What To Do When Insurance Company Totals Your Car

Dealing with a totaled car can be a stressful experience, especially if it was caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver or if your insurance company declares the car a total loss. It’s important to know what to do when insurance company totals your car. Knowing the process can help you better understand what to expect and ultimately make the right decisions following an accident.

A totaled car is one where the cost to repair the vehicle is more than the car’s market value. The calculation of a car’s market value is based on age, make and model, condition, options, and mileage. When an insurance company totals your car, you will receive the market value from your insurance company, minus any deductible and minus the amount that you may still owe on the car loan. Oftentimes, if the car is total, you may also be reimbursed for sales tax, registration, licensing fees and even rental car (if applicable).

When your car is totaled, it’s important to know your rights. Find out what your insurance policy states about replacing or repairing a totaled vehicle before contacting your insurer. Before accepting an insurance company’s offer, make sure you know the difference between actual cash value (ACV) and fair market value (FMV). Knowing the values can help you get the most money from an insurance settlement. You should always make sure to take pictures and document any damage to the car as well as detailing the costs to repair it.

In order to determine the current value of your totaled car, consult with a trusted source such as the Kelley Blue Book or the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). This will help you understand the fair market value of your vehicle, so that you can dispute the insurance company’s valuation. The more informed you are, the better informed decision you can make. Don’t just accept the insurance company’s offer; make sure you understand what you’re entitled to and what you’re not.

When an insurance company totals your car, there are several steps you must take. Make sure to keep track of all paperwork and documentation. Request the title of the car from the auto insurer and sign the title over to them. Then, they will take care of disposing the car and you can begin searching for a replacement. It is important to know that you are not required to accept the scrap value that is offered by the company and that you can keep the car if you choose and try to sell it yourself. However, once the title is signed over, you can no longer drive the car and there may be legal repercussions if you do so.

In many cases, insurance companies will also offer rental cars and additional living expenses while the totaled car is being replaced. Before signing any documents, make sure you understand what is included in the settlement and what your coverage is for the rental car.

Finally, make sure that you speak with the adjuster to clarify anything you don’t understand. Ask questions, delve into the details and make sure you obtain the most favorable settlement. Careful navigation of the insuring process can ease the tension and help you get your car replaced quickly and efficiently.

Know Your Insurance

Before you purchase car insurance, make sure you have a good understanding of your coverage limits and what is and is not covered. If you’re ever in an accident, you will know ahead of time what to expect from your insurance company and what your rights are. It is always best to check and make sure your insurance coverage is sufficient for your needs.

The various types of insurance policies, such as collision, comprehensive, uninsured and underinsured motorist, can provide different coverage in the event of an accident. Knowing these types of policies and making sure that you have enough coverage can save you from added stress and costs, should you ever find yourself in an accident involving a totaled car.

The Claims Process

Once you have been involved in an accident that totals your car, the claims process can be lengthy, especially if you do not know what to do or if you feel like your insurance adjuster is not working in your best interests. It is imperative that you maintain constant communication with your insurance company while the process is ongoing. This will help to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines and that all of the paperwork is correctly completed. Ask your insurer questions and make sure you understand the answers fully before signing any documents.

The most important step to remember is to remain calm throughout the process. Do your research and if you have any questions, ask them. Hiring a lawyer to help you deal with insurance companies can be beneficial as it ensures that you are receiving the most favorable settlement.

Effective Negotiation

Negotiation is an important skill to have when it comes to dealing with your insurance company. Though most settlements are straightforward, it doesn’t hurt to negotiate and ask for more, as you could receive a more favorable settlement. When negotiating, make sure that you remain calm and patient and never settle for less than you are entitled to.

As a car owner, you have rights. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you or your vehicle. Dispute what you feel is unfair and demand a more suitable settlement. Insurance companies often don’t willingly offer more; it is up to you to ensure that you are getting what you are entitled to.

Auto Repair Laws

Depending on where you live, you may have a few legal protections when it comes to auto repairs. In many states, Lemon Laws protect consumers from poorly repaired or unreliable vehicles. Also, many states have “right-to-repair” legislation that allows car owners to go directly to the manufacturer for the repairs or the replacement of a vehicle. Before the insurance company can give you a settlement, they must first verify that the repairs are within the state laws.

For example, some states prohibit insurance companies from using aftermarket parts that don’t meet the original standards of the manufacturer. Other states protect consumers from using used parts that could be dangerous or unreliable. Knowing these laws and regulations will help you make sure that your car is adequately repaired and that you get the most out of your settlement.

Selling a Totaled Car

Though it’s no longer drivable, it is possible to still sell a totaled car. When dealing with a totaled car, you may have the option to keep it, even if it is no longer in driving condition. If you decide to keep the car and sell it, you must contact the DMV and notify them that the car is no longer drivable and can’t be registered or driven. You would then be able to sell the car to a junkyard, scrapyard or parts salvaging company.

It is important to keep in mind that your insurance company will decrease their settlement offer if you choose to keep the car, as they won’t be able to recover the car themselves. Get a written offer from the junkyard or salvaging company and submit it to the insurance company before signing the title over to them.

If you’re dealing with an insurance company and don’t want to keep the car after it gets totaled, make sure to check with the company to find out if you can recover the scrap value for the car. Depending on the company, you may be able to get a higher payment if you sell the car yourself.

Marjorie Turcios is a seasoned leader and management expert with over 25 years of experience. She has held various leadership positions in private industry, government, and education. She is an advocate for creating win-win solutions and has worked to create successful, lasting change in corporations and organizations. Marjorie is an award-winning author of several books on leadership, mentoring and coaching, and effective communication skills. Her passion is to help others discover their potential and reach new heights in their professional life through her writings. Marjorie resides in Dallas, Texas where she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to different places around the world, and speaking at conferences about her areas of expertise.

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