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Can the Car Insurance Company Force you to Total Your Car?

If you have recently been in a car accident, you are left to consider an abundance of things and dealing with your car insurance company is one of them. How severe is the damage? Can it be repaired at a local body shop or do I need a new car? These are all questions you may have, and in most accidents, the insurance company is the one to decide what happens to your vehicle. However, there are some cases where the insured is the one who decides if a vehicle is considered a total loss.

How Total Loss is Calculated in South Florida

Once the estimate to repair a vehicle is higher than the value of the car, it is considered totaled. Most states have a specific threshold which determines when a vehicle is totaled. In Florida, that limit is 80% of the automobile’s current market value. In that case, a car worth $10,000 with a repair estimate of $8,000 is likely considered totaled.

Determine the Current Market Value

The most recent edition of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Handbook helps determine the current market value of a vehicle. The mileage, condition of the body, age, resale value, and any additional parts before it was totaled help determine the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of your car.

Insurance companies are known to look to external sources to determine the value of a total loss claim. Therefore, it is best to research your car’s value using the NADA handbook and consult with a credible Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney about your claim.

What to Do When Your Car Insurance Totals Your Car

Totaled cars often go to a salvage yard and are sold for parts. Once the insurer declares your vehicle totaled, they usually pay the vehicle’s Actual Cash Value (ACV), less your deductible. With a financed vehicle, the payoff amount goes to the financial company, and you receive the difference. With a leased vehicle, however, the full amount goes to the leasing company. If you are the owner of the vehicle, you receive the full check.

Do I Still Have to Pay a Loan on a Totaled Car?

There’s a possibility that the amount the insurance company pays doesn’t add up to the amount you owe on a financed vehicle. In this case, you’re responsible for paying the remaining balance of the car. If you’re lucky, some major insurance companies will even provide you with a brand new replacement vehicle if your totaled car was a newer model.

Can I Keep My Car and Repair it Myself?

If you’re interested in keeping your car, your insurance may get bids from salvage buyers and deduct the fair market value for salvage from your settlement. The car title is required to change to a “Total Loss Vehicle” based on Florida auto salvage laws. Having a salvage title means you will only be able to apply for a new title after all the repairs are complete. Your accident attorney can help determine how the salvage laws affect your case and assist you in making an informed decision.

How a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

If you have recently been in a car accident in South Florida and are concerned that your car may be totaled, our attorneys can help you through it. Our team of Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys at Salpeter Gitkin, LLP are experienced and knowledgeable in accident law. With decades of experience recovering millions for people just like you, we’re confident we can find a resolution to your legal issue. Contact us today at (954) 467-8622 for a free case evaluation.

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Our Head Attorney
Willaim Henderson

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