My Car Is Totaled What Does That Mean
By: Smiljanic Stasha
Wondering how to fight an insurance company over a totaled car? You have landed at the right place!
The consequences of a car wreck can be really nerve-wracking, especially when your car gets labeled total loss. Total loss means that the vehicle cant be repaired or that the repair cost of the damage exceeds the vehicles value. However, it doesnt mean that theres nothing you can do.
Totaled car insurance helps you pay for a new vehicle if yours gets totaled. If you have the right coverages, the insurance company will be liable to give you a settlement.
Keep on reading this article to know what to do with a totaled car with no insurance and how tofight an insurance company over a totaled car. So, lets jump in!
Quick Lowball Settlement Offers
On the opposite side of the spectrum from the first two tactics is when an insurance company tries to get you to take a low settlement offer immediately, despite that fact that it doesnt cover your losses. This is more likely to be a problem in cases where the damage is light. The insurance company may be betting youll pocket the cash rather than fix the car. Dont fall for it, especially if they claim it is take it or leave it. Take the time to get multiple estimates if your car is repairable or find comparable cars for sale locally if it is totaled to give you a basis to negotiate fairly. Often, the best bet is to have the insurance company pay the repair shop youve chosen directly.
Do I Still Have To Pay A Loan On A Totaled Car
If your vehicle is financed or leased, youre still responsible for paying off the loan, says U.S. News. A claim payout will likely have to go toward covering the costs.
You may still owe your lender more for the car than the insurance payment you receive. In that case, youre responsible for paying the remaining balance on the car lease or loan.
For instance, suppose you owe $15,000 on your car loan, but your vehicle’s value has depreciated to $13,000 when it’s totaled. If you have collision coverage, your insurer may reimburse you for the actual cash value of your car in this case, $13,000. You would have to pay your lender that amount, plus the remaining $2,000 out of your own pocket.
Adding loan or lease gap coverage to your car insurance policy is one way to help protect against paying a lender out of pocket for a totaled vehicle. In fact, most lenders require it. This covers the difference between what you owe on your vehicle and its ACV at the time of the accident.
Does Car Insurance Cover Sales Tax After A Total Loss
Most states require insurers to pay sales tax after you replace your crashed vehicle.
For states that reimburse sales tax, insurance companies will provide that money on the total loss settlement for your original vehicle and not your new car. Here’s an example. Let’s say your car is totaled and you get $5,000 from your insurer. If you then buy a car that’s worth $30,000, your auto insurance company will pay the sales tax on the older vehicle.
If you’re in a state that requires insurance companies to pay for those costs, make sure to request the money quickly. Some states also have a 30-day time limit for you to request that reimbursement.
Key Things To Know About Totaled Cars
- Insurance adjusters are the ones who determine whether a car is totaled.
- Totaled cars can be covered by comprehensive, collision, or property damage liability insurance, depending on the situation.
- If your totaled car has a loan or lease balance, your insurer will first reimburse your lender or lessor.
- You may have the option to keep a totaled car, but its unlikely to be worth it.
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The Bottom Line On Who Pays
The bottom line is that the other driver’s or car owner’s insurer will pay for your totaled car if the other driver was at fault for the accident . But your compensation might be limited if you don’t have valid insurance in place at the time of the accident, even if you aren’t at fault for the accident.
If the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured, you’ll have to turn to your collision or UIM coverage.
If you caused the accident, your liability coverage will pay other people for their injuries and damage to their property, but you’ll have to rely on your collision coverage to pay for your totaled car.
If you total a car without collision insurance, then your insurer will not reimburse you for the ACV of your car. Learn more about what happens when you’re in a car accident and uninsured.
Should I Get Gap Insurance
If you have a car loan or lease, you still have to pay your lender even if your car is totaled and you can no longer drive it. However, the insurance company will only pay the ACV of the car at the time of the loss. Since vehicles depreciate quickly, that may not be enough to pay off what you owe if youre leasing or financing the purchase of your car especially if you put little or no money down.
Youll be responsible for making up the difference unless you have GAP coverage. GAP covers the difference between the amount you owe on your loan or lease and what the insurance company pays. Many policies even cover your collision or comprehensive deductible.
