Jul 26 2017

Car Damaged in an Accident for Total Loss

You’ve been in a car accident and you are injured.  Your car is also damaged severely and is a total loss.  Where do you go from here?  What are your rights?

Fair Market Value

Many people want their car repaired after an accident.  Mainly because they do not have the extra money to buy a new car.  Not all cars are repairable after an accident.  The value of your claim generally is determined by the cost of repairing it to its pre-accident condition.  However, if the repair cost is 70% or more of the value of the car the Insurance Company will deem it a total loss.

So now your car is a total loss?  What is it worth?

Insurance Companies use the Fair Market Value approach.  Fair Market Value is the difference between a car’s pre-accident value and it’s worth after damages from a collision.

The value of your vehicle before the accident is usually determined by reference to directories. For example, the Kelley Blue Book, newspaper ads, statements from car dealers or other services that appraise automobiles. You also are entitled to some reimbursements for taxes and registration fees.I’m

The insurance company may require that the car and the title be turned over to them if they are paying you for the car.


    • If you disagree with the figure the insurance company uses regarding the fair market value of your automobile, you can negotiate with the adjuster. But do your homework.  You must Be prepared to show why your vehicle is worth what you claim it is worth.  Unfortunately, most insurance companies use a particular service to estimate value and adjusters may not be willing to give you more than that service indicates the automobile is worth.


  • Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may present this claim to your own insurance company or to a company that insures another vehicle involved in the accident with you.
  • Alternatively, the company could establish a “salvage value” for the car. You may then be able to receive the fair market value of the car less the salvage value. In that case, you would be able to keep the car. The car then will generally bear a “salvaged vehicle” title to give notice to any new purchaser that the vehicle was previously totaled.