Date registered: Oct 2007
Vehicle: 1996 SL500
Location: Berkeley, CA
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Insurance Claim and "betterment"
Someone slashed the top on my SL500 10 days ago, then tried to jimmy open the center console and -- not the brightest bulb in the fixture -- the passenger-side airbag compartment. I'm insured by Wawanesa, a Canadian company that also insures in California and Oregon. I got the third-party-adjustor damage assessment over the weekend.
It lists removal and replacement of the four damaged items (top, liner, and two interior parts). After each item listing with cost there's a second line labeled "Betterment" with the number 50% and, in the price column, half the part cost, listed as a deduction. In other words, the appraisal is proposing to deduct from what the insurance company will pay half the cost of each item. Combined with the deductible, that will leave me paying more to repair the damage than the insurance company does.
The notes to the appraisal refer me to the policy itself, where I'm told, "If a repair or a replacement results in better than like kind of quality, we will not pay for the amount of the betterment."
I'm just a simple guy, but this sure smells like a scam to me. I never heard of betterment; it's never come up on any of my infrequent claims before. And we're talking about a top and two pieces of the interior, all existing OEM parts to be replaced by OEM parts. This isn't a tire with 20k miles on it being replaced by a new one, or a 5 year old battery by a new one.
Clearly I need to fight this. But I sure could use some input/knowledge/thoughts from others who may know more about this than me or have experience with this.