When your insurance company makes the determination that your vehicle is a total loss, they are required to replace it or pay you the actual cash value, which includes sales tax. It is essential for you to understand your rights. Your insurance company has an obligation to respond to your claim, but that does not mean they will treat you fairly, as they often do not include other costs and fees when settling.
Let a car accident lawyer from Kogan & DiSalvo help you seek the compensation you deserve, including a fair assessment when your car is totaled. As Florida’s premier personal injury law firm, we often see people at their most vulnerable. We’ve witnessed firsthand the financial and emotional devastation of a vehicular accident and want to help you recover the damages you need to heal, including compensation for a totaled car.
What does “totaled” mean?
Totaled is shorthand for the insurance industry term “total loss.” It means that the damage to your vehicle exceeds its value, and your insurance company is responsible for paying for a replacement. Whether or not your vehicle is totaled directly impacts you. For example, insurance companies might declare a vehicle a total loss even if the damage was slightly less than the car’s value. In these cases, it is rarely worth the expense of repairing a damaged vehicle instead of simply replacing it. This is especially common with older cars.
The problem many people run into is that insurance carriers are only obligated to cover your losses up to the limits on your insurance policy. That means any damages above those limits come out of your pocket. So if the cost of your vehicle is substantially greater than the limits on your policy, you can expect to pay for some of your total loss yourself.
What if I still owe money for the car?
Many people still owe money on their vehicles thanks to financing their purchase through a lender. However, it is important to remember that an accident does not remove your obligation to pay off your loan, even if your vehicle is totaled. In fact, the lender has the top priority when dispersing the compensation for your car wreck. Therefore, if you are involved in an accident with a financed vehicle, you must pay off that loan before receiving the settlement. Typically, this involves using part of the settlement check to pay the loan and releasing the lien.
Transfer the vehicle out of your name
It would be best if you moved quickly to address your totaled vehicle. The cost of storing a car after a wreck is steeper than you might realize. Typically, your insurance company can handle storing your vehicle at a lower rate than you would pay otherwise. This cost is also rolled into your settlement funds. The sooner you settle and transfer the vehicle out of your name, the lower those expenses will be.
Why you should consult with a lawyer
Consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. In addition to resolving your personal injury claim, they could also help you navigate issues of property damage as well. This includes negotiating with insurance companies and considering legal action when necessary. An attorney could also review the terms of your policy to help you understand the limits that might impact your claim. Their guidance will offer the best possible chance of success.
Reach out and schedule a free case evaluation
At Kogan & DiSalvo, you’ll have a world-class pool of resources working relentlessly on your behalf. We look forward to the opportunity to advise you of your options, including insurance claims regarding your totaled car or civil lawsuits. To learn more about how we could help, call now for a free consultation; there is no obligation to hire us afterward. And since we work on a contingency fee basis, you will not pay attorney’s fees unless we win compensation for your injuries.