GAP insurance is often relatively inexpensive. Your insurance agent can help you with it. We think GAP insurance makes sense and is worth the extra cost.
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Negotiate With Your Insurance Adjuster
If you feel that the vehicle appraisal from your car insurance company is too low, you can opt to negotiate with your claims adjuster. There are a few things you can do before and after the appraisal process that may improve your chances of success:
- Get a written estimate: Obtaining a written estimate from a professional body shop can help show your adjuster that your vehicle is worth more than the appraisal.
- Use online tools: Take advantage of online tools to get ballpark value of your vehicle and print out the results.
- Find comparable vehicles: Location can have an impact on a vehicles value. Find cars for sale in your zip code that match your year, make and model and bring these listings to the negotiation.
- Ask for your Certified Collateral Corporation report: A CCC report is an itemized list of your vehicles features that an adjuster uses to help determine the market value of your car. Look over the CCC report and ensure your vehicles features and trim level are listed correctly.
The more evidence you bring showing that the insurance company undervalued your vehicle, the stronger your case will be.
Get Your Paperwork Together
It is essential to provide proof in the paperwork for all accident-related losses to help your claims process. Youll definitely need the title of your car, because if your car is totaled, you may have to sign it over to the insurance company.
Youll also want to keep track of related paperwork that includes any bills or professional damage assessments. If you financed your car and still owe money, youll need to review your car loan and know how much balance remains. Its also a good idea to do your own research on your cars ACV to make sure the insurance adjusters estimate is accurate.
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How Can I Get A New Car After A Total Loss
It is totally up to you if, when and how you buy a new car to replace the totaled one.
We recommend doing some research to determine the safest vehicles and cheapest vehicles to insure, then compare those with your vehicle needs and purchase costs before making your decision. It is also important to consider what you have to pay on a down payment if you will be financing a vehicle.
What Happens If Your Car Is Totaled
Talk to your auto insurance company or, if you have State Farm auto insurance, speak with your agent or claim representative to see whether state regulations
Can my repair shop charge more than the insurance company will pay? Yes. In most cases, the repair shop and your insurer will come to an agreed upon price to
If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, you may have sufficient insurance to pay off the loan. You may not have enough left over to pay off the loan
What Makes A Car A Total Loss
An insurance company may declare a car a total loss if the cost of fixing it is more than the market value, or if it wouldnt be safe to drive the car even if the repairs were made. The insurer also may make its decision based on how your particular state defines a total loss.
Some states use a total loss threshold to determine if a car is totaled. In these states, the damage must exceed a certain percentage of the cars value. Missouri, for example, has an 80% TLT which means if you were in an accident and your car worth $10,000 required more than $8,000 in repairs, your car could be declared a total loss. The repairs wouldnt exceed the actual cash value of the vehicle, but they would exceed the states TLT.
Many states use a total loss formula to declare a vehicle totaled. With this method, if the cost of repairs plus the salvage value of the car exceeds its actual cash value, the car is totaled.
If the insurance company thinks the damage could end up being more extensive than the adjusters initial estimate, it may use a lower threshold for declaring a total loss than what the state requires.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage And Underinsured Motorist Property Damage :
UMPD/UIMPD applies when a driver with no insurance or not enough coverage is at-fault in an accident that totaled your vehicle. UMPD/UIMPD may be beneficial if you dont have collision coverage and can cover your vehicle up to a specified dollar amount on your policy, instead of the vehicles value. The availability of UMPD/UIMPD varies by state and a deductible may apply.
Please note that in certain situations, UMPD/UIMPD may not offer enough coverage to pay the value of your vehicle. For example, if the UMPD limit on your policy is $25,000 and your car is valued at $35,000, youll be $10,000 short. To avoid this situation, its a good idea to carry collision coverage if your vehicles value exceeds the limit of your UMPD/UIMPD coverage.
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Things Your Insurance Company Doesnt Want You To Know If You Total Your Car
You have been involved in a car accident and your car is totaled . If the insurance company offers you a settlement on your total-loss claim, the following six items are things your insurance company definitely does not want you to know about when youre negotiating the value of your vehicle.
