What Happens If My Car Is Totaled?
The Damage Seems Minor, but Your Car is Totaled
Cars can be totaled for a number of reasons. Oftentimes, it is the result of a collision or an accident. At other times, it can be due to damage from nature’s elements such as hurricanes, hail storms, and floods. Seeing your car destroyed is painful enough (especially when it’s because of an accident, then it can be physically painful for you too). Dealing with what happens next can aggravate the situation even more. Keep reading to learn what it means when your car is totaled, and learn what your options are from Big Sky Collision Center, your source for auto body repair in Billings.
What does “totaled” mean?
Generally, a vehicle is considered “totaled” when the cost to repair it is equal or higher than its actual cash value. There are cases, however, when an insurance company will still consider a vehicle as “totaled” even when the cost to repair it is lower than its actual cost. This happens when the repair cost ranges from 70% to 99% of the actual cost. For example, if your car value prior to being damaged is $6,000, and the cost to fix it is estimated to be at least $4,200 (70% of $6,000), insurers may likely declare your car a total loss.
You agree that your car is “totaled”. Now what?
As difficult as it may be to stomach the decision about your car, know that there are at least 5 things you can do to deal with the situation.
Buy yourself a new car
If there’s no sentimental value attached to the totaled vehicle, replacing it is usually the easiest course of action to take. What happens is: your insurance company will inform you of your car’s actual cash value (determined based on their own set of criteria), then offer you a check with the corresponding amount. If you agree on the designated value, it’s a simple matter of accepting the payment, and using the money to purchase a new car.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to accept your insurance company’s initial offer! These businesses don’t make money by paying out large claims and very often they will low-ball the amount they are willing to give you. You can, and should, negotiate this amount.
Keep your car and have it repaired
For whatever reason you may have, deciding to keep your car and having it fixed is not an uncommon solution. This is particularly true for car owners who have an emotional attachment to their car probably because it’s their first, or it’s a special edition model, or there are simply too many memories attached to it. In this case, what you will get is the leftover balance from your car’s actual value after its salvage value (expected resale value of your wrecked car) and applicable deductible (if you were in an accident and you were at fault) have been deducted from it. Aside from cash, you will also be given a “salvage title” for your car. It’s a title that you need to declare in case you decide to sell your car in the future, making your car harder to sell because most people would want cars with a clean title rather than a salvage title. Insuring your repaired car will become harder too, if not impossible, because some insurance companies refuse to insure salvaged cars.
If you go this route, check with your insurance company before making any decisions. You may also want to check to see if there is a way to get around the salvage title after you have proven that the repairs were made.
Keep your car and sell what’s left of it
Rather than let the insurance company profit from selling your car parts, if you’re knowledgeable enough about such, you may want to consider selling your car materials and parts on your own. It can also be a viable option if you happen to be a mechanic and want to use your car parts on another vehicle.
Keep your car and just continue using it
This option is possible for a car that has been deemed a total loss only because of cosmetic damage done to it such as dent, scratches, and broken paint resulting from severe hail damage. This basically means that the car is still safe to drive, it just looks unsightly.
Bring it to Big Sky Collision Center before you go this route. It is likely that there is just cosmetic damage, but it is also likely that there is damage that you can’t quite see.
Go the philanthropic route
Say goodbye to your car. Instead of accepting cash for it, have a donation service sell its parts for you, and donate the proceeds to a charity of your choice. Aside from the unequalled happy feeling that comes from helping other people, you’ll likely get a tax deduction for it too.
Even if Your Car is Totaled, Have Big Sky Collision Look at It
Despite the fact that the insurance company told you it was a total loss, you should have it inspected. We may have a way for you to fix the major damage and leave some of the minor damage. In the end you still have a vehicle to drive until you can find the one that is just right for you.
Naturally, even if your car wasn’t destroyed, we offer a wide range of services. In fact, we have the best deals on auto detailing in Billings. Give us a call at 406-259-6328 to schedule a time when we can make your car look and feel clean again!