Author Topic: Insurance totalled my car--now what?  (Read 4248 times)

roadtrippers

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Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« on: November 23, 2015, 02:07:29 PM »
Some doofus hit me in my 98 Volvo with 200K miles. Naturally, the insurance company totalled my car, despite the fact that it is completely driveable. They are sending me a check for a whopping 1900.

The car has a big dent, but the money they are sending will not even cover body work, should I choose to have it done. I can drive it with the dent, but if another doofus hits me, my insurance will want proof that I fixed the other dent, or they will send me nothing.

Should I switch insurance companