Q. A vehicle ran into our insured’s fence knocking down a portion of the fence and completely destroying another portion. The at-fault party’s insurance does not want to pay full replacement cost, is that correct?
A. Generally, Texas courts value property on an actual cash value basis. In practice, the decisions revolve around whether there is an established market for the damaged goods. If there is, such as for automobiles, the proper measure of recovery is the market value of the property.
Where there is no market for the property, such as for household goods, recovery is limited to the actual worth or value of the property to the owner, with consideration for the use and condition of the property, and excluding any sentimental considerations. For partial losses to real or personal property, the measure of damages is the replacement value, reduced to prevent a windfall to the property owner.
The guidelines are obviously not exact measurements of recovery for damaged property. If a property owner disagrees with an insurer’s offer to settle a property damage claim, he or she always has an option to see what a judge or jury thinks.