What happens when your car is totaled?

What happens when my car is “totaled?” 

If you’ve never had an accident in which your car was considered “totaled,” you probably think a totaled car means a heap of twisted metal, only good for the scrapyard. But that’s not the whole story. Here’s what it means when a car is “totaled,” and what your insurance will do afterward.  

If repairs cost more than the car’s value, it’s “totaled” 

Car insurance companies are not in the business of spending more money than they have to when paying out claims. That’s why, after an accident, if it’s determined that it will cost them more to pay for the repairs on your car than it would be to pay you the value of the car, they consider it totaled and write you a check for the value of your car … if you have the right kind of insurance

Will I get an insurance payout for my car if it’s totaled? 

Whether or not you receive a payout for your totaled vehicle depends on a few factors, including: 

  • Who was at fault in the accident – If the other driver is at fault in the accident that totaled your car, you should receive an insurance payout from their liability insurance. If you are the at-fault driver, whether or not you receive a payout will depend on what type of car insurance you have. 
  • Do you have collision coverage – If your car was totaled in an accident that was your fault, collision coverage will pay you the value of the totaled vehicle, minus your deductible. 
  • Was the other driver insured – If you total your car in an accident with another driver, and the other driver is at fault but doesn’t have insurance, your only hope for getting an insurance payout is having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. 
  • Was your car totaled by a storm or vandalism – If your car is totaled in a situation other than an accident, such as in a hurricane or being vandalized, comprehensive coverage should pay you the value of the vehicle minus your deductible. 

What if I still owe money on the car that’s totaled? 

If you financed your car and total it before you pay it off, your insurance company will send the check 

for the value of your vehicle directly to your lender. If you owe more on the car than it’s worth (which is common, especially with new cars), you may be left to pay the difference out of pocket unless you have gap insurance. Gap insurance is an inexpensive coverage that can really come in handy if your car is totaled, because it covers any “gap” between the amount of your insurance payout and the amount left on your loan. 

Are you covered for a total loss?

Totaling a car is no fun, but it’s a whole lot worse when you find out you don’t have the right coverage. Let’s make sure you’re prepared, just in case. Give Edwards Insurance Agency in Taylors, SC, a call today. One of our car insurance agents will go over your current coverage with you and make sure you’ve got what you need to get a check, not a disappointment, in case your car gets totaled.