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What Happens When My Car is Totaled in an Accident?

Car owners have many concerns when they discover their car to be a total wreck following an accident. These can range from whether the vehicle could still be saved, especially if it’s a collector’s item, down to will the insurance company payout an amount enough to cover replacement expenses and the like.

A good habit to form is to check on insurance policies even before trouble occurs. Generally, a car owner knows what kind of coverage he or she has but there is still technical jargon that most of us don’t bother to know about. These terms are crucial because they will affect the extent of coverage after an accident. Always read the fine print and assert yourself. Remember that you have the right to know and understand whether the policy will be helpful during replacement or repair. Let your insurance agent explain these terms thoroughly.

If the insurance company has a provision for car rental as part of your coverage, take the best deal you can get. Most certainly, the rental won’t be as sophisticated as your own vehicle but it will allow you to continue your routine, more importantly, get the necessary paperwork done. Some insurance carriers even have some sort of coverage for collision damage on rental cars. Inquire with your agent regarding this, policies often vary per company.

All states have, in one way or another, regulations that protect car owners from being cheated once a claim has been filed. Some states choose to be more involved in this process. A good way to check is by logging on to your state’s web site, particularly, the insurance department for more information. This is helpful in ensuring that citizens get fair settlements for their respective insurance claims. Expect a lot of answering and filling out of information but it will be worth the effort.

Determine the actual car value of your vehicle prior to the accident. Your car insurance carrier will have claim adjusters who will use different methods in finding out the worth of the vehicle. These will include online pricing references, dealer surveys, books on value guides and actual sales figures. Other factors that will be included in the computation are registration, taxes incurred from the sale of the vehicle, and the cost of replacement. These determinants aren’t absolute as different figures from different states and companies are given. However, don’t just accept what is handed to you. In consumer sites, do a bit of researcher and calculate your car’s actual value independently. This is because the higher the actual value of the car, the higher the insurance claim would be when the company decides that the vehicle is totaled. Market value appraisers are readily available on-line. These are tools that you should use to your advantage.

Lastly, be present when the insurance representatives conduct the visual evaluation. Be keen to point out some damages that might be overlooked so that a fair settlement can take place. In most cases, the more visual damage is present the more likely it will be determined a “total loss”.