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Replacement Cost by Insurance Company for Totaled Vehicle



  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    What can I do???

    Unfortunately since the repairs have already been done I don't think there is anything you can do. If you wanted to argue as to weather or not the car should have been totaled that probably should have been done prior to the repair process starting.

    I may be wrong though, I don't work in the insurance industry
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 11,900
    With an older car I assume that the magic number for being "totaled" can be reached with relatively minor damage.
    $1000 or $1500 of damage might be enough to exceed the wholesale value of say a 10 year old car.

    If your car is totaled by the insurance company do they simply pay you the low wholesale value and then take the car or do they let you keep it?

    If the damage is mainly cosmetic I could see putting some money into making it road worthy and forgetting about the appearance. However, if the insurance company takes the car you would be out the difference between wholesale and retail cost.

    What do the experts think?

    2015 Mustang GT, 2009 PT Cruiser, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    If your car is totaled by the insurance company do they simply pay you the low wholesale value and then take the car or do they let you keep it?

    No they don't let you keep it. They get salvage bids on the car and sell it to recoup part of the claim. Itis not uncommon for people to buy back there car though on the salvage bid.
  • eviljoeeviljoe Posts: 14
    I bought a NEW 2006 Nissan Xterra two weeks ago. It had 1400 miles on it. I financed it, but did not purchase GAP insurance--though I do have good insurance coverage with USAA. Yesterday, a young man, with a SUSPENDED license, NO insurance and an out of date tag, ran a redlight going 50-60mph and I plowed into him. The airbag saved my life, but I'm pretty banged up--with bruises all over. The police gave him two or three tickets but let him go without giving him any alcohol or drug tests. There were a ton of witnesses that saw him run it and he was deemed totally at fault.

    My questions is, IF my truck is totalled, how much can I expect to get for it--is it used retail, private party or trade-in? The truck was brand new!!

    Also, is there any way I can get the kid to pay my deductibles and the difference that GAP would have paid?
    The police told me that even if I hired a lawyer, there was no way to "squeeze blood out of a turnip"!

    What if he has no money or assets? Am I just out of luck--as if he'd taken a few thousand dollars out of my pocket, set it on fire, and walked away?!?

    IF they do repair it, but it's just not the same and has repeated problems, is there anything I can do about it?

  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    Your insurance company should pay (minus any deductible) what the vehicle is worth (used retail). It may have been "new" when you bought it but it was very definitely used at the time of the collision.

    People who have assets or money don't drive on a suspended license without insurance so, yes, you're SOL. Sorry, life isn't fair.

    As for your last question, push hard to get the thing declared a total loss so as to avoid a variety of potential future issues.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Depending on your state, you may get a new vehicle or full value of it. I'm fairly sure that within the first year some states require insurance companies to replace the vehicle if it is totaled in the first year. This is to prevent that GAP issue. Definitely do some research on what your state laws are on insurance.

  • eviljoeeviljoe Posts: 14
    where would i find the state laws on insurance for Florida?
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    I am not sure how it works but Florida is a Diminished Value state. But as others have said you cannot get blood from a turnip. Google "Diminished Value" there is allot of good info. There are even companies who will help you with a DV claim, for a price I am sure.

    States where auto
    insurance policies can
    exclude diminished
    car-value payments

    District of Columbia
    New Hampshire
    New Jersey
    New Mexico
    New York
    North Dakota
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina

  • lilgtolilgto Posts: 12
    Sorry to hear about your accident, one good thing is you don't have to depend upon the other insurance company to pay for the bills! Word of advice if you ever do make sure you hire a law firm to deal with these people.

    Now for you damages, you did not mention any body damage so you must have really gotten lucky and did not hit anything on the curbs. My stab in the dark would be new or like new rims, possibly tires will have to be replaced, suspension parts more than likely suffered some damages and don't forget about Wheel bearings. Just be thankful you are alive to actually write about it. Good luck with the repairs.
  • lilgtolilgto Posts: 12
    I also agree with the other individual, there is not much you can do once the repairs were accomplished. You could have argued with the insurance company but then again that would have been best to be handled by an attorney. It just seems like the insurance companies today would rather repair a vehicle than total it even if it cost them more money in the long run. I am still dealing with them over my daughters vehicle from the 12/31/06 accident. You can do what they told us (which I thought was a really dumb suggestion) "just sell it after it is repaired and purchase you something nicer"... What a looser!
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    What if he has no money or assets? Am I just out of luck--as if he'd taken a few thousand dollars out of my pocket, set it on fire, and walked away?!?

    You can sue him in small claims court. It costs about $15 to file, and you don't need a stinking lawyer. You should be able to get his address and maybe SS number from the police report. You can search local records as to what he has to his name. Or just spy on him, see if he has another car, house, trailer, motorcycle, ATV, boat.

