What Does It Mean for a Car to Be Totaled?

When a car is “totaled,” the cost to repair the car exceeds its current value. In other words, the car is so damaged that it’s not worth fixing. Typically, insurance companies will declare a car totaled if the cost to repair it is 75-80% or more of its current value.

If your car is totaled, your insurance company will pay you the current value of the car (minus your deductible). This can create a difficult financial situation if you still owe money on your car loan, as the insurance payout may not cover the remaining balance.

What Steps Should You Take if Your Car Is Totaled?

If your car is totaled, the first thing you should do is notify your insurance company. They will send an adjuster to assess the damage and determine whether the car can be repaired or if it’s a total loss. Once your insurance company has determined that your car is totaled, they will provide you with a payout based on the car’s current value.

When your insurance company declares your car as “totaled,” they are essentially saying that the cost to repair your car exceeds its actual cash value (ACV). The ACV is determined by factors such as the car’s age, mileage, and condition, as well as any recent repairs or upgrades.

It’s important to note that the ACV may not necessarily be the same as what you paid for the car. For example, if you bought a new car and were in an accident a few months later, the ACV may be less than what you paid due to depreciation.

If you still owe money on your car loan, it’s important to let your insurance company know. They will typically pay the car’s value directly to your lender, and if there’s any money left over, they will give it to you.

If you don’t agree with your insurance company’s assessment of your car’s value, you have the right to dispute it. You can provide evidence such as receipts for recent repairs or maintenance, as well as similar car listings in your area to show that your car is worth more than what the insurance company is offering. An experienced personal injury attorney can also help you with this process and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

If you decide to keep your totaled car, you’ll need to get a salvage title from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This will allow you to legally own the car, but it will also impact its resale value in the future.

Who Pays for a Rental if My Car Has Been Totaled?

If your car has been totaled in an accident and you need a rental car while your claim is being processed, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is typically responsible for paying the cost of the rental.

However, if you have rental car coverage as part of your own insurance policy, your insurance company may also be able to cover the cost of the rental. The specific terms of your policy will dictate whether rental car coverage is included and what the limits are.

It’s important to keep in mind that the insurance company may only cover the cost of a rental car for a limited amount of time, such as 30 days. You’ll need to work with the insurance company to determine the specific terms of your rental car coverage and to make arrangements for getting a rental car.

What Other Costs Might I Incur if My Car Is Totaled?

If your car has been totaled, there may be other expenses that you incur in addition to the cost of a rental car. Some of these expenses may include:

  • Towing and storage fees: If your car is not drivable after the accident, it may need to be towed and stored until the insurance company can assess the damage. You may be responsible for these fees, depending on the terms of your insurance policy.
  • Medical expenses: If you or your passengers were injured in the accident, you may incur medical expenses such as hospital bills, doctor’s fees, and physical therapy costs. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may be responsible for paying these expenses.
  • Deductible: If you have a deductible on your insurance policy, you’ll need to pay that amount before the insurance company will cover the rest of the costs associated with the accident.
  • Loss of use: If you’re unable to use your car for an extended period of time while your claim is being processed, you may be able to claim loss of use damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This can cover the cost of alternative transportation such as taxis or rideshare services.
  • Diminished value: If your car is repaired after the accident, it may have a lower resale value than it did before the accident. You may be able to claim diminished value damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company to compensate for this loss.

It’s important to keep accurate records of any expenses you incur as a result of the accident, including receipts and invoices. This will make it easier to claim these expenses from the insurance company and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. An experienced personal injury lawyer can also help you navigate the process and ensure that your rights are protected.

Having your car totaled can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. However, by understanding what it means and what steps you should take, you can make the process a little easier. If you have any questions about your car accident or your insurance coverage, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional lawyer for car wreck claims. They can help guide you through the process and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Call Hejazi Law Group at (949) 749-7402 for a consultation today!