What happens when your car is totaled but still drivable? -car totaled but still drivable
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were approximately 6 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States in 2019, resulting in around 36,096 deaths and 4.4 million injuries.
A significant number of these accidents likely resulted in total losses for the involved vehicles. According to other reliable sources, it is estimated that at least 36% of car accident claims settlements in the USA are as a result of totaled cars.
Hey, welcome to our blog post on what happens when your car is totaled but still drivable. If you’ve found yourself in this predicament, you may be feeling frustrated and unsure of what to do next.
It’s a common question and one that we aim to answer in this article. We’ll explore the factors that determine whether a car is considered a total loss, as well as what options you have if your car is still drivable after being deemed a total loss.
When a car is considered a total loss but still drivable, it means the damages are severe but the car is still functioning. The insurance company will typically declare the car a total loss and provide compensation to the policyholder for its value.
Whether you’re looking to repair your car or move on to a new one, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive in.
Totaled car meaning
A “totaled” car is a vehicle that has been damaged to the point where the cost to repair it is more than the value of the car. This is often referred to as the car being declared a “total loss.”
In this case, the insurance company may declare your car a total loss and pay you the current market value of the car, minus any deductible that you are responsible for. You can then use the insurance payout to purchase a new vehicle or pay off the remaining lease or loan payments you owed on the totaled car.
Signs your car is totaled
Though more than 36% of car accidents end up with totaled car claims, not every car that is involved in the accident ends up being totaled. It’s important to note that whether or not a car is considered a total loss can vary depending on the insurance company and the specific circumstances of the damage.
In my own opinion, there are a few signs that your car may be totaled, and these include:
1. The damage is extensive and covers a large portion of the vehicle. For instance, damage to the car frame will most likely end up totaling your car.
2. The cost to repair the damage is significantly more than the value of your car. For example, your car will most likely be totaled if the required repair costs is $4,000 yet its actual cash value or current market price is $3,500.
3. The car is not safe to drive and cannot be repaired to a roadworthy condition. You will agree with me that your car may never be the same after damaging the frame in the accident.
3. The car is not worth repairing due to its age or condition. For instance, if you are driving a ‘hunk of junk’ that has clocked millions of mileage, then definitely the next collision could result in having a totaled car.
What to do with a totaled car with no collision?
Different car insurance coverage covers different events. Some policies do not cover you the policyholder, while others help you to compensate the person who suffered losses due to your negligence.
Related article: What does collision car insurance cover? (ultimate guide)
For example, collision coverage and comprehensive car insurance cover the policyholder whereas liability car insurance helps you to compensate the party or person who incurred losses and damages due to the accident you are at fault of.
If your car is totaled and you do not have collision coverage on your insurance policy, you will be responsible for paying for the repairs out of pocket or selling the car as is.
If the cost of repairs is significantly more than the value of your car, it may not be worth repairing the car. In this case, you may choose to sell the car wreck or use it for parts. Alternatively, you could also try to negotiate with the insurance company to see if they will cover some or all of the repairs, although this is typically not done for cars without collision coverage.
What to do when your car is totaled and you still owe money?
Getting your car totaled does not depend on whether you are driving your own car or leased car or any car that you are currently financing. To explain what happens when your car is totaled when you still owe money on it, below is a good example.
Sophia is a 45-year-old living in New York and she recently had her Toyota Tacoma truck totaled due to a car accident she had along 2nd Avenue and East 59th Street in Manhattan.
Sophia told me she took up $30,000 in a car loan and had paid at least $24,000 meaning she still owed $6,000 on her Toyota Tacoma. Her insurance company assessed and found out that the current market value of Sophia’s car was around $27,500. A figure that was less than the actual loan of $30,000.
Her insurance company paid Sophia’s bank the car’s actual cash value of $27,500 and the gap insurance coverage Sophia had bought covered the remaining $2,500.
If Sophia was not smart enough and bought GAP car insurance coverage, she would be required to pay the difference between her car’s actual cash value and the amount she owed on the car from her own pockets. In this case, Sophia could be forced to pay $2,500 from her own pockets.
How much does it cost to repair a totaled car?
The cost to repair your totaled car can vary significantly depending on the extent of the damage and the value of the car. In general, the cost to repair a car increases as the value of the car decreases.
For example, it may be more cost-effective for you to repair a high-value car that has been lightly damaged than a low-value car that has been heavily damaged.
If the cost to repair your wrecked car is significantly more than the value of the car, the insurance company may declare the car a total loss and pay you the current market value of the car, minus any deductible that you chose.
Can I keep my totaled car?
Using the example of Sophia above, assume she owned the car. In normal circumstances, the insurance company should have paid Sophia the value of her car’s current market value i.e $27,500. As soon as the insurance paid Sophia, the damaged car becomes the property of the insurance company.
The insurance company chooses what to do with the damaged car. The car could be sold as spare parts or sell it to a salvage yard or to a company that specializes in repairing and reselling totaled cars.
If you need to retain your totaled car, you will need to negotiate with your insurance company. You will need to buy your totaled car from the insurance company. The insurance company will probably deduct the value of the wreck from the actual cash value paid to you.
Here is an example. Supposedly the insurance company paid $5,500 as your actual cash value and sets the price of the totaled car to $800. You could keep your totaled car but the insurance company will pay you $4,700 instead of $5,500.
Can you fix a totaled car?
Absolutely yes. Fortunately, there are collision repair shops that are willing to take on the extensive repairs needed for a totaled car. Some of these shops even specialize in repairing totaled vehicles. It is crucial that you speak with an auto body shop to obtain an estimate and get an idea of the repair options available.
If my car is declared a total loss can I still drive it?
This depends on the extent of damages, insurance policies, and the state you come from.
