What To Do When My Car Gets Totaled in an Accident?
It is sad to say this, but some people joke about wanting their vehicle to be so damaged that the insurance company has to pay for a new one.
While the joke lands, it rarely ever actually works this way.
Some people have a genuine sentimental attachment to the cars they drive. Once the vehicle is totaled, that is it.
There is more riding on the open road.
It is also worth mentioning that if a vehicle is so damaged that it is “totaled,” then it is likely that there are physical injuries to the driver, like neck pain after a car accident, to match.
A vehicle with significant damage caused by a negligent driver means that you are now dealing with haggling with your insurer for a fair assessment value.
Instead of navigating through the tricks they use to lower the value of your vehicle or accident injuries, you should speak with a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer to help you through the process.
In this post, FLL Accident Lawyers helps you understand how Florida defines when a vehicle is totaled, what to expect after receiving an offer, and what to do after a car accident.
How Florida Laws Define When a Car Is “Totaled”
Car insurance companies determine that a car is totaled when the repair costs exceed 80% of your vehicle’s cash value.
Here’s an excellent example of how this definition works.
Let’s say that you drive a 2016 Subaru WRX, for general commuting and drifting purposes, valued at $25,000.
If your repairs exceed $20,0o0, then your insurance company will offer collision coverage or comprehensive coverage benefits that equal the value of your vehicle before the accident.
It makes sense, right?
Insurers do not want to pay more money than fair value while still meeting the terms and conditions of their policy agreements.
What Happens After Your Car Is Totaled?
It gets a little dicey with a car totaled cash value when dealing with insurance adjusters.
You see, insurance adjusters exist to approve and deny claims while reducing losses for the company. If that seems a little biased, you might be on to something.
If they determine your car is totaled, then it becomes a matter of debate when it comes to them figuring out what your vehicle is worth.
The factors that your insurer considers when it comes to your car accident valuation include:
- Cosmetic condition
- Prior accidents and damage
- Make and model
There are a number of areas for debate when it comes to the value of your vehicle. Fortunately, you do not have to accept a subpar offer from your insurance company.
Speaking with a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney will help you figure out a legal strategy toward receiving the amount of money you deserve and need.
3 Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Lower the Value of Your Vehicle
Insurance companies and representatives are a talented bunch.
Some of the tactics our firm has seen them use to reduce benefits payouts to clients are unbelievable at times.
One such tactic is to mitigate their losses for your totaled vehicle and maybe even downplay your car accident injuries, like back pain after a car accident.
However, within the context of your totaled vehicle, they will use the standard techniques below to get away with giving you less than your worth:
- Local market value: Sometimes, an insurance adjuster will say that the so-called “local economy” does not pay as much compared to other cities and states. Many customers do not know how to argue that unless they are economists themselves.
- Improperly valued condition ratings: Of course, the adjuster will refer to the Kelley Blue Book to value your car. But who determines what condition your vehicle is in? That is a matter up for debate.
- Incorrect model: Inputting the wrong model almost seems too obvious, but you would be surprised at how often that happens! Make sure that you get the valuation in writing that reflects the model being evaluated.
These tricks are things that work on many well-meaning, hardworking policyholders, like yourself.
Remember, you don’t have to agree to anything until you have talked over their offer by looking for a “personal injury lawyer near me” via search, especially one that offers a free consultation.
An attorney will cut through the smoke-and-mirrors and give you the straight-up truth when it comes to his or her legal opinion on the matter.
It is what they are there for: someone looking out for your interests.
How Much Time Does It Take to Get a Car Totaled Insurance Check?
When you do not have a vehicle, it negatively affects every aspect of your life. From kids to jobs to school, America is a place that runs on personal transportation.
Plus, you are likely dealing with car accident injuries, like pain after a car accident. Medical bills are starting to pile up.
It is for these reasons that you are likely wondering, “Hey! When are my car insurance benefits being paid?”
If you feel like you are the only one worried about this aspect, you are not alone.
The bottom line is that it depends on the policy terms.
Your company might cut you a check on the spot. Or they can take several weeks or months to make a payout.
You may be responsible for disposing of the vehicle. Other companies will take ownership of the car and sell it off for scraps and parts.
All of these factors play a role in the amount of time it takes to receive your benefits.
Make sure that you always follow up promptly, too. If there were any delays for any reason on your end, the insurance adjuster would undoubtedly raise that issue if the claims process progresses.
What Happens to a Car Totaled that Is Leased or Financed?
The complexities of receiving benefits increases if the car totaled was leased or financed. The thing is, you do not hold the title to the vehicle under these circumstances.
Therefore, when a leased or financed vehicle is totaled, compensation that you receive for the accident goes straight to the company that technically owns on it.
You might receive some money from the payout, but that broadly depends upon how much you still owe on it.
GAP Insurance Is for Leased Vehicles
Gap insurance is a type of built-in coverage when you lease a car. In most cases, you are already paying for this benefit.
If you have it, you are protected from liability when you owe more on the car than its value. If you don’t, then the company that owns the vehicle may go after you and hold you responsible for paying the difference.
Under these circumstances, you will then have to pursue compensation for your car from your insurance company.
And just an FYI for the future, GAP coverage is an excellent solution for anyone who generally finances a leased vehicle.
Need Help After Totaling Your Car and Suffering Accident Injuries?
You have 2 options when it comes to your car being totaled:
- Accept your insurance company’s offer
- Negotiate a settlement
There is not much that anyone can say when the decision is made that your vehicle is no mas. It is a matter of financial interest, but more importantly, it concerns public safety.
That means you have no choice but to deal with the process.
Tips for Handling the Insurance Company
Not to sound redundant, but we cannot stress enough that insurance companies are not on your side when it comes to paying benefits.
They will tell you they are and sound like they mean it.
But when it comes to standing up for customers or receiving a paycheck, who do you think the insurance adjuster is going to choose?
Have a Conversation with a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer Near You
So, instead of going to bat for yourself and wondering if you could have gotten more, cut straight to the chase and get in touch with a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer.
He or she will support you in figuring out what fair value means and what you can do to get it.
Plus, you will also have someone in your corner who will act as a communications buffer between you and them.
No more fielding calls about things that stress you out.
A personal injury attorney serving Broward County also understand the local climate in terms of court procedures and the market value of vehicles.
It is pretty tough for unsavory insurance companies to contend with the fierce tenacity of the best personal injury lawyer near you.
Reach Out to FLL Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review
If you are ready to talk about receiving a fair offer for your insurance claim, FLL Accident Lawyers wants to help you understand your legal options.