What Happens If Your Car Gets Totaled – If you have been injured in a car accident, you should schedule a free consultation with a Washington car accident attorney today. We know how difficult it is to face such situations. That’s why our experienced legal team at Max Meyers Law wants to guide you – because we’ve helped guide many of our clients throughout Bothell, Kirkland and surrounding areas.
You can call us at 425-230-5732 or you can contact us online to schedule a free consultation by filling out the form below or chatting with a member of our team.
What Happens If Your Car Gets Totaled
“Total” means a total loss. A car is considered totaled if the damage caused by an accident is irreversible, or costs more to fix than the vehicle is worth. Find out more about who determines if a car is totaled below, from the Kirkland car accident attorneys at Max Meyers Law.
How To Know If Your Car Is Totaled And What To Do Next
An insurer will assess the car’s pre-accident value against the cost of repairs. Washington is a fault state, which means that whoever caused an accident is responsible for covering the resulting damages. If you are at fault in an accident, your insurance company will assess and compensate you according to the coverage of your insurance policy. (Note: Your insurer will only cover your damages if you have collision coverage.) If the other driver was at fault in the accident, you will deal with his or her insurer.
The insurer will send an appraiser to determine both the vehicle’s pre-accident fair market value and the cost of repairs. According to WAC § 284-30-391, once the appraiser determines a value for the vehicle, the insurer will either replace your vehicle or provide you with a cash payment based on the value of a comparable vehicle in the same area.
State law [WAC § 390-05-235] defines “fair market value” as the amount a well-informed owner would reasonably pay to sell a vehicle to a well-informed buyer without any obligation to buy it. The insurer will largely base this on sales data for comparable cars in your area, such as similar make, model year, body type, condition and mileage.
Washington state law requires insurers to calculate fair market value using at least one of the following methods:
How To Settle A Car Accident Claim Without A Lawyer
Car owners can then request a “Total Loss Assessment Report” from the insurer, which contains the data used to calculate fair market value. Washington state law requires insurers to use a “total loss formula,” where the cost of repairs plus its potential scrap value must equal the pre-accident value of the vehicle for it to be a total loss. be.
If you agree with the car’s assessed value, the insurer will offer to replace your car with something close to its value or pay you a cash settlement, according to the rules outlined in WAC 284-30-391. The settlement offer includes the following:
If it’s your own insurer, you can hire an outside appraiser if your collision policy allows. If the other driver was at fault and you believe his or her insurer misvalued your car, you can file a claim with your own insurance company, which will pay your settlement. Then, if it so chooses, your insurer will seek compensation from the innocent driver’s insurance company.
Yes. If you keep your entire car, the insurer will deduct the settlement value from the settlement. You or your insurer must then notify and report the totaled vehicle to the Washington State Department of Licensing. (Failure to do so within 15 days is an offence.)
How Much Will My Car Insurance Go Up After An Accident?
Dealing with the insurance company can be a hassle. Contact a car accident attorney at Max Meyers Law, PLLC in Kirkland today: 425-399-7000 for help navigating the claims process or understanding your insurance settlement offer.
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney in Seattle, King County and surrounding areas of WA. On December 31, 2023, TransUnion and Equifax are offering free weekly credit reports to all U.S. consumers through AnnualCreditReport.com to help you protect your financial health. During the sudden and unprecedented problems caused by COVID-19.
A car accident can be emotionally and financially devastating. But when your car is destroyed by a wreck, the impact can be even more devastating. If your car is totaled, meaning your insurer has declared it a total loss, the vehicle needs repairs that are usually beyond repair or more than the value of the vehicle.
Buckle up in the driver’s seat as we explain what it means when your car is totaled, whether your insurer will cover a totaled car and more.
What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled?
A standard auto insurance policy usually won’t pay to fix your car if it’s totaled. When your car is totaled, the insurance company has determined that it cannot repair or restore the car for more than the car is worth. So, if repairs cost $15,000, but the vehicle is worth $13,000, the insurer may declare it a total loss. In some states, an insurer may be required to total your car if the repair costs exceed a certain percentage of the car’s value.
Once a car is totaled, your insurer may owe you the actual cash value of your car, depending on what your car insurance policy says. Your insurer will find the true cash value of your whole car by taking into account the following information about the vehicle:
Actual cash value is the selling price that the car would reasonably have fetched on the open market before it was wrecked. This is different from another term you may have heard in auto insurance: replacement cost value. Replacement cost is the cost of buying a brand new car compared to a totaled one. Not all car insurance policies offer replacement cost as an option.
Keep in mind that your car insurance premium will go up if you go with replacement cost value coverage instead of actual cash value coverage.
What Should I Do If My Car Was Totaled In An Accident?
If an insurer picks up your car, it is usually covered in two parts of your insurance policy: comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. When you have a car loan or lease, those two types of coverage are usually required. However, these are not legal requirements for a car you have paid for – the decision to carry comprehensive or collision cover is up to you. Without coverage beyond liability insurance, which is required in almost every state, you may have to pay out of pocket to replace your entire car (especially if you were at fault in the wreck).
Comprehensive insurance covers damage or perils unrelated to collision. Meanwhile, collision insurance applies when your car is damaged in a collision with another car, object or property.
In some cases, the insurer will not cover a claim when your car is a total loss. Here are five reasons why your claim may be refused:
Note that each insurance company uses different criteria to declare a car a total loss. However, a car covered by one insurer is covered by another.
What Happens After Your Car Gets Totaled
Even if you can’t drive the car, insurance experts recommend continuing to make loan or lease payments until the insurance company sends the claim payment to your lender.
What if you still owe money on the car after the lender is paid? If you do not have the so-called gap insurance, you will be responsible for making up any difference between the claim payment and the loan or rental balance. So, let’s say the insurance company paid $25,000 of the car’s actual cash value, but you owe $27,500 on the loan that financed the vehicle. In that case, you are responsible for the remaining $2,500.
To stick with that example, the gap insurance you buy on top of your standard coverage can fill the gap between the $25,000 claim payment and the $27,500 loan or lease balance. That means you don’t have to come up with the $2,500 difference yourself. However, remember that gap insurance only kicks in when you already have comprehensive and collision coverage. According to AAA, gap insurance typically costs about 5% of your annual car insurance premium.
Car accidents, even those that result in a totaled on a financed car, do not directly affect your credit score. Credit scores are based on information from your credit report and do not include things like your driving record or previous insurance claims.
Insurance 101: When Is A Car Considered Totaled? What Does It Mean?
To make sure your loan stays intact, work closely with your insurer and your lender to make sure the loan covering the vehicle is properly paid off and closed. Because your insurer paid back the lender or you paid what was left after their contribution, your financial obligation to make your car payments does not go away until the loan balance reaches $0.
While an accident won’t hurt your credit score, even if your car is totaled after an accident, it can affect your car insurance premium. You may be able to avoid this if you qualify for Accident Forgiveness coverage, but that benefit is not available in every state or with every insurer. This includes insurance companies that offer it
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