How to Get the Most Money From Insurance for a Totaled Car

How to Get the Most Money From Insurance for a Totaled Car

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How to Get the Most Money From Insurance for a Totaled Car

Discovering that your car is totaled is a frustrating experience. You may have relied on that vehicle to get to work, do errands, and carry out responsibilities you have throughout the work week and the rest of your life. It is also a major challenge when you are unable to come to terms of an agreement with the insurance company about the payment for a totaled car.

In these circumstances, you may need a lawyer. An attorney can help you figure out the best way to determine how to get the most money from insurance for a totaled car. Just because your insurance company has told you something does not necessarily mean that this is the only thing that applies to your personal case. 

Getting the best settlement for your totaled car puts you in a better financial position because, since you are no longer able to use this vehicle, you may have to purchase something else relatively quickly. Time is of the essence—insurance companies know this and might be counting on you refusing to contest the settlement so that you can simply get a quick payout and move on. 

Before making hasty decisions, make sure that you consult with a qualified and experienced attorney about your totaled car, especially if you believe that your insurance company is taking advantage of you or blocking you from receiving benefits that you are entitled to under your policy. Many claimants will typically accept the first offer from the insurance company without reviewing its details and determining whether or not they can get a better offer. You may assume that your insurance company is after all giving you a fair payout because you are a paying customer and followed all the rules for supporting a claim. Most insured drivers don't know what to expect and therefore don't realize that they may be able to get more for their totaled car. Being armed with negotiation tactics or hiring an experienced insurance lawyer to help guide you through the process can dramatically increase your chances of success.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • What Are Totaled Car Causes?

    The most common reason for having a totaled car is surviving a serious accident. You may also be the family member of someone who was killed in a devastating accident and left behind a totaled car. It can be very difficult to deal with this situation no matter what, and it is not always easy to work with the insurance company even when you have given them all the details they have asked for. 

    When a car is totaled, this means it is inoperable or incapable of being driven. You may have a different definition than the insurance company, however, so it is important to recognize what the policy says about a totaled vehicle or a total loss. In addition to going after the insurance company for totaled vehicle compensation, you may also be able to open a civil claim against the party responsible for causing the accident in the first place. Make sure that you consult with attorneys like those working at Morgan & Morgan to get a better understanding of the civil aspect of a personal injury claim.

    If your car was recently totaled and you are dealing with a variety of different challenges, including missing time at work and the resulting lost wages, medical bills, and pain, make sure that you think about your personal injury claim holistically. You may be working with the insurance company related to the property damage in the totaled vehicle, but you may also have a personal injury claim against one or more liable parties for your accident. It is very difficult to keep track of all of these details, which is why you should always work with the legal team to help handle those aspects of your case.

  • How to Understand Vehicle Totals?

    According to certain policies with your insurance company, the carrier may need to purchase your totaled car from you at a reasonable price. You'll want to read through the details of your own personal policy to verify that. Insurance companies typically classify totaled cars in situations in which the cost of repairing the vehicle is far more than the vehicle is worth. 

    This makes it a bit more expensive for them to pay for repairs, and so classifying it as totaled means you may receive a payout in another way. Sticker details for your car should be shared with the insurance adjuster so that they have exact information about what the car was worth when you purchased it. 

    Not all car insurance companies will say that a total loss means the full value of the vehicle. For example, if the damage to the vehicle is at or above 51% of the pre-accident value of the car, they may decide to move forward with a total loss claim. Other insurance companies, however, use higher thresholds such as 80%. Bear in mind that this is at the insurance company's discretion. 

    If you believe that the damage to your vehicle is serious enough, you are also able to ask to have it totaled. A wrecked vehicle is one that is so disabled that it cannot operate without substantial reconstruction or repair. If you were to keep this or if your insurance company were to attempt to resell the car, it will be sold with a salvaged title and it may also have damage that a repair shop would need extensive work to fix. Because of the risks associated with the totaled car, such as the fact that it can cause accidents or auto failure, your insurance provider is typically looking for ways to avoid future claims. 

    Bear in mind that you may be taking on your own safety risks in trying to drive this vehicle with a salvaged title. If you don't have the sticker information from when you purchased the vehicle, contact the dealer you got the vehicle from and ask for a list of the features. They also should have good records about your purchase history, and this gives you a better position to argue for fair market value. Once the insurance company comes to you with a number, this evidence will also help you to respond with a counteroffer. You don't need to wait until you have the adjuster's offer, however, to start your research. 

    In fact, it is far better to know how to get the most money from insurance for a totaled car well in advance so that you can respond quickly and keep the process moving along. If you have a list of the vehicle's features or the sticker from the original price, you can visit and enter the information about your vehicle to get an estimated retail amount. If you and the insurance company do not agree on this estimated retail amount you can submit a counteroffer. You will also want to look at comparable vehicles in your area and ask for a written settlement offer from the car insurance company. Once you have this written settlement offer you can formally make a counteroffer for your totaled car. 

    If the insurance carrier totals a vehicle, they pay out the actual cash value minus any deductibles on your property. At that point in time, your vehicle is then sent to a salvage yard for auction by the highest bidder and is usually taken apart so that people can purchase the parts. Any money that was received for the salvage vehicle by the insurance company is kept by them. Getting a written settlement from the insurance company puts you in a good position to respond with your own evidence. If you believe that the insurance company has violated your legal rights, such as acting in bad faith and refusing to give you the information that you deserve, you may be eligible to open a separate claim known as a bad faith insurance claim. Knowing the ins and outs of your insurance policy will help you negotiate this more successfully so that you can avoid common missteps and mistakes. 

  • Working With a Lawyer for Your Insurance Claim

    Bear in mind that when engaging a lawyer, you will have to think about the pros and cons of getting additional money for your totaled car. Certainly, the money received from a totaled car may help you to use it to purchase a new or used vehicle. But you want to think about all of the time and energy you're putting into this process as well. 

    If you and the insurance company are relatively close on the amount that they have offered versus what you would want to receive for the total car, you may want to negotiate directly with the insurance company as this would put you in a better position overall. If you do believe, however, that your insurance company has violated your rights, or you're having ongoing problems, getting them to communicate with you, engaging a lawyer is one way to up the stakes and to increase the chances that they will respond to you and give you the information you need. If you're dealing with these complex issues, know that you don't have to handle them alone.

    To learn more about your claim, talk to our legal team for a free case evaluation about getting the most money from insurance for a totaled car. 

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