Cash Auto Salvage

What Happens to Your Car in a Car Accident Settlement

car accident settlement

You’ve been in a car accident that saw your car take damage and you’ve gotten the final say-so as to what happens to your car. The adjuster has been to see your car after the accident and has issued the verdict for the repair or disposal of your car and it’s not what you were expecting.

While your claim moved along, you decided to retain legal services because you felt the insurance company wasn’t playing fair with you on other details of your car accident settlement. You may very well be right in that the insurer was trying to get you to accept less money for your damages and for you to go away and bother it no longer.

Getting legal representation does put the insurer on notice that you’re going to negotiate your settlement, but the final disposition of your car may still wind up being out of your control.

What to Do When Your Car is Considered a Loss by the Insurer

You loved your car dearly. It got you where you needed to go and it ran well. But the adjuster for the insurance company isn’t going to see that when they evaluate your car.

The adjuster may be sympathetic, but she has a job to do and that’s making sure the insurance company pays out an amount it considers fair. If the amount needed to repair the damage to your car reaches a certain percent of its value, it’s going to get sent to the scrap yard no matter how hard you protest.

Now you’re without your car and the amount offered for its replacement is a bit insulting. It’s not enough to get you a car that was equivalent to the one you lost. However, the insurance company isn’t going to view it that way. It’s going to tell you that the amount offered is fair and in line with what you would get from a trade-in if you bought a new car.

What the insurer is ignoring is the fact that your car’s value was more than make, model, mileage, and condition. The car gave you a quality of life that you can’t achieve with the money they offer for a replacement. You can press the insurer for more money, but you may not get enough even if they increase the offer. You’re better off working with a lawyer who can negotiate for an amount that’s more in line with what you need to get back on the road.

Insurance Companies May Not Want to Play Fair With Your Settlement

Getting legal representation to help you get a better settlement for your car may feel like you’re going too far and dragging out the claim. You shouldn’t feel like you need to let the insurance company off the hook for not paying you a fair settlement.

Insurance companies are notorious for being cheap with settlements and will not hesitate to bring out their own legal department to make it harder for you to receive compensation that’s in line with the difficulties you’re dealing with. Why should you be without legal representation against a corporation who views you as a minor irritation? You’re better off finding a lawyer to advocate for you and negotiate on your behalf.

If you still owed money on your car, the insurance company probably won’t give you enough money for you to pay off the balance unless you have gap insurance. Gap insurance pays off the balance of your vehicle in an accident if it’s worth less than the amount of the loan.

And if you didn’t have gap insurance, you’re still required to pay off the remainder of the loan even though the car is totaled. It’s a bad position to be in because it hinders your ability to buy a replacement car. Legal representation increases your odds that you’ll be able to pay off the loan instead of being punished simply for not having enough insurance.

How Your Responsibility for Your Decisions Affects the Settlement Amount

The insurer is going to take a look at the details of the accident in order to determine who has the burden of fault. Said insurer will reduce the amount of the settlement offered to you because it was determined that you share in a percentage of the blame.

For example: you made a decision to pull out when you thought it was safe to do so, but got hit by a car that was obscured by a structure or a tree. The insurer will try to place blame on you for not doing a good enough job to make sure that the intersection was clear before pulling forward.

Or the insurer apportions 20 percent of the fault on you and 80 percent of the fault on the offending driver. This is going to lower the amount the insurance company offers you even though you feel you weren’t at fault for the accident.

While this is an example, you need to be aware of how an insurance company apportions blame in order to reduce the amount it pays out. Documentation from after the incident can help with reducing the amount of responsibility you’re given, but it’s a factor in the settlement regardless.

Should You Get the Car Fixed Instead of Letting the Insurance Company Total It?

It’s understandable that you’d want to get your car fixed as part of a settlement instead of it getting sent to the scrappers. But it probably won’t be worth it in the long run. To begin with, if an insurance company deems a car should be totaled, they have the law on their side.

All states have laws that require insurers to deem a car totaled and apply for a salvage title if the damage reaches a certain threshold.

The threshold, known as total loss formula, varies state by state. Some states have 100 percent while others are as low as 60 percent. A state that has 100 percent of total loss formula requires the insurer to determine the cost of repairs to exceed the value of the car.

States with lower percentages can make it seem like it takes very little damage to the car for the insurer to declare it totaled. When a car is deemed to be a complete loss, the insurer applies for a salvage title from the state’s licensing authority and sells the car to a scrap yard for disposal.

These laws exist to prevent fraud, remove unsafe vehicles from the road, and reduce the strain on insurance companies covering the replacement of the car.

