Ok, let’s say you’ve had a car accident, thankfully no one was hurt! Oh, actually, your car is hurtin’ pretty bad and you think it might be totaled; sadly, this is often the case. Is it really totaled? Well let’s see, did the airbag deploy? Is there damage to more than one side of your car? Is it driveable? If one or more of these answers is ‘yes’, it is safe to say it’s totaled. Depending on your situation, this could be good or bad but either way you need to get educated. So how do insurance companies determine whether your car is a total loss?
- 1. Damage is so severe that the car can’t be repaired safely.
- 2. The cost of the repairs is more than the vehicle is worth.
- 3. Vehicle damage is so severe that state regulations dictate that it must be considered a total loss car.
If in fact, your car is totaled by insurance standards, how much cash can you expect to receive for it? First off, you need insurance to file a claim so if your insurance coverage has lapsed or your policy limits your claim amount, you may be stuck, but if that’s all good, file away! There is no gold standard for determining your car’s cash value once totaled (This may work in your favor). Though all insurance companies have a basic formula for reaching this number, there are simply too many variables involved for a simple online form approach. Here’s where the insurance company will focus their search but it’s almost always up for discussion in the end.
- 1. Actual Cash Value is determined. That’s the resale price for your vehicle if it hadn’t been totaled. The insurance company will look at recent listings and sales for similar vehicles in your area.
- 2. Pre-accident condition is considered. Your car’s mileage, options, trim level, and any pre-accident damage.
- 3. Your deductible. The insurance deductible you choose for your insurance policy is held back from the payout amount for your claim.
Now that your detectable is satisfied, insurance is supposed to pay the estimated difference between your vehicle’s pre-accident appraised value and the deductible amount. The key word here is “Estimated” and whose estimation we’re talking about. Getting the highest insurance payout for your totaled car may take some haggling. Ask for the best price! Truth is most people just accept the first offer the insurance company throws at them without question. Remember this is a negotiable figure so here’s how to get your own rough estimate.
- 1. Find the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) Value for your car in fair condition.
- 2. Work out 20 to 40 percent of the fair condition value, depending on how bad your total loss car’s condition is. It’s probably closer to the 20 percent mark.
- 3. Keep depreciation in mind, your car is losing value daily.
What if your car just needs repairs? Be prepared; your car’s value may drop due to repairs after the accident, this is called diminished value. It’s perceived trade or sale value is less than same model vehicles that have never been involved in an accident. Repairing the car won’t recover this lost value. However, like your totaled value, this is a negotiable number. Prepare to pass on the first offer and knuckle up to get the best settlement possible. In some cases it may be necessary file a claim against the other driver. This can sometimes force the insurance company to up their offer to avoid expensive attorney’s fees. You may also offer the court an expert witness. A car dealer may be able to present “actual” diminished values that are higher and more acceptable than the insurance company’s.
You might be surprised at how much you can increase your car’s totaled or diminished value with a little insurance savvy. Need help? Ask Mike, text or call (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’ve helped my customers successfully negotiate as much as $2500.00 over their insurance company’s offer. I strongly advise you to stay in the fight when it comes to the final settlement. It’s totally worth it!
carbrain.com. “How much insurance pays for totaled car” BLOG, etrailer.com, Web. 10, 25, 2018 Sourced from: https://carbrain.com/Blog/how-much-insurance-pays-for-totaled-car Accessed 4 Sept 2018