

1.) They are the same thing. Actual Cash Value is the current fair market price of your vehicle.

2.) Most insurance company do not take computer generated estimations of value, like the site you mentioned. It is possible that the insurance company you are dealing with does. They usually hire a third party company to go in your local value and find similar vehicles to yours and determine what are those vehicles selling for. They average the prices and that is your offer (other things being equal, like your car is in normal to good condition).

3.) Yeah, the insurance company should pay the actual cash value. Visit: for more information and steps about how to document a total loss.

Good Luck,

Follow up question:

Thank you for your answer. Can you answer an additional question?

The medical bills, wage loss, property damages etc are the direct loss from the accident because they can be easily proved by the documentation/receipts, right?

How about the Pain and Suffering?

Can it be listed separately in a personal injuries demand such as Pain and Suffering: 2 times of the medical bills $xxxx.xx?

How to show it in the personal injuries demand?


Hi Ray,

you are correct, you are entitled to Special damages (medical bills, wages, medicine, etc) which are those damages that are "easier" to show because you have a bill.

General Damages are those that you cannot have receipt for.

Your pain and suffering, your loss of consortium, future pain, loss of earning capacity, etc. are all damages that you cannot account for. They have to be negotiated with the insurance company.

Some attorneys use a formula, but there is no formula that can give you a correct assessment out there.

A 2 times the medical bills can be way to cheap for an injury with a scar in someone's face.

There are just too many factors to take into account before making an injury value evaluation.

They will look at your jurisdiction (what juries award there), your age, your job, your family life, and if you are represented by an attorney or no.

Visit: for more information about injury claim and how to be compensated for all your damages.

Also, you are encourage to talk to an attorney before making any decision in your claim.

Good Luck,

Comments for Actual cash value vs. market value

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Jun 21, 2011
Fair Market Value of My Car
by: Gary

somebody on another site posted this..

Step 2: Doing Your Homework
If you have been informed that your vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company will then take usually a couple of days to determine the value they are going to offer you. During this time, you should do your own research to determine the fair market value of your vehicle. The easiest way to do this is by using the internet. You should check . There you can search for currently for sale vehicle like yours, in your area. You should try to locate 5 to 10 vehicles of the same year, make & model, with similar options and mileage. Print out the listings you find and average the values. This will give you a good average value to use as a baseline. However, you must understand that the prices you find are asking prices and virtually all of those prices will be negotiated downward to some degree. Now when the insurance company makes you an offer you will know if it is within a reasonable range or not.

your answer o Ray about how to determne fair mmarket value was to hire a third party to determine the value of the car.

why not use Kelley's Bluebook instead?


Because insurance companies will not accept Kelley's Bluebook values. They are "national" prices (yes, in their website they will ask for zip code), however, they are not "real values" as they are only estimates.

You only want to use this values at the very last resort (your vehicle is so rare that there are no local values available).

A third party evaluator / appraiser can really help the value of the claim.

This is only a suggestion. You can attempt to use Kelly Blue Book and if they take it, then good for you. You save yourself a lot of work.

Good Luck.
You have to look at what the actual market would pay for a car, that is why comparable are the accepted

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