Asked in Insurance Bad Faith for California

Q: Can an insurance company claim “betterment” on a comprehensive policy for a stolen catalytic converter in Ca?

Part was stolen over 2 months ago, still don’t have use of my vehicle. Can’t afford replacement out of pocket.

Spoke to supervisor at my insurance company, says I will need to pay for the new part because catalytic converters are parts subject to routine replacement; like batteries and tires.

I argued that cats often last the entire lifetime of the vehicle, and are not routinely replaced; neither will replacing it increase the value of my vehicle. There is no reason to believe mine was not functioning correctly. Vehicle recently passed smog.

They are holding their ground.

I don’t understand. They insured my vehicle with a deductible, now they are saying I have to pay for the part because “a new one costs more than the used one you had.”

Yea that’s why I pay insurance.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Neil Anapol
Neil Anapol
  • Insurance Claims Lawyer
  • Burbank, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I agree with you. Its not betterment. A catalytic converter does not depreciate because the useful life is essentially as long as the useful life of the car. Do you have anything in writing from the insurance company taking this position?

One approach would be sue the insurance company in small claims court for breach of contract. You get one shot, no right of appeal. The judge might get it, or he or she might not. No attorney's fees because you do it yourself, and filing fees are minimal. Another approach would be to invoke the appraisal provision of the insurance policy, and essentially have an arbitration concerning issue. If you do it that way and you win, I would consider filing a bad faith lawsuit thereafter.

1 user found this answer helpful

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