Insurers can get a salvage title from the state even if there are outstanding payments owed on the car. It is better to let go of the car and give control of its destiny to the insurance company instead of trying to get it repaired. You also have to deal with the uncertainty of the repairs not restoring the car to its original operating condition in the event you can get the car back.

What you want out of a settlement is enough money to pay off an outstanding loan and have enough left over to put a down payment on a replacement vehicle. You can get back on the road in a car you know is safe and restore your quality of life.

Is Your Car Actually Totaled? Don’t Let them Give You the Runaround

So you’ve gotten in a car crash and your car has been labeled as a ‘write off…’ but is the car actually totaled?

Post-accident insurance claims can be a complicated and confusing process. It’s important that you are aware of standard procedures so you know what you are entitled to and make sure insurers don’t give you the runaround.

In this handy guide, we’re going to let you in on everything you need to know about what the next step is for a car that is considered totaled.

Let’s get straight to it.

What influences insurers deciding if a car is totaled?

A common misconception is that a car actually totaled is one that cannot be driven due to damage caused by the accident.

Well, this is not always the case.

The main factor that comes into play when deciding if a car is totaled in an insurers eyes is money.

Put simply, the car will be labeled as a total loss if the cost of repairs is higher than the value of the car.

This means that if your car isn’t worth a lot it may actually be labeled as a total loss even if it hasn’t sustained major damage.

For example: a car is only worth $500 and has a significant dent in the bodywork that would cost $700 dollars to replace then the insurance company will write off the car and define it as being a total loss. This is typically all that it takes for a car to be totaled.

Why do insurers ‘write off’ cars?

This isn’t some sly trick played by insurers, in most cases, it is actually the most beneficial option for everyone involved. Here’s why:

Saves money:

If a car that is worth $4000 needs $5000 worth of repairs then by declaring the car as a ‘total loss’ the insurance company will actually save $1000. Don’t forget they will also make some money back from selling the car to a scrapyard too.

You as the customer will of course also save money as the insurance company is picking up the tab for the wreck and paying you the amount your car was worth before the accident, meaning you can buy one similar.

Saves time:

Neither you nor the insurer has to wait for lengthy repairs to take place before settling the claim. This means that you can get your money faster and get back on the road with your own vehicle ASAP.

What factors determine the payout amount for a car actually totaled?

Insurance companies will pay you for the amount your car was worth before the accident. The following factors come into play when calculating that amount:


Different models are worth different amounts. The brand and type of car will be one of the biggest factors when determining how you will be paid.

The age of the car.

Cars depreciate in value over time. Simply by driving a new car out of the lot will depreciate the value by 11%, while within 5 years the loss can be as high as 46%.

In short, the older the car, the less you will get.


Similar to the age of the car, the higher the number is the less it will be worth.

If your dashboard is still intact, you can find out your mileage from just behind your steering wheel. If not, then you can find the number on previous servicing reports.

The condition of the car.

Insurance companies will do a thorough check to try and find out the condition of your car pre-accident.

They will look for anything from big issues to small negligence problems. All of these will come into play to determine how much you will receive.

Your involvement in the accident.

This can be the trickiest and lengthiest figure to decide upon, but the level of responsibility you had the accident will have a significant impact on how much you will be paid in the end.

For example, if you got ran into by another car while you were stationary then you can expect to receive the full amount.

However, if the lines are not as clear cut as that then should prepare yourself to be paid less depending on your level of involvement.

The insurance company and type of insurance.

Of course, the policy you have and the company you are insured with will also depend on how much you are paid.

Different companies have different procedures and payment calculations.Be sure to check your policy

How long does it take to get paid for a car actually totaled?

There really is no clear cut answer to this as each claim is so different as are the policies among insurance companies.

Once a settlement has been agreed upon it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the check to arrive. But to get to that point can take months, especially if other parties involved in the accident are challenging your statement.

Be cautious of accepting early deals as they may be undervalued, we suggest following the steps below.

What to do when you have a car actually totaled.

Check your insurance policy.

Now is a good time to sit down with your agent.

Despite what many people believe most agents will be very upfront and helpful when it comes to filing a claim as all parties involved want to reach a solution as quickly as possible.

Still, it is important that you are aware of what you are entitled to so that they don’t give you the runaround.

Go through the insurance policy yourself and check what the protocol is and what you should expect. Feel free to ask for clarity from your agent on anything you are unsure of.

Find out the value of your car pre-accident.

With a wide variety of tools available, it is relatively straightforward to find out how much you are entitled to receive.

We recommend getting an estimate from multiple sources so that you will have a rough idea of the average cost of your car.

