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Car insurer uses state estimator to save on claims

Car totaled? Does your settlement include a payout for tax, tag and title? Better Call Harry looked into why Progressive’s numbers don’t add up.
Updated: Feb. 7, 2022 at 4:40 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - By the time Tim Sapecky reached CBS46′s Better Call Harry, he’d spent hours on the phone arguing with his insurer, Progressive.

Last year, Sapecky’s daughter was in an accident totaling her 2020 Toyota Corolla. With only 10,000 miles, the car was in excellent condition. And because used car prices are at historic highs, her car was worth more used than it was new.

Sapecky rejected Progressive’s first offer and paid $400 for arbitration. They settled at $25,000, but that didn’t include the other legally mandated fees. Georgia Rule 120-2-52-06 requires insurers to pay for tax, tag and title on a total loss claim in addition to the car’s fair market value. Taxes in Georgia are set at 6.6-percent.

Sapecky calculated $1,650 in tax, tag and title fees, raising his payout at $26,500. But again, Progressive offered less than required, at only $1,118.

“I was on the phone with my adjuster, and she told me their offer was final and there was nothing I could do. And I kept telling her to pull out a calculator and multiply 6.6 percent on the value and she said the offer was final,” Sapecky said.

Instead of using the settled value ($25,000) to calculate a tax payout, Progressive used the Georgia’s online ad valorem tax estimator, a tool used for estimating taxes on new or used car purchases. The estimator lowered the value of the car to $16,950, saving Progressive more than $500.

Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner’s office investigated but closed Mr. Sapecky’s complaint and referred CBS46 to Georgia’s Department of Revenue.

In response to the statement, the insurance commissioner’s office referred the dispute to its legal department for review and a recommendation.

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