Although it is technically possible to obtain a salvage title and drive your car after it has been declared a total loss, the process of getting the necessary repairs and reinsurance can be challenging. Additionally, it is important to note that this is only an option if the car is able to be repaired at all.
In addition, your car will receive a salvage title and this has implications like being hard and expensive to secure insurance coverage, and most likely, your car will again be totaled even after a minor accident.
Insurance wants to total my car but I want to keep it.
If your insurance company has declared your car a total loss, it means that the cost to repair the vehicle is more than the value of the car. In this case, your insurance company will typically pay you the current market value of the car and take possession of the vehicle.
However, if you want to keep your car, you can try negotiating with your insurance company to see if they are willing to pay for the repairs instead of declaring the car a total loss.
Additionally, you may also be able to get a salvage title for the car and make the necessary repairs yourself, but this can be a complex and time-consuming process. It is important to consider whether the cost of repairing the car and obtaining a salvage title will be financially practical for you.
How to get the most money from insurance for totaled car?
Keep in mind that the insurance company’s primary goal is to pay out as little as possible, so it is important to be prepared and advocate for yourself to try and get the most money possible.
related article: How does full coverage car insurance work? – your full guide
If your car has been declared a total loss by your insurance company, there are a few steps you can take to try and get the most money possible from the insurance payout. These include:
1. Obtain multiple repair estimates: By getting estimates from several different repair shops, you may be able to show that the cost to repair the car is less than the insurance company’s estimate, which could increase the payout.
2. Gather evidence of the car’s value: Before the accident, gather documentation of the car’s value, such as recent sale listings or appraisals. This can help you negotiate a higher payout from the insurance company.
3. Negotiate with the insurance company: Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the insurance company to try and get a higher payout. Be sure to have all of your documentation and evidence ready to support your case.
4. Consult with an attorney: If you are unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company, you may want to consider consulting with an attorney who can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Can you legally drive a totaled car?
If you decided to keep your totaled car, I already told you that your car will receive a salvage title from the department of motor vehicles. You will drive your totaled car once it has passed inspection and has been declared safe to drive.
In order to obtain a salvage title, you will typically need to prove that the car has been repaired to a safe condition and pass a safety inspection.
Once you have obtained a salvage title, you can legally drive the car, but it is important to keep in mind that it may not be worth as much as it was before it was declared a total loss, and it may not have the same level of safety as a fully repaired car
Do I need to notify the DMV if my car is totaled?
Yes, many states require you to report to DMV if you intend to keep your totaled car. You can report on your own, or your insurance company could report on your behalf.
You should also report to DMV if your car is totaled and you intend to keep the car license plates. If you do not want to keep your totaled car license plates, be sure to return the plates to DMV and then inform your insurance company. You do not want to be charged insurance premiums for a car that you do not own anymore.
Do I need to notify the DMV if my car is totaled California? The DMV will issue you a Salvage Certificate to prove your ownership if you or your insurer decide that your car is not worth restoring. You must submit a total loss claim with your insurance company as soon as possible following a total loss in order to deal with the DMV.
Do I need to notify the DMV if my car is totaled in VA? The title or salvage certificate for the car must be included with the application. DMV applications must be submitted within 15 days following the claim payout.
Do I need to notify the DMV if my car is totaled in Ohio? If there are any outstanding payments, you will be accountable for making them. Do I have to show my certificate of title and notify the DMV if my automobile is a total loss? An automobile that has considerable damage but is still in use must be reported to your DMV for a salvage title in order to safeguard potential buyers.
What is the most important thing to do after your car is totaled? The 2 most important things you should do after your car is totaled is to contact and inform your insurance company. In some states, you will also be required to inform the DMV and probably hand in back your totaled car’s license plates.
My car is totaled and I only have liability insurance
If your car is totaled and you only have liability insurance, that’s a really bad situation because the consequences may not be good.
Liability insurance is a type of car insurance that covers the damages that you cause to others, including their property and any injuries that they may sustain. It does not cover damages to your own vehicle. If your car is considered a total loss, you will be responsible for paying for the damages to your car out of pocket.
You may be able to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company if the accident was their fault. If the other driver was uninsured or underinsured, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, if you have it.
It’s a good idea to speak with your insurance company to find out what options are available to you. They may be able to provide you with more information about your coverage and help you understand the claims process.
Is it better to have a car totaled or repaired?
I spoke to Alex from one of the top body shops and this is what he had to say. “If your insurance will pay for the repairs, you should let it proceed. If you have the resources to pay for repairs without it causing you any issues or troubles, you should also take it into consideration. You could feel compelled to repair your totaled car out of sentimental value”.
In my own opinion, it is generally usually more cost-effective to repair a car rather than have it declared a total loss, as Alex says. However, there are some situations where it may be better to have your car totaled.
A car is typically considered a total loss if the cost to repair the damages exceeds the value of the car. In this case, it would not make financial sense to repair the car because the repairs would cost more than the car is worth. In this situation, it would be better for the insurance company to have the car totaled and receive compensation from the insurance company for its market value.
There are also situations where the damages to your car are so severe that it is not safe or practical to repair the car. In this case, it would be better to have the car totaled and replace it with a new or used car.
Ultimately, as I said before, the decision to repair or total a car will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident and the extent of the damages. I recommend you speak with your insurance company and a trusted mechanic to help you make an informed decision.
Your insurance company or your mechanic can provide you with more information about the costs and feasibility of repairing the car and help you understand your options.
In conclusion, it can be a confusing and stressful situation to have a car that is considered a total loss, but still drivable. It’s important to understand your insurance coverage and what options are available to you in this situation.
Whether it’s worth it to repair the car or to have it declared a total loss will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident and the extent of the damages.