Florida Record

Monday, December 9, 2019

Geico ordered to pay license plate transfer, title fees as part of vehicle replacement

State Court

By Marian Johns | Jul 30, 2019

Caraccident

ORLANDO — A federal court has ruled that plaintiffs in a breach of contract class action lawsuit whose cars were declared total losses by Geico Insurance are entitled to title and license plate transfer fees as part of the "actual cash value" replacement for their vehicles. 

According to the July 19 U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Orlando Division filing, the court reviewed the cross motions for summary judgment filed by plaintiffs Maurice Jones, Anthony C. Cook, Micah Bellamy, Anthony Lorenti, Ashely Barrett and others and defendants Government Employees Insurance Company, Geico General Insurance Company and Geico Indemnity Company. 

The plaintiffs sued after their vehicles involved in accidents were declared total losses by Geico. The plaintiffs allege Geico's breach of contract relates to its failure to pay title and license plate transfer fees that are included in their insurance polices under "actual cash value" (ACV) and cover "replacement cost."

Citing case precedent and Florida law, the court concluded that title and transfer fees are a "component of ACV" because they are defined as "costs" incurred by the insured when replacing a vehicle. The court also noted that under Florida law, the transfer, title and license plate fees are "mandatory" and "included in the replacement costs" for a vehicle deemed a total loss. 

U.S. District Judge Paul Byron ruled Geico had breached its contracts with the insured and granted the plaintiffs summary judgment while awarding the plaintiffs and class members damages of $79.35.

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U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division

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