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What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled?

If you have been in a car accident, your vehicle is likely to need repairs. In some cases, however, your vehicle may have been a total loss, or “totaled.” Totaled means that your car is beyond repair, or it would cost more to repair it than the overall worth of the vehicle.

California law specifically details when a car is to be considered totaled. Pursuant to state law, a vehicle is considered totaled if the cost of repairs plus the salvage value of the vehicle is equal to or greater than the actual cash value.

  • The salvage value is how much the car could be sold for under its current damaged condition.
  • The cost of repair is what it would take for the vehicle to be restored to working order.
  • The actual cash value is how much the car was worth prior to it being damaged in the accident.

When an accident has totaled your car, you are going to need a new one and, without any other transportation, you may be anxious to get the insurance proceeds from your damaged car so you can buy a new one as soon as possible. Unfortunately, working with insurance companies to get properly compensated for your totaled car can be frustrating. Disputes as to whether your vehicle has been totaled or how much your car was worth are common.

What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled in an Accident?

After an accident, you will need to take your vehicle to be checked out by a body shop. Technicians will check on the car’s condition and the insurer will use the evaluation in its total loss formula to determine whether repair costs plus the salvage value would be more than the actual cash value of the vehicle.

If totaled, California law mandates that the policyholder receive the actual cash value from the insurance company for a qualifying loss. The insurance company will also be required to pay the sales tax and title costs if and when the policyholder buys a new vehicle. You will have to transfer the vehicle title to the insurance company so that they can take possession of the vehicle. It is likely that the insurance will go on to sell any valuable parts for scrap.

What to Do if You Disagree with an Insurer About Your Car’s Value

Sometimes, you may disagree with an insurance company about the value of your car. If you are dealing with someone else’s insurance company and cannot reach an agreement as to your car’s value, you can file a claim with your own insurer if you carry collision coverage. Your insurer will then pay you for your vehicle loss and go on to pursue reimbursement from the insurance company of the at-fault driver who damaged your vehicle in the first place. If you and your insurer disagree on the value of your car, check your auto insurance policy to see if you have the right to hire your own appraiser.

After a Car Accident, Contact Our Team

We know all too well about the fight insurance companies can put up when they are asked to pay. Get help recovering the compensation you deserve for your totaled car. We can also assist in pursuing full and fair monetary recovery for any injuries you may have sustained in the accident as well.

At Omega Law, our team fights for the injured and those who have suffered losses in accidents caused by the negligent actions or inactions of someone else. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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