When your vehicle is damaged beyond repair after a collision or traffic accident, the insurance company will label it a total loss. Additionally, your vehicle can be deemed totaled by your insurance carrier if the cost to repair it exceeds its current market value. If you have recently wrecked your vehicle, continue reading for a brief explanation on how the total loss process works for a wrecked car, plus how you can earn cash for a totaled car if it was not insured at the time of the wreck.
What is a Total Loss Vehicle?
A total loss vehicle is any car, SUV, truck, van, or motorized automobile that is so far damaged that the cost to repair it is higher than what the vehicle is valued at by the current market. So, let’s say that your wrecked car has a current scrap value of $2,400. If the cost to repair your wrecked car back to its original condition prior to the accident or collision is higher than $2,400, your insurance company will categorize it as a total loss. At this point, a few things will happen.
The Process of Filing a Total Loss Claim
The process of filing a total loss claim for wrecked car will vary depending on whether you own the vehicle or if you’re leasing or financing it. If you own your car, you can expect the total loss claim process to commence as follows:
File the Claim
First, you will report the claim to your insurance company the same day as your accident, or early the next morning. Simply give them a call (you can find the number on the back of your insurance car, within your insurance documents, or on an online directory) and tell the representative what you are trying to accomplish. They will place on the path in the direction you need to go.
Complete an Insurance Adjuster Inspection
This can depend on your particular insurance carrier, but in most cases of car accidents, the next step in the total loss claim process is to schedule an insurance adjuster inspection. This generally takes place within one or two days of the accident. Your insurance company does this to ensure that the automotive repair shop that does the damage estimate provides an accurate assessment and for the claim-related damages. This step prevents insurance fraud and deductible errors.
Rent a Car
Your insurance company may offer free rental car benefits under your policy if you file a claim for a totaled vehicle. Check with them to see if you are eligible for such benefits or if similar amenities are available to you.
Finalize the Claim Settlement
A few days after the insurance adjuster evaluates the damage to your vehicle and investigates the claim, you will be offered a settlement. In this step, you will review and finalize your total loss car insurance settlement by accepting the offer.
Locate the Car Title
After you accept and finalize the car insurance claim settlement, you will likely need to locate the car title so that you can give it to the insurance company.
Prepare Your Car for Pickup
Before you can get paid, you will need to release your wrecked car to the insurance company. Just be sure to take out all of your personal belongings and remove the license plate. When the tow truck arrives to collect your vehicle, you will need to sign some paperwork and sign over the car title.
Take Your Payment
One or two days after you release your wrecked vehicle to the insurance company, you should receive some final paperwork along with your insurance payment. This step might be done electronically, in person, or through mail. Now you can go buy another car!
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