If you go through a vehicle accident, you will most likely have to go through the insurance company to repair your vehicle. Many times, this is a fairly quick and easy process, and within a short time, you will be back to driving with a fixed vehicle.
Sometimes though, your vehicle may be totaled or declared a total loss. This can be alarming or confusing to hear, but it is a very straightforward system that we will go over together.
HOW DOES AN INSURANCE COMPANY DECIDE A VEHICLE IS TOTALED?
When an insurance company is going through the process of covering repair costs, they will look at the current value of your vehicle and compare that to the amount of money required to repair it. In some states, a vehicle can be declared a total loss if the repairs cost 70% of the value of the vehicle. The general rule though, is if your repairs cost MORE than the remaining value, your vehicle will be declared a total loss.
Sometimes the damage to a vehicle may look minor but depending on the current value of the vehicle it can still be totaled. To check your value, you can check Kelley Blue Book. When working with the insurance company, it is always good to have your own information about your vehicle. Most insurance adjusters will work to give the least amount of compensation possible.
WHAT IF I STILL OWE ON MY VEHICLE?
If you still owe money on your vehicle, the insurance company will write the check out to you and your loan holder. Depending on the value of the vehicle and how much money you receive from the insurance company, you still may owe on the vehicle loan even though the vehicle itself has been declared a total loss.
When this happens, there are options to explore to try and receive more money from the insurance company. This can be complicated and difficult, and each case is different, so in these cases, it is best to speak to your lawyer to explore these options.
CAN I KEEP MY VEHICLE EVEN IF IT IS DECLARED A TOTAL LOSS?
Yes! If you want to keep your vehicle, you can! Generally, the insurance adjuster will still offer some sort of compensation – this usually involves the vehicle’s value before the accident minus the current value of the vehicle after the accident.
So, if your vehicle WAS worth $4,000.00, but is now worth $2,500.00 due to the accident damages, the insurance company will send you a check for $1,500.00. Again, each case is different so it is best to get all the information you can before deciding.
If you do follow this process, you will have to sign a document saying that you agree to the amount they are offering as compensation for your vehicle. If you do not agree with the value, or have any other questions, it is best to reach out to a personal injury attorney ASAP. They will have knowledge about all of the tools available to ensure you get the best compensation available.
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