Can you keep a totaled car?

by Guest » Thu Sep 06, 2007 06:18 am

When your car is beyond repair because of an accident or costs more than the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the car, it is considered totaled. When a car is totaled, only the salvage value of the metal is considered when determining the value of the car.

How is a car determined to be totaled?

Whether a car is totaled or not can be defined by keeping in mind these 2 different perspectives:
  1. The Individual's point of view: For an individual a car is totaled if the damage is beyond repair or if the owner cannot afford to get the car repaired. This usually occurs when the owner has only the minimum amount of insurance.
  2. Insurance point of view: A car is 'totaled' if the cost of repairing the car exceeds the cost of replacing it. Insurance companies consider only a percentage of the current worth of the car, and it is important that individuals are aware of the percentage their insurance companies will consider. Normally the percentage insurance companies deem the car totaled ranges from 51% to 80% of its current market value.

Settlement procedure for a totaled car

An insurance adjuster inspects and photographs the damaged vehicle to determine the degree of damage and the cost of repairs compared with the value of the car in its current state.

If the cost to repair the car exceeds the percentage fixed by the company, it will make a settlement rather than get it repaired. This settlement will take into consideration a few other factors like:
  • The make of the car.
  • The model.
  • The condition of the car and the mileage it has.
If the cost to repair the car exceeds a certain percentage fixed by the company, it will make a settlement rather than get it repaired. This settlement again will take into consideration few other factors like:
  • Make of the car
  • Model
  • Condition of the car and the mileage it offers
  • Comparison with other similar vehicles in the same area
Essentially, the insurer is looking at the Blue Book value of your car. The settlement may include sales tax, title, and registration fees of the car if your state law requires it to.

How to keep your totaled car

Even if your car has been deemed 'totaled' you might want to keep it. In this case you have to convince the insurance company to let you keep the car. However, you can try one or few of the following tips to be able to keep a totaled car:
  • Talk to your insurance claim adjuster and fight for your car. Remind the agent that you are the one paying the premium and that you have the right to change insurance companies.
  • Document all maintenance performed on your car. This will help you decide whether or not you should accept a particular settlement offer.
  • Insurance companies offer their own choice of repair shops. Use your own discretion. However, do your own research and also on the repair shop suggested by the insurance company.
  • If you wish to retain your totaled car, the adjuster will deduct the salvage value while determining the final settlement offer. You may try negotiating with your adjuster to settle for a lower salvage value of your car.
  • If you want to know the ACV of your car, don't depend on your insurance company. Get a second opinion, and do your own research online or at your local library.

Related readings

Hi all, I am in a trouble. I was in an accident some days back. Although, none was hurt but it has caused a great damage to my car. I had approached to my insurance company and filed a claim. Now my insurance company wants to ‘write off' the vehicle. My question to the community is- when is a car considered totalled ? What are my chances if I want to retain my vehicle? Will the insurer compensate me under such circumstances?


Total Comments: 152

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 09:05 pm Post Subject: totaled car

my sisters envoy was damaged in a hail storm.. her ins. company considered it totaled ... but she was told she can't ever insure it ????

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 01:05 am Post Subject:

Not true. A vehicle with a "salvage" title may be insured. It's collision value will be very low, but could still be "totalled" again.

Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 04:18 am Post Subject: laws

whats the law in florida for buying your car back when its been totaled

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 04:16 pm Post Subject:

Hi, I was recently in an accident and I need advice/help. The other driver was at fault so it's their insurance I am going through. My car is worth about $8,100 but the damages would cost $4,300 to fix. It's a 2003 lexus but it has a good number of miles on it. Also, I have a lien holder on my car and I currently owe $7000. With all that being said, they deemed my car a total loss because of the 51%. After the settlement there will be a couple hundred left over. I still want to keep my car and try to get it fixed or even sale it because the damage is not bad. It would be difficult for me to obtain another as I am a struggling college student. My attorney informed me it would be ok because I owed less than the worth of the car. But now the insurance says I cannot because I have a lien holder. I'm really confused. I just need transportation to get to work and school. Any ideas on what I should do?

Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 08:45 pm Post Subject: lender payment

is the insurance required in the state of colorado to pay the lender off first before issuing payment on a totalled vehicle? if so what is the relevant statute either wy?

Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 05:52 pm Post Subject:

Insurance to protect the lender's interest in a vehicle is not a matter of insurance law, it is a matter of CONTRACT LAW. If your purchase contract requires that you obtain coverage on the vehicle to protect the lender, so be it. Your lender is supposed to be named as an additional insured.

Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 01:15 pm Post Subject: still have to pay?

I totaled my new car, didn't have insurance on it at the time, and it was totaled. The car loan comp. wrote it off as a lost. Do I still have to pay on a car I don't have?

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 03:55 am Post Subject:

If you didn't have insurance, You'll have to pay to the lien holder yourself

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:04 am Post Subject:

The trunk of my vehicle was so damaged that I could not close it. Other than that, the car was drivable and in good shape. My insurance company totaled it out and I decided to keep it. If I don't or can't afford to get the trunk fixed at this time, can I still get a tag and title for it? Ga. Girl

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 08:04 am Post Subject: Options for fixing my car

Someone hit my rear bumper and hood.
Is it possible to claim part of the repair to get claim low enough they will not total? It is possible for me to pay labor and claim the parts cost? It is also possible for me to claim bumper and leave off hood damage (fixing that myself)? Please advise what my options are. I want to fix without totaling car out since Salvage Cost are on Par or higher than cost of vehicle. So ... someone hit me, insurance company indicating they are going to take my car (which I want to fix), and the insurance company could then sell car for a profit. Seems like a sham.

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