1.) The Total-Loss-Settlement Amount Your Insurance Company Offers Include Mandatory Taxes And Fees. Your insurance company is required to pay you what is known as the actual cash value of your vehicle. ACV is the market value of the vehicle taking into consideration pre-loss condition, options, and mileage. To determine the amount it will pay you, your insurance carrier researches your vehicles market value by comparing your vehicle to vehicles that are for sale in your local area.
The California Department of Insurance forces the insurance companies to also reimburse you the 8.75% sales tax you will have to pay when you replace the vehicle.
EXAMPLE: If your insurance company offers you $10,000 to replace your vehicle, and you search the local market and find your car selling for around $10,000, you may be tempted to accept their offer. However, they are trying to cheat you out of $875. Even though the ACV for your vehicle is $10,000, they have unfairly valued your vehicle at $9,125. The carrier merely included the sales tax already owed to you in their offer. If the market value of your vehicle is $10,000, the insurance company owes you $10,875 .
Let Your Attorney Negotiate With Insurance
Our attorneys at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can negotiate with the insurance company to get you a fair payout for your totaled car. Many times, people are entitled to much more than what the insurance adjuster is offering. You should never accept the first offer.
It is best to reach out to a lawyer before speaking with an insurance company and then allow them to handle all communications regarding your totaled car. We are familiar with the tactics insurance companies employ to devalue claims, and we do not want to see you get shortchanged. We do not want you to leave money on the table. We will fight for what you deserve.
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You Can Buy Insurance To Protect Yourself On Your Next Car
If your car was totaled you are obviously going to have to buy a replacement car at some time. When you do, you should ask your insurance company for a price quote to add to your policy a provision that will pay off any loans on the car that you have, even if the loan amount is highrer than the ACV of the vehicle. You will probably find out that the cost of such extra insurance coverage is quite low and well worth the price.
What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled And You Still Owe Money
If your car is totaled and you still owe money, your insurer will repay the lender for the car’s value. But if the amount from your insurance company is less than the loan amount, you will have to cover the remaining balance.
However, if you carry gap insurance, it will cover the difference between the car’s value and how much you still owe on loan. Otherwise, you’ll need to keep making payments until the loan is paid off.
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How Much Is A Totaled Car Insurance Payout
An insurance company will pay the actual cash value of a totaled car. The ACV is how much a car was worth immediately prior to being damaged, taking into consideration factors such as age, make, model, and condition.
Once you and the insurer agree on a value, you will be paid that amount minus any deductible. In some states, the payout will also include the taxes and fees associated with purchasing a replacement car.
Learn more about how much a totaled car payout is.
Do You Pay A Deductible When Your Car Is Totaled
You might have to pay your deductible for a totaled car. Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket after a covered loss. Usually, a deductible is a set dollar amount. For example, if the ACV of your totaled car is $5,000 and you have a $1,000 deductible, your insurer will pay out $4,000 .
You might not have to pay the deductible if you aren’t at fault for the accident that totaled your car. In most states, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance covers accident-related losses, including deductibles.
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Insurance Companies Want To Pay You As Little As Possible
Regardless of how the insurance company values your car and how highly you value it, remember that the insurance company is in the business of making profits. It achieves that goal by taking in more premium dollars than it pays out in claim dollars. In other words, the insurance company always wants to pay you as little as possible. Some of the ways they will try to do so follow.
How Do You Negotiate Your Insurance On A Totaled Car
There are several ways you can get a better valuation of your car based on what you believe it is worth it. Many times, you dont really need to fight your insurance company for your totaled vehicle, but remind them of what they need to do.
Its just a matter of knowing the appeal process and who to speak to. The insurance industry can be intimidating, and the claims process is not necessarily better with cheap car insurance. Whenever youre talking to an insurance provider, you should come in prepared with facts.
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How Does An Insurance Company Decide How Much To Pay Out
After an accident, you can expect your insurance company to assign an adjuster to handle your case. The adjuster will check out your damaged car and, as part of the assessment, determine the cost of repairs and if the car is worth repairing.
If its totaled, the adjuster will assign the car a value based on its pre-crash condition and what similar models are selling for. The actual cash value you receive will factor in the cars age, wear and tear , the cars mileage, equipment you may have added, etc.
The payment you receive will help you buy a new car, but it probably wont be enough for a new model of the same car . And it may not be enough to pay off your loan or lease .
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