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Brand New Car - wrong VIN - coverage

by Shannon

Bought a new truck from a dealer, I'm first owner. Insurance company uses the VIN to determine coverage.

My concern is that the VIN does not show them the specifics. The VIN is general in it's description of the truck, therefore it appears to me to leave a lot of loop-holes if a claim for repair or total loss were filed.

How can I insist on being fully covered? I feel that I might have a problem down the road, if I ever had to file a claim. Example: I have side curtain airbags, but the VIN does not indicate such.

If it deployed and required replacement, will it be replaced? Please advise. Thank you, Shannon


Hi Shannon,

You are 100% correct. In fact, more people should be asking the question. You are insuring a standard vehicle, any special features may or may not show. This becomes a huge issue when we are talking about special wheels, navigation systems, DVD players, special safety features, etc.

Also, remember that you will be covered at Actual Cash Value. This means that the insurance company will not pay what you paid, but they would depreciate everything in your car. The reason why I bring this up is because in a claim or total loss, you can be not only trying to justify that you actually owned something (air bags) but also their price.

If you have special features in your car or things that you actually add to the car. Contact your agent and make sure your special features are noted on your file. You could send a letter to your agent outlining your vehicle description with all its features. Send this letter return receipt.

I hope I answered your question.

Follow up Question:

OK, great! The agent mentioned "stated value" type policy for, of course, more premium. I don't feel I should have to pay an additional premium for a truck from the factory. If I added say wheels after the factory, paid $4,000.00 for them, then I can see an additional premium.

If I went with this "stated value" policy, ($36,000.00), would that mean that no matter what, the insurance would pay $36,000.00 for a total loss?

If the claim were for repairs, would I get the correct repairs/parts to restore the truck as it should be? How does that work? Please advise. Thank you, Shannon


Hi Shannon,

Well, I am 99% sure the statement "would that mean that no matter what, the insurance would pay $36,000.00 for a total loss" is inaccurate. Usually, the auto insurance policy says:

We pay the stated value, the cost to fix or the actual cash value of the car, which ever is LESS. There are many insurance agents out there that misrepresent this fact (either they know and lie to you or simply they do not know what the policy says).

Visit: for more information about the definition of a state value policy. Contact your agent and get a copy of your policy to make sure that is the case.

It is very very seldom that insurance companies agree to a pre arranged price.

The repairs will also be at actual cash value, which means they can put non original manufacture parts (or even used parts) in your car is they have to fix it.

Again, check your policy because truly, it is the only place where you can be 100% certain of what coverages you have and which you do not.

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