The Insurance Company Is Totaling My Car
If you are in a car accident and the damage to your car exceeds 65 to 70 percent of the value of your car, your car may be ‘totaled’. According to Insurance.com, your car will also be totaled if the repair estimate exceeds the fair market value. Keep in mind that if you’re in a car accident, you have two potential claims that arise from that accident. First, you have a property damage claim. This is the claim which relates to your vehicle. Second, you may have a personal injury claim. Even if you are handling your property damage claim on your own, a discussion with a personal injury lawyer about both claims is a great next step in the process. The personal injury claim relates to your pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills, but will not include repayment for loss of or damage to your vehicle.
Keeping A Totaled Vehicle After A Car Accident
If you want to keep your totaled vehicle after your car accident, your insurance company will typically pay you the cash value of the vehicle minus any deductible according to your policy. From there, you can arrange to have repairs made to the vehicle. In many cases, clients do choose to keep a totaled vehicle and make the repairs.
Check With Your Insurance Company About Coverage Going Forward
If you are planning to keep and operate a totaled or “salvage” vehicle, it’s important to make sure you will be able to get insurance coverage for the vehicle. Every insurance company is different. You can start by asking your current auto insurance company about covering the salvage vehicle. If that is not an option you can reach out to other insurance companies for the same purpose.
Selling Your Totaled Car After A Car Accident
Another thing to keep in mind is the trade-in or sale value of your vehicle may be zero if the insurance company is totaling your car after the accident. The title database maintained by insurance companies will alert any buyer that the vehicle has been totaled. You also have an affirmative duty to disclose to any potential buyer that the insurance company totaled the car.
Totaled Cars And Gap Insurance
If your car is totaled and the amount the insurance company is giving you for the totaled car does not cover the loan amount, you have a deficiency for which you may be responsible. Longer length loans on vehicles, coupled with rolling negative vehicle debt into a trade-in often results in an “upside-down” vehicle. When the insurance company totals the car, you’re left with the loan to pay.
If you purchased what is commonly known as gap insurance, it will pay the difference between what you receive for the car and the remainder of the loan. The purpose of gap insurance is so that you don’t get stuck with unsecured or leftover debt after the insurance company makes their payment to you.
Purchasing A New Car After A Car Accident
Many of our personal injury clients are in need of a new vehicle after a car accident. While the personal injury claim does not include value for the loss of the vehicle, there is no rule that says you can’t spend some or all of your personal injury settlement funds on a down payment for a new car. Your personal injury lawyer can help you to sort through all of these issues and provide guidance in addition to protecting you against unfair treatment by the insurance company or companies involved in the car accident and compensation resulting from it.
Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.
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