Getting involved in a car accident is horrific and what follows next doesn’t guarantee to make it any better. It’s fortunate if no one was seriously hurt. But the expenses associated with repair can mean shelling out a hefty amount of money. Worse, the cost of replacement in case of a total loss could be more astonishing. In this article, we will discuss how you can make the most out of your car insurance policy in case your vehicle is totaled.
Definition and qualification
There are different considerations as to when a vehicle is to be declared totaled or a total loss. A minor accident that caused an older car’s airbags to set off is a valid enough reason to declare a total loss. And the same stands true for a newer car model that caught fire. In general, a vehicle is deemed totaled if the damages to be repaired will cost about 75% of the vehicle’s value.
The instances that will merit total loss declaration include, but are not limited to:
- Theft with no chances of recovery
- Flooding, storm, and water damages
- Engine damage due to fire
The above-mentioned scenarios, except collision, may make you eligible for some form of financial compensation under a comprehensive car insurance coverage. Liability and collision coverage will provide the reimbursement for collisions that resulted in a total loss.
Filing the claim and receiving payment
Insurance providers issue payments after vehicles are deemed totally lost. It is an amount corresponding to the car’s fair market value before it was totaled. Insurers would either:
- Offer cash payments equivalent to the car’s value prior to being deemed a total loss. The actual payment will be based on the car’s make and model, including mileage.
- Provide a replacement vehicle that’s comparable to the one you lost.
- Insurers will shoulder licensing fees, sales tax, and other expenses related to transferring the title.
In the event, you believe your car is undervalued, review your policy document to determine if you can have your own private appraiser. However, you’ll have to shoulder the fee for the appraiser’s service out of your own pocket.
Knowing what to do after a total loss auto accident
Because a total loss accident claim is, in most cases, more complicated than getting a vehicle repaired and, more steps are involved in finalizing a total loss claim. Knowing what you should do after a total loss auto accident will hurry up the claims process to help you get your insurance check faster.
Report the Claim to the Insurance Company as soon as possible
A total loss auto insurance claim is not a claim you want to not deal with immediately. Total loss claims may take over a month to wrap up.
Although the insurance company plays a big role in the speed of a claim, you also play a part in the speed too. So file your claim immediately so that the insurance company can start working on your claim right away.
Have the Vehicle Towed to Your Insurance Company’s recommended Body Shop
Consider having your vehicle towed to your insurance company’s recommended body shop. Most auto insurance companies have a few chosen body shops they work with directly. This can quicken the claims process.
Find your vehicle title
If you don’t know where your title is, find it right away. If you can’t find it file for a lost title at the DMV now. Because if your vehicle is totaled, you will have to sign the title over to your auto insurance company.
If you have a loan on the vehicle, Check how much you owe
You will need to know how much you owe on your vehicle because if your auto loan is higher than the current value of the vehicle, you’ll still owe the remaining balance even though the automobile is totaled.
Do your own research to determine the value of your vehicle
It’s a good idea on your part to research the value of your vehicle to make sure the insurance company is giving you a fair payout figure.
The amount of the settlement the insurance company offers should be similar to the estimated value you researched. Don’t forget to subtract the amount of your deductible and expenses for disposing of the wreck.
Use the resource below to determine the current value of your vehicle:
- Kelly Blue Book what’s my car worth to help you understand what your car is worth.
Although Insurance companies usually use their own formulas to determine your car’s value, the site does a good job of providing an estimated market value.
Remember to take the claims process one step at a time and remain calm. Communicate closely with your claims adjuster to make the process run smoothly. Also, make sure you have a good contact number to get in touch with your agent when necessary.