    Once the judgement is entered in your favor, send him an official request to pay. He has 30 days to do so. If he fails, turn over all the information you gathered on him to the Sheriff. They will seize his assests, take their cut, and give you the rest. They can garnish his wages... I have done it a few times in NY.

    If he has 2 more outstanding judgements against him, you get to collect triple damages.

    Check with FL small claims laws before proceeding.
  • Hi!
    I've been pouring through these forums looking for an answer to my question, but can only come close so far.
    I purchased a 1995 Maxima GLE not quite a year ago. It had all the perks, was flawless in and out and had 56k on it! Carfax check revealed a little old lady owned this car and had it serviced like clockwork. Unfortunately, the front end was injured in an accident and the car was totalled. A body repair guy bought it, made it good as new and sold it to us. The mechanic we took it to said we got a great bargain and felt the car was worth at least $6k, even with salvage title.
    The car was mostly garaged while I owned it, although I did put a small bump in it backing into hubby's van - a 'pop-out' type of injury, no scratches to paint. It had 64k on it by now as I owned it for 10 months.
    Then some idiot on a cellphone rear-ends my baby on the freeway and causes $6000 damage, so her insurance decides to total my car. After dragging their feet for 11 days, they finally offer me $4000, which I refused. KBB on that car with (unheard of) low mileage and my options comes to around $8200, assuming clean title, which of course it isn't. I can understand that there must be some adjustment for the salvage title, but just how do you FAIRLY determine the value of a car like this? To get that kind of mileage, I'd need to move up to a 2002 or better. The leather interior was like new - no stains or rips anywhere. The chances of finding a 95 Max GLE (or Toy/Lex/Inf/Honda equal)with 64K on it, much less a salvage title to boot, are NIL. Finding one of these in my neighborhood, with 2 or 3 times the mileage, will run $5500 and up.
    I sent several emails to the adjuster showing salvaged vehicles - most lesser versions of my car, all with much higher miles - that were selling for $5-6000. I also included an invoice for the fancy tires we had bought just a few months before ($500 if you DON'T have a nephew who manages a tire store). I felt that my car and the related expenses of replacing it was worth at least $6000, and made it clear that I thought their "53% subtracted for the salvage title" was arbitrary and ridiculous.
    So, my question is: how do you determine the value of a car with a prior salvage title? Obviously, the condition of the car should have some merit. If all repairs are done and the car is made 'whole' again, why should a person have to suffer such a big loss over what amounts to nothing more than a word on the title? (When I was sick for a month last year, they sure didn't cut my pay when I returned, fully recovered, citing that I was now 'damaged goods')! So how can this designation be arbitrarily applied to an otherwise perfect car that has fully recovered from it's injury?
    I just wonder who gets to make these decisions anyway.
    For my part, I held out through the feet dragging, got my own insurance company involved (I love you Liberty Mutual!) and agreed to accept $5860 total.
    I think I did alright, but I'm wondering what your opinion is on this whole arbitrary salvage title deduction. I will never again buy a car without a clean title because of this, no matter how wonderful the car is.
    ps - I've learned an awful lot reading through this forum - thank you all for the education!
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    You did GREAT to get $5860 and learned an important lesson at a small cost.

    I don't know about others but figure a salvage title always knocks at least one-third off a car's value. While a precise calculation may be a bit arbitrary, the fact will always remain that any given vehicle is only worth what someone will pay for it. Salvage title equals big hit on price.
  • lyslys Posts: 1
    My 96 mustang was recently rear-ended and totaled. Now, the car had a lot of miles on it . . . brace yourself . . . 216,000. But she was in great condition, I always had the regular maintenance done to her, and she still had some years left in her without a doubt. Now, I know that the excess mileage is going to bring the value down, but the other insurance company deducted 40% of their starting price of the vehicle. This ends up being a charge of about 2 cents per mile for every mile my car was over the average (which is 120,000).

    Again, I knew I was going to take a hit on mileage, but this seems ridiculous. I was told by people I know that more typical would be 1 or 1.5 cents per mile, but I don't know where I can go for evidence that this 2 cents is excessive. Any ideas?

    Also, they charged me $175 for a replacement windshield. The glass hadn't been replaced recently, and there was one small chip (no bigger than a pencil eraser-tip) very low on the driver's side. Is that grounds for replacement?

    Thanks . . .

  • toyoman1toyoman1 Posts: 52
    So my accord did get fixed. It got the following: New front bumper cover, two new front fenders, all new suspension complete with all tie rods, transmember bar?, control arms upper and lower, 4 new 16in Honda deluxe rims with 4 new Toyo tires, body repair lower corner of passenger door, and new emerald green paint job over whole car. The Honda dealership did an overwhelming job. It looks and drives better then when I bought it.

