What Happens with a Totaled Car?

Car crashed under barrier

Those in auto mechanic careers have seen their fair share of totaled vehicles. Say you’ve been in an accident and things look pretty bad. You’re wondering if maybe your car’s just been totaled. The only way to know for sure is when your insurance company takes the reigns. An auto insurance adjuster will do the calculations and be the one to let you know if your vehicle has been totaled.

There are several determining factors which will let an auto insurance adjuster know the vehicle is totaled. This includes calculating mileage used before the crash, whether or not there was any prior damage and the number of that vehicle type available. A car is considered totaled when the damage exceeds 65-70% of the market value—although some insurance companies will go as low as 51%. If it is indeed totaled, then you will have to remove the licence plates, your personal belongings and then contact your finance or leasing company so they can negotiate with your insurance company.

Insurance Company Writes You a Cheque

If the totaled car is at the fault of another driver, then their insurance will cut you a cheque for the total damage. The insurance company will ideally pay you the full cash value of the vehicle, provided you actually own the car in full. If you are leasing the vehicle, your insurance company will pay that amount to your leaser. Sometimes you will owe more to the leasing company than the insurance will cover, meaning the rest of the lease will have to be covered out of your own pocket. After the money is sorted out, the insurance company will then send the totaled car to the wrecking yard.

Junkyard picking up car

Keep the Car

Safety is a major concern when dealing with a totaled car. Instead of sending their totaled car to the junkyard, some people will take the route of having the vehicle repaired by an automotive technician. It is important to search for hard-to-find damages nestled in the interior which could affect how your vehicle runs and threaten the safety of passengers. This route is often more expensive than buying another car completely, but for those attached to their vehicle, or hopeful of the lower price, repairs are an option. Keep in mind that aspects like automotive painting can end up being a small but expensive repair. Determining the cost of repairing versus buying new is always tricky, so you must do careful calculations to find the best path. Keep in mind that different auto shops will have specialities, and you may be able to find deals.

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