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Acts or practices considered unfair in the settlement of motor vehicle claims.
In addition to the unfair claims settlement practices specified in this regulation, the following acts or practices of the insurer are hereby defined as unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the business of insurance, specifically applicable to the settlement of motor vehicle claims:
(1) Failing to make a good faith effort to communicate with the repair facility chosen by the claimant.
(2) Arbitrarily denying a claimant's estimate for repairs.
(a) A denial of the claimant's estimate for repairs to be completed at the chosen repair facility based solely on the repair facility's hourly rate is considered arbitrary if the rate does not result in a higher overall cost of repairs.
(b) If the insurer pays less than the amount of the estimate from the claimant's chosen repair facility, the insurer must fully disclose the reason or reasons it paid less than the claimant's estimate, and must thoroughly document the circumstances in its claim file.
(3) Requiring the claimant to travel unreasonably to:
(a) Obtain a repair estimate;
(b) Have the loss vehicle repaired at a specific repair facility; or
(c) Obtain a temporary rental or loaner vehicle.
(4) Failing to prepare or accept an estimate provided by the claimant that will restore the loss vehicle to its condition prior to the loss.
(a) If the insurer prepares the estimate, it must provide a copy of the estimate to the claimant.
(b) If a claimant provides the estimate and the insurer, after evaluation of the claimant's estimate, determines it owes an amount that differs from the estimate the claimant provided, the insurer must fully disclose the reason or reasons for the difference to the claimant, and must thoroughly document the circumstances in the claim file.
(c) If the claimant chooses to take the loss vehicle to a repair facility where the overall cost to restore the loss vehicle to its condition prior to the loss exceeds the insurer's estimate, the claimant must be advised that he or she may be responsible for any additional amount above the insurer's estimate.
(5) If requested by the claimant and if the insurer prepares the estimate, failing to provide a list of repair facilities within a reasonable distance of the claimant's principally garaged area that will complete the vehicle repairs for the estimated cost of the insurer prepared estimate.
(6) Failing to consider any additional loss related damage the repair facility discovers during the repairs to the loss vehicle.
(7) Failing to limit deductions for betterment and depreciation to parts normally subject to repair and replacement during the useful life of the loss vehicle. Deductions for betterment and depreciation are limited to the lesser of:
(a) An increase in the actual cash value of the loss vehicle caused by the replacement of the part; or
(b) An amount equal to the value of the expired life of the part to be repaired or replaced when compared to the normal useful life of that part.
(8) If provided for by the terms of the applicable insurance policy, and if the insurer elects to exercise its right to repair the loss vehicle at a specific repair facility, failing to prepare or accept an estimate that will restore the loss vehicle to its condition prior to the loss at no additional cost to the first party claimant other than as stated in the applicable policy of insurance.
(9) If liability and damages are reasonably clear, recommending that claimants make a claim under their own collision coverage solely to avoid paying claims under the liability insurance policy.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060
. WSR 09-11-129 (Matter No. R 2007-08), § 284-30-390, filed 5/20/09, effective 8/21/09; WSR 03-14-092 (Matter No. R 2002-06), § 284-30-390, filed 6/30/03, effective 10/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060
. WSR 87-09-071 (Order R 87-5), § 284-30-390, filed 4/21/87. Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060
(3)(a). WSR 85-02-019 (Order R 84-8), § 284-30-390, filed 12/27/84. Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060
. WSR 78-08-082 (Order R 78-3), § 284-30-390, filed 7/27/78, effective 9/1/78.]