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A total loss: How much should you get for your damaged vehicle?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

In a car accident, sometimes the damage to your vehicle is so extensive that your insurance company decides it is not worth fixing. When this happens, your insurance company writes your car off as a total loss, which you may know as the term “totaled.” 

When your insurer totals your vehicle, it needs to come up with an estimate to determine the amount of your compensation. Yet, the process of valuing an automobile is not always as straightforward as it may seem, according to U.S. News and World Report, and you could have room to push for additional reimbursement. 

You can negotiate 

The first thing about vehicle valuation in a total loss situation is that you do not have to take the first offer your insurance company gives you. You have the right to come up with your own figure and propose that as a counteroffer. If you want to do this, though, you will need to have sources and evidence to back up your claim. You may want to research cars like yours currently on the market. 

You can provide additional records 

Your insurance company will typically offer you an amount based on the fair market value. However, your insurer may base this offer on general presumptions and not consider specific details about your vehicle. You could qualify for compensation for the maintenance you have done on it or the vehicle’s actual condition prior to the crash. You will need to show records and evidence that indicate additional value. 

You are responsible for unpaid financing 

You should note that your insurer does not have to reimburse you for the money you owe on your vehicle; it only has to pay for the value of the car. So, if you have an outstanding loan, you are still responsible for the balance. The exception is if you have gap insurance, which will pay the loan, but this is extra coverage that you will specifically have to add to your policy.