According to studies, for every seven car accidents that take place, at least one of them leaves someone with a totaled vehicle. Concern about the safety of your vehicle, as well as its condition, is very understandable. Even in situations where the vehicle has experienced extensive damages, there are steps that can be taken, which will allow you to determine whether it is completely totaled or can still be salvaged with repair.
By following these helpful steps, you can quickly determine whether your vehicle can get back on the road, while still keeping your costs under control.
Collect All Pertinent Paperwork
In the days and weeks following an accident, there is a wide range of paperwork that must be collected. The first piece of paperwork you will need to locate is the title to your vehicle. If and when the car is written off as a complete loss, this title must be signed over to your insurance provider.
Having a copy of the vehicle's insurance policy is also crucial. Knowing your current coverage policies is helpful, so keep all of this information in one file. This makes for a faster response and prevents needless delays.
File Claims In A Prompt Manner
Filing your insurance claim as soon as possible allows you to begin the process of getting back on the road expeditiously. You are able to learn what to expect as far as a resolution once the claim has been filed. Your first calls should be placed to your insurance provider and the car insurance company.
At this time, you are asked to share all details of the accident, as well as the contact information and names of all other parties involved. Police and witness information is also shared. The insurance company takes these details into account, arranges an initial inspection, and collaborates with a body shop to receive an estimate of damages.
Visit A Body Shop
Have the vehicle towed to a trusted body shop. Your insurance agent or provider may have preferred vendors, so ask for their advice. As soon as your vehicle arrives at the body shop, they can provide with you a honest assessment.
From there, a quote is prepared for the anticipated repair costs. Once the insurance company is armed with the appropriate information, they will decide whether they are going to foot the bill for the repairs or mark it off as a complete loss.
How an Insurance Company Determines Damages
Depending on which state you live and which insurance provider you have, there will be different definitions as to what constitutes a totaled car. One common method is subtract the cost of the repairs from the total worth of the vehicle. Once the cost of the repairs begins to approach the vehicle's overall value, it will typically be considered totaled from that point forward.
The older the car, the more likely it is to be considered totaled. Every scenario will be different, so be sure to speak with an auto body specialist, as well as your insurance provider.
The Payout Process
If the car is determined to be totaled, the insurance company provides you with a check for the vehicle's value. If the vehicle is being financed, the loan's value is paid to the bank, with any resulting difference being paid to you. If you have made major improvements and have the receipts to prove it, this can increase your payment amount.
While a serious car accident can be overwhelming, the prospect of losing your ability to get to work each day and support your family is even more terrifying. Be sure to contact an auto body specialist and your insurance provider to determine the damages and develop a greater understanding of the process.