Your vehicle is totaled. you call your insurance agent and quickly realize that the settlement yet to be determined will likely dictate your options and replacement vehicle.
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Included below is information about how an insurance company decides whether a vehicle will be repaired or written off as a total loss, how the value of a vehicle is determined, and your responsibilities if you owe money on a totaled vehicle.
Do you have a loan or lease? insurance required
Let’s start with the basics: Comprehensive insurance coverage and collision insurance coverage help pay to replace a wrecked vehicle. these two separate and optional policies are usually required by a leasing company and the financial institution that holds the vehicle loan. If the loan is paid off, these policies are optional for the vehicle owner. however, both policies offer peace of mind in the event the vehicle is totaled.
Each state has a formula for determining under what circumstances an insurance company must total a car. go online, determine your state’s insurance regulations. In addition, each company has its own formula to determine a total vehicle.
In some states, if the damage is 50 percent or more of the vehicle’s pre-accident value, the state requires the vehicle to be totaled. other states put the percentage at 75 percent, a few at 100 percent. most states combine the cost of repairs and the salvage value of the vehicle. if the repairs and scrap value equal or exceed the pre-accident value, the car is totaled.
where full coverage is listed
A vehicle wrecked due to fire, flood, falling trees and power poles, being struck by a deer and several other scenarios is covered by comprehensive insurance. however, if the vehicle is totaled and optional comprehensive or collision coverage is not included on the vehicle, the owner may have to pay out of pocket to purchase a replacement vehicle. It depends on the scene of the accident.
The formula for determining total vehicle value is no different than determining the value of any used vehicle. The insurance adjuster records the vehicle’s mileage, the condition of the interior, exterior, and tires, and the value of added accessories. then the adjuster will look for comparable vehicles in that geographic area to determine wholesale values and resale prices. that data will be used to determine the value of the vehicle before the accident, flood, fire, etc. and then a deal will be offered.
do homework before making an agreement
However, before you agree to a deal, do your homework. check internet websites to determine the value of your vehicle. Unless you do that research, you have no idea if the insurance company’s offer is fair or terrible. If you are not satisfied with the offer, explain to the adjuster why, show receipts for recent repairs, new tires, etc. the company may come back with a second offer. Your insurance company may allow you to hire an adjuster for a second opinion. however, that cost will come out of your wallet.
If there is an auto loan when it is totaled, you are responsible for paying back that loan. the insurance company will write a check payable to you and your lender; both must sign it. usually, the financial institution is paid first. the remaining settlement amount, if any, is awarded to the person who has insurance on that vehicle. however, if the loan exceeds the business payment, you are responsible for paying the remaining balance of the loan or complying with the requirements of the lease. Depending on the value of the vehicle, the size of the loan, and the terms, it could cost thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Taking care of the gap
However, there is a remedy to avoid this problem, a guaranteed car protection insurance, commonly called breach. Optional insurance covers the difference between the money received from the settlement and the amount due on the vehicle loan or to meet the terms of the lease. however, most leases include differential insurance.
For example, let’s say the vehicle is totaled and the insurance company offers a settlement of $13,000. however, you owe $17,000 on the loan. gap would provide $4,000 to cover the difference between the company’s settlement and the remaining balance of the loan. the gap can be purchased when the new or used vehicle is purchased from a dealer or can be added at a later period. Many insurance companies offer gap coverage.
save the situation
Is it wise to keep the wrecked car, take the fix and do your own repairs?
an insurance company sends a wrecked car to an auction where savages bid on the car; keeps the proceeds. however, if you want to keep the vehicle and have it repaired, assuming it is allowed in your state, the company will accept offers from salvage bidders to establish market value and deduct this amount from your settlement. A few words of warning: The title will be labeled “salvage vehicle” and after the vehicle is repaired it will be difficult, if not impossible, to get insurance or resell for a good price.
Finally, let’s say the vehicle was destroyed a month or two after you bought it new. Will the insurance company provide a new replacement? The good news is that, in most cases, there is likely to be a new vehicle in your driveway.
wrecked car? use the kbb buyers guides for information on possible replacements
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