    On another note my State Farm is taking the trucking company to court and the driver to recover the funds for the repairs, it ranged into the thousands. Thanks and happy motoring!!! ;)
  • Can a car be totaled twice in Virginia? I have a car that was totaled several years ago, but I bought it back from the insurance company and had it repaired. At that time, that insurance company let me insure it with comprehensive and collision coverage.
    Now I am changing insurance companies and the car is 13 years old. Should I pay for compre. and collision insurance? Since its value is only $2500-3000 according to Edmunds, it wouldn't take much damage to be declared "totaled" again. Does the insurance company devalue the car because it was already totaled? Is it worthwhile to pay for the extra insurance?
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    Drop the collision coverage.

    Insurance companies pay what a car is worth. A car with a salvage title is worth significantly less than one with an unbranded title.

    Comp is a tougher call and depends on the deductible and cost.
  • Thank you for the prompt response to my query. However as far as I know I do not have a "salvage" title. Is this a separate document? At the time of the accident, my insurance company did not take the original title. They just adjusted the price of the settlement and allowed us to keep the car and have it repaired. They then allowed us to insure the car with both collision and comprehensive for the last seven years. I am now changing insurance companies. But I'm sure if the vin number is checked, the accident and the fact that it was totaled is recorded. Would that constitute a "salvage title"?
    As far as dropping the collision, the extra amount that I was quoted for both comprehension and collision with deductible of $50 and $100 is only $130 more for six months. These seems low and maybe worth paying unless the collision would not pay at all if the car was deemed "totaled". I have heard that a car cannot be declared totaled more than once. Is this true?
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    No, a "salvage" (or "re-bulit") title is branded exactly as that. It sounds as though you have retained a clear title.

    If you think it's worth $260 per year for the coverage, keep the coverage. The insurer will pay if it's damaged again.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    The same insurance company that originally totalled it re-insured it after you bought it back? I know nothing other than word of mouth, but I've lived in Virginia all my life and always understood that if an insurance company totalled a car and the owner bought it back, the car was not eligible for any further coverage.

    I think you need to explain the situation completely to the new insurance company and see what they say. No need to pay them if they are going to deny any future claims based on the history - which they will discover in the event of a claim (if not sooner) whether or not it is disclosed up front.

    Let us know what you find out!
  • tybo2tybo2 Posts: 2
    I was recently in an accident, I ran into a curb that was about 5-8 inches above the ground, and it pushed back the wheel of my sunfire, and in doing so it pushed the fender back just enough to make the door nearly impossible to open. So my question is do you think there is enough reason to deem my car Totaled
    btw its a 95 sunfire :(
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    So my question is do you think there is enough reason to deem my car Totaled[?]

    I don't think so. Essentially, the criterion for "totalling" a vehicle is that the cost of repair has to be comparable to its replacement cost.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 100,689
    I don't know... I think an oil change might total a '95 Sunfire.. ;)

    How many miles do you have on it? I can imagine that there are some '95 Sunfires that might only be worth $500.

    Which begs another question? You are still carrying collision on a '95 Sunfire?

    visiting host

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • tybo2tybo2 Posts: 2
    well, im not goin to lie, im actually in canada, where you have your insurance, with the price of your plates every month, no matter what your car is insured, and will be fixed, and all you have to do is pay your deductible
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 100,689
    You probably won't know until you get an estimate.. If your car has 150K+ miles.., then it is probably worth less than $1000.. In that case, the damage you described will probably total it..

    If your car is a creampuff, with only 75K miles? Then, it might get fixed..

    visiting host

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    So my question is do you think there is enough reason to deem my car Totaled


    The cost of the front suspension will probably be more then the car is worth
  • Yesterday I signed a contract on a vehicle but did not take dilivery of that vehicle. Am I still obligated to the contract if I change my mind?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I don't know what that has to do with insurance and totaled vehicles.

    The short answer to your question is "yes" but that depends on what kind of a contract you signed. If you provide a little more detail we should be able to get you to the right place to discuss your issues.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Does anyone know what percentage the repairs have to be for State Farm to consider a vehicle totaled?

    Also, do the trade-in and retail values shown on the estimate have any relation in reality to the "actual cash value" that they would supposedly offer on a totaled car?

    The initial repair estimate on my '04 Mustang Coupe is $8,520; on that estimate, "clean" trade-in on my car with all options and low mileage credit is shown as $10,825 and "clean" retail value is shown as $12,925.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    What book are those values coming from? Most insurance companies use NADA.
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