After a car wreck, the insurance company may deem your car a total loss. What happens next?
1) First, a car is considered a total loss when the cost to fix the car exceeds the value of the car. Many insurance companies consider it totaled if the cost to repair is 80% or more of the value of the car.
2) If you still owe money on the vehicle, then the lien holder gets paid first and the insurance company will then send you any remaining balance. If you are upside down on the value of the vehicle versus the loan debt, then you will be responsible for paying off the rest of the loan. Gap coverage will pay the difference between the loan amount and the amount offered by the insurance company if you have that coverage.
3) You are able to keep the car and fix it yourself, but your state will likely issue a salvage title, which will make it more difficult to sell.
4) Be sure to have your title and lien information handy when the insurance company is ready to send a check.
5) Most states mandate that the insurance company also provide a sales tax waiver, so you don’t pay sales tax on a new vehicle up to the amount the insurance company is paying on your totaled vehicle. You would only pay state sales tax on the difference in the cost of your new car minus what you were just paid.
6) Insurance companies determine the value of your totaled vehicle by looking at similar vehicles in your area with the same year, make, model, features and mileage. If your car has prior damage, it may decrease the value. If you have improved the car recently (brand new tires), it may increase the value.
7) If anyone was injured in the accident, then a St. Louis personal injury lawyer may be able to help you sort through the complexities of handling a total car loss. Car Accidents