This will ensure that you know how much you should be paid by the insurer, but don’t forget to take into account the other factors that influence the amount you receive.

Know your rights.

Auto insurance companies are regulated by the state so it’s worth your time checking in with your state’s department of insurance.

Most have a website where you can find out all the processes and steps for your specific state as well as what the insurer is responsible for and what your rights are.

This is also the avenue you should go down if you feel like you are being mistreated or taken advantage of by your insurance company.

What if I still owe on the car actually totaled?

The process is pretty straightforward. Be sure to check out our full post on what to do here.

What if I want to keep the car?

We understand that cars can often hold a tremendous amount of memories/sentimental value and you may want to keep the car after a wreck.

If you choose to go down this route then we suggest the following:

Beware of the risks.

The car may be recorded as being totaled.

After a car has been involved in a major accident it most likely will be registered on a database such as CarFax. This means that it is possible for potential buyers to see the history of your ‘totaled’ car which may be a determining factor in a sale.

Old parts can be hard to find.

One of the reasons old cars are labeled as a ‘total loss’ more frequently than new cars is because it can be more difficult to source the parts for an old vehicle.

Especially if a car is 15+ years old you may find it very hard to get the right parts to fix it up.

It can be a long and expensive process.

If you have a car actually totaled, bringing it back from the dead can be an extremely lengthy process. Often repairs cost more than we predict and take longer than we would like them too.

This may not be feasible if you don’t have the time nor money to wait to get back on the road.

Find out the value of your car post-accident.

Meaning, what is the cash value of your totaled car? If an accident has indeed left your car actually totaled, it’s quick and easy to find out how much it is worth by getting a free no obligation quote from a salvage center.

Once you have this number in mind, it will help you decide whether or not it is worth it and will help ensure that the insurance company is quoting the car actually totaled at an accurate rate.

Decide if it’s worth it.

Remember that you will have to pay the insurance company for the totaled car from your payout check.

You should take the time to weigh up all the pros and cons before making the decision to ensure that your car accident doesn’t lead to further disasters.

Car actually totaled?

We at Cash Auto Salvage are a one-stop destination when it comes to exchanging your vehicle for top dollar.

Not only do we offer free pick ups but we even offer you cash in hand that very same day.

If an accident has left your car actually totaled why not find a service area near you today?

What Will Insurance Pay for a Totaled Vehicle?

If you are serious about getting the most out of your totaled vehicle as far as working with the insurance agency you have signed up with is concerned, you’re going to need to pay close to all of the inside information provided below.

What Will Insurance Pay for a Totaled Vehicle?
If your car is totaled, find out what insurance will pay

Accidents happen each and every single day with absolutely no warning whatsoever, and it’s important that you understand exactly how much money your insurance company is going to pay you for a totaled vehicle – and what you can do to boost that amount as much as you can.

Hopefully, the information included below gives you the extra edge and advantage you need to get more money from your insurance company or make your totaled vehicle that much more valuable to you in the short and long term.

Let’s get started right now!

The first step is actually working with the insurance agency to verify that your vehicle is in fact totaled. There is a world of difference between feeling as though your vehicle has been totaled, and actually receiving a documentation from your insurance agency that it is a “total loss”. Often, the worst cosmetic damage can make a vehicle look like it is in much worse shape than it actually is, and sometimes a minor accident can cause catastrophic failure throughout the actual structure of the vehicle resulting in a car that doesn’t look that bad but is totaled across the board. You are looking for a total loss confirmation here before we move forward.

After you know it is totaled vehicle, figure out buyback option

If your vehicle has been determined a total loss, the insurance agency is going to provide you with the maximum dollar amount allowed through your coverage – but you may need to fight tooth and nail for every penny. For obvious reasons, insurance agencies aren’t all that keen to release thousands and thousands of dollars to their customers (no matter how different of a tune they saying when you were considering becoming a customer).

On top of that payment though, you’re going to want to consider “buying back” the total vehicle itself to see if you can squeeze extra profit out of it. Remember, you can negotiate favorable terms if you are willing to send a bit of cash back to the insurance company

Working with a service like Cash Auto Salvage (one of the largest networks of auto salvage yards throughout the United States), you can sell that total vehicle that you have purchased back from the insurance agency for a fraction of the cost you would have expected and explode your profit margin considerably. Not only will you receive some money from the insurance agency as part of your insurance claim, but you’ll also receive the profits that come from selling the vehicle to Cash Auto Salvage.


Wait! We REALLY Want Your Vehicle!

We pay $100 – $15,000 for cars, trucks, & SUV’s – no matter the condition. Get paid on the spot + free towing!

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There is no obligation to accept an offer.