The time after an auto accident is a stressful one, especially when dealing with vehicle losses and insurance regulations. It’s vital to have realistic expectations and know which questions to ask as you’re dealing with lawyers and insurance agents. Check out the list below for steps to take after a car crash in which your vehicle is totaled.
When is a Car Considered Totaled?
Certain criteria determine when a damaged vehicle is considered “totaled” to receive a full payout from the insurer. An insurance company may consider a car totaled if:
- There’s no safe or effective way to repair the damage to the automobile
- The cost of the repairs would exceed the car’s value
- State law requires the insurer to total it because of the severity of the damage
Many states use a total loss formula. Here, the repair cost and the car’s scrap value must be equal to or greater than the value before the collision.
How Claims Adjusters Determine a Vehicle’s Value
The insurance adjuster will note the vehicle’s exterior condition, mileage, and interior condition, as well as any custom equipment added by the owner. Based on the vehicle’s pre-accident status, the adjuster will find similar cars for sale in the area and estimate the loss considering those figures. Ask the adjuster for details on these sales, and find out how to possibly recoup registration fees, title costs, and sales tax on the replacement car or truck.
Can an Owner Keep a Wrecked Car and Repair It?
Usually, damaged cars are sold to salvage yards, and the insurer keeps the proceeds. If an owner wants to keep their vehicle and state law allows it, the insurer seeks bids from salvage buyers to determine market value. That amount gets deducted from the settlement. In most instances, owners receive salvage titles, which means they can’t obtain a registration until repairs are complete and they’ve applied for a title. It’s not always possible to buy comprehensive and collision coverage on salvage title cars, as they’re hard to evaluate.
The Importance of Car Insurance
An auto accident teaches a driver much about the value of good insurance. If the company didn’t come through, it might be time for a change. In cases where rates go up because of an at-fault accident, it’s important to compare quotes from multiple companies to get the best possible deal.
Seeking a Louisiana Car Wreck Attorney
Consider getting legal help to recoup your losses after an accident. Dealing with the paperwork and adjusters is stressful, especially if you’ve sustained injuries. Louisiana car accident attorneys with E. Orum Young have decades of experience fighting for personal injury victims and helping them receive fair settlements. Call (318) 450-6453 for a free initial consultation.