Some car accidents cause more damage than others. At first, you might think you can get your car damages repaired. But that can quickly change if your car is declared a total loss. According to total loss law, when your car is totaled, it means the cost of repairs and scrap value is equal to or higher than the cost of actual cash value (ACV) of your car.
If your car is newer, it’s less likely that it’ll be determined a total loss because the value is high, but if it’s an older car, the value might be so low that any damage makes it a total loss. But do you get a say on whether or not your car is a total loss?
Your Options After Your Car Is Totaled
If your insurance company declares your damaged car has passed the total loss threshold, it’s most likely a fair decision. According to Certified Collateral Corporation (CCC), cars of all ages are trending upward toward being declared a total loss after an accident. But if you want to keep your car, then you have some options. If you are quick enough, you can alert your insurance company that you want to keep the vehicle even though it is totaled, and they won’t distribute a check for a new car. They’ll distribute a check for the total loss minus the salvage value, and you can use that toward repairs.
If the insurance company has already distributed your check for a new car, you can choose to buy back your car. Mississippi code states that after you get your insurance payout, the insurance company will receive the title of the damaged car, so you can buy it back if you absolutely want to keep it. If your car has gone to auction and you still want to buy it back, you might need a license to attend the auction sale.
You want to make sure that your car is completely repaired because otherwise you won’t be able to get insurance for a car that can’t pass inspection. The problem is that once your car is declared a total loss, there is a salvage certificate issued on your car’s file, so it will be hard to obtain insurance or ever sell the vehicle.
How the Claims Process Works After a Total Loss
After a car wreck, you’ll need to assess the damage of your car. If you’ve never made an accident claim before, you don’t know the process of it all. According to Geico, there is a specific timeline that you’ll need to stick to, which is:
- Report the accident to the police and your insurance company.
- Within one business day of your accident, schedule an inspection with a Damage Adjuster.
- The Damage Adjuster will determine whether or not your car is a total loss based on the total loss formula and will calculate a settlement amount that you can accept or reject.
- Next you’ll find your vehicle title to prove that you own it. If the vehicle is financed or leased, you’ll need to figure out if the settlement amount is greater than or less than what you owe. You’ll also need to start searching for a new car.
- Then you’ll collect your things from your car and give permission to the insurance company to take your vehicle.
- Finally, you’ll sign all your paperwork and your settlement check will be distributed to you so you can get your new vehicle.
In the end, your best bet is to get a new car after a wreck that totaled your car. That way, you don’t have to worry about covering repair costs on your own. You will have the help from your insurance payout to get a car that will definitely run and pass inspection. The amount of your insurance claim check will be comparable to the actual value of your car before the accident, so you can get a car similar to what you had before.
If you’ve been in a car accident and aren’t sure what comes next, you could use legal help. Our car accident lawyer in Jackson can give you the support you need through this complicated and confusing time. We can help you sort out your insurance claim, and any other claims you might have regarding the wreck. Contact us so that we can discuss your legal options today.