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What Happens if My Vehicle is Totaled? [Key Things to Know if You’re Unable to Drive]

What is Vehicle Total Loss?

Vehicle total loss is a term used by insurers when the cost to repair a car is more than the value of the vehicle. To assess whether a car is a total loss, the vehicle insurance company will calculate the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) immediately before the loss occurred, and then estimate the amount of damage. Depending on the state, a vehicle may be automatically considered a total loss if the cost to repair it exceeds a certain percentage of the vehicle’s worth. In other states, a car is considered totaled if its repair costs plus the salvage value of the car is equal or exceeds its value. Additionally, an insurer can total a car if it cannot be repaired safely.

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What Factors Determine the Value of a Totaled Vehicle?

When a vehicle is declared a total loss, the auto insurance company takes into account a number of factors to determine the value of the vehicle. These include the make and model, year, mileage, depreciation, accident history, mechanical problems, wear and tear, cosmetic problems, local demand for similar vehicles, and sale prices of comparable vehicles in the area. The ACV (Actual Cash Value) of the totaled car is not the same as the cost of purchasing a replacement vehicle of the same year, make and model, as vehicles quickly begin to depreciate after they are driven off the lot.

In addition to the car’s value, other factors that may influence the payout include after-market items and accessories, taxes and fees associated with buying a replacement car, and refund of the license or registration fee from the totaled vehicle. Automobile insurance carriers are not obligated to buy a new car unless the policyholder has new car replacement coverage. Ultimately, the value of a totaled car depends on the individual situation and the insurer’s calculations.

What Happens if You Cannot Drive Because of Your Totaled Car?

If you can’t drive your totaled car, you have a few options. Your insurer may offer you a cash payment equal to the value of the car, or they may replace the car with an equivalent one. You will still need to repay any outstanding loan payments in full if you have a loan against the vehicle. If your insurer won’t pay for repairs, you can keep the car and use it for spare parts, or sell off the parts that are still in good condition. Ultimately, it is up to the auto insurance adjuster to determine whether a car is considered totaled or not.

Ways to get around after your car was totaled

1. Rent a vehicle

Renting a vehicle after your car has been totaled can be a daunting process, but following these steps can help you get back on the road quickly and safely.

1. Check your auto insurance policy to see if you have rental car reimbursement coverage. This coverage can reimburse you for rental car expenses when your vehicle is undrivable due to a covered loss. Most policies with rental car coverage will allow for up to 30 days of rental reimbursement.

2. If you have State Farm auto insurance, contact your agent or claim representative to see if you are eligible to keep your totaled car.

3. Contact your insurance company or, if the accident was not your fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company and ask if you are eligible for a rental car. The insurance company may pay for the rental for a day or two after the payout documents are issued.

4. Get a pre-approval from your lender if you plan to finance the purchase of a new vehicle. This will save you time and give you a stronger negotiating position.

5. Research and compare vehicles to find the best option for you. Use online resources such as Build & Price, Cars for Sale, and other auto-related websites to find the right vehicle for you.

6. Consider adding lease/loan gap coverage to your auto insurance policy. This coverage pays for the difference between what is owed on the car and its actual value in the event of a total loss.

7. Once you have decided on a vehicle, make sure to have all the necessary documentation and paperwork ready to complete the purchase.

These steps can help you stay focused on getting back on the road safely, and perhaps with a new vehicle.

2. Get a Loan for a Replacement Car

If your car was totaled and you need a loan to purchase a replacement vehicle, there are a few steps you can take. First, assess your situation by determining the actual cash value of your totaled car and the amount you still owe on the loan. Then, calculate how much money you will need to put down for your new car. After that, you may want to consider getting pre-approval on a loan from your lender to give you a stronger negotiating position when purchasing your new car.

Once you have a loan approval, you can contact your insurance company to start the claims process. Your insurance may cover the cost of a rental car for a limited time. If you still owe money on the totaled car, your lender might be able to consolidate what you owe into a new car loan. Progressive also offers a car shopping service to help with the purchase of a new vehicle.

Finally, contact your insurance company with the information on your new vehicle to make sure you’re properly covered.

3. Use Insurance Coverage for a Replacement Vehicle

Using insurance coverage for a replacement vehicle can help you get around after your car was totaled by providing you with the funds needed to purchase a new car or used vehicle. Collision coverage can help if you cause a run-in with another vehicle or object that totals your car, while comprehensive coverage can help if your car is damaged or totaled in an accident that isn’t your fault. New car replacement coverage, which is available for the first year or two after you purchase a brand new car, can also provide you with the assurance that your car insurance provider will pay enough to fully replace your car in the event of a total loss. Gap insurance can also help to bridge the gap between your insurance settlement and the cost of your replacement vehicle.

