Depending on how bad your vehicle damages are, your auto insurance can deem your car a total loss. This means that your insurance company got an estimate of what it would cost to fix your vehicle, and determined that it would cost more to fix it than what it’s worth. All insurance companies have their own methods to obtain the value of your car, and that is always in consideration when you get in an accident. Whether you are okay with that happening or not, you want to know what options you have, and what to expect from this. Most insurance companies total your car if your damagers exceed just 80% of the value.
Although your insurance company has their own way of finding out your ACV, you also want to do your own research. The ACV (actual cash value) of your vehicle is the amount your car is worth today. You will want to investigate what your car is worth for several reasons. If you agree with your insurance company to total your car, you want to make sure you are getting the most money out of it. You can do your research on Google, and simply investigate what it is worth. Kelly Bluebook is a popular website you can use. When looking into your car, you want to be as specific as possible. The more details you provide, the more accurate your pricing will be. Look into multiple websites to get multiple quotes for the ACV of your vehicle. If the amount offered by your car insurance is less than what you discovered, you can show them your research.
If you choose to keep your vehicle even after it is deemed a total loss, you can keep it. You will be electing to retain salvage, and you get to keep your car. You still get the ACV of your car, but they will be subtracting your deductible and the salvage price of your vehicle. The salvage price is an estimate of what your car would have sold for in its current salvage state. This can help you determine if you want to keep it or let the insurance have it. One important thing to note is if your car still has a loan from a financer, you will want to contact them. Your decision will be based on what they say. Make sure to also present your insurance company with any other details about your vehicle that could be considered custom or improvement as that will potentially increase the chance you get a higher amount.
Also, you want to make sure you get a quote for what it would cost to fix your car. You might not agree with your insurance company, so this will be something you will want to do. You can go to multiple body shops, and they can give you several estimates that will range from high to low in price. This gives you a professional opinion of others so you can potentially contest that your car is not a total loss, and want it repaired instead.
You might want to investigate what your car is selling for online or at car dealerships, but obviously, these prices are inflated. Another thing worth mentioning is that you always want to save any documents showing any improvements you made to your car. This means material original to the build of the car: new engine, new tires, etc. This way you can prove your car is worth more. A lot of car insurance companies do not cover or have limited coverage for custom parts, make sure you are protected for anything custom to your car if you have it.