4. Lease a Car

Leasing a car can help you get back on the road after your car has been totaled. After the insurance policy pays out the car’s value, any remaining outstanding payments towards the lease company must still be made. Gap coverage, which is typically required on financed or leased cars, can help cover the difference between what’s owed on the car and its actual value, in the event of a total loss. Additionally, rental car reimbursement coverage can help with the cost of a rental car while the claims process is underway. Before heading out on the road in a new vehicle, compare prices online, get quotes from used car dealers, and document any special features or custom parts that may increase the car’s value. This will help you in your negotiations with the insurance company. Finally, it’s important to explore any additional coverages that may help protect your savings.

5. Use Public Transportation

If your car has been totaled, you may be wondering how you can get around without it. Public transportation can provide a cost-effective and reliable way to get around while you look for a replacement vehicle. Here is a step-by-step guide to using public transportation after your car has been totaled:

Step 1: Check with your local public transportation provider. Look up the local bus and train routes and schedules in your area.

Step 2: Obtain a fare card. Most public transportation systems offer discounted fares for regular commuters.

Step 3: Familiarize yourself with the routes and stops. If you plan to use the bus or train on a regular basis, take time to understand the routes and familiarize yourself with the stops.

Step 4: Plan your trips ahead of time and check for any special discounts or promotions.

Step 5: Allow extra time for your trips. Public transportation can be unpredictable, so plan to arrive at your destination a few minutes early.

By following these steps, you can take advantage of public transportation to get around after your car has been totaled.

6. Hire a Chauffeur

Step 1: Gather your documents inside the vehicle. Don’t forget to take everything out of the car before signing the car over to the insurer.

Step 2: Contact an auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

Step 3: Check with your insurance to see if they will cover the cost of a rental car, otherwise consider financing a new vehicle.

Step 4: Get a free consultation from a lawyer to seek fair compensation for the property damage.

Step 5: Research and hire a chauffeur service. Look for chauffeur services that are licensed and insured, and make sure to check references. Ask about rates and services offered.

7. Have a Friend or Family Member Give You a Ride

After your car was totaled, you may be trying to figure out how to get a ride. Here are some steps you can take to get back on the road safely:

1. Talk to your auto insurance company or agent to see if state regulations allow you to keep your vehicle.

2. Gather all your personal documents from the vehicle before signing it over to the insurer.

3. Check with your insurance if you are eligible for a rental car for up to 30 days, or if the at-fault driver’s insurance company is handling your claim.

4. If you plan to buy a new car, get a preapproval from your lender, and get a professional appraisal of the totaled vehicle in order to get a fair amount in trade.

8. Utilize Ride-Hailing Services like Uber and Lyft

If your car has been totaled, you may be wondering if you can use ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to get around. Fortunately, it’s easy to get started with these services. Here are the steps you need to take to get up and running:

1. Download the ride-hailing app of your choice to your smartphone.

2. Register with the app by providing your personal information, including a valid credit card.

3. Confirm your location and enter your destination.

4. Select the type of vehicle you would like to be transported in.

5. Once a driver is assigned to you, they will arrive at your location to pick you up.

6. Enjoy your ride to your destination.

7. Once you arrive at your destination, you will be prompted to pay for the ride with the credit card you registered.

By following these steps, you can quickly and easily get around after your car has been totaled.

9. Hire a Vehicle Towing Service

It is important to hire a vehicle towing service after your car is totaled in order to ensure that the car is safely and securely transferred to a qualified auto shop for further assessment. By towing your car to a qualified auto shop, you can simplify the process of filing an insurance claim and make sure that the damages are accurately diagnosed and repaired. Additionally, buying additional coverages such as lease/loan gap coverage and rental car reimbursement can help protect your savings in case of a total loss. Taking the time to hire a professional towing service and review your insurance coverage can help protect your finances and allow you to get back on the road safely.

10. Buy a Used Car

Buying a used car after your car was totaled can help you get around quickly and safely. With a used car, you’ll still have access to reliable transportation and the flexibility to customize your car to the features you need. The settlement money from the insurance company can go toward the purchase of a used car, which may not cover the total cost but can be a great start. Additionally, you can use the totaled car for spare parts to help keep the replacement car running smoothly. Taking the time to research and compare prices online will also help you find a used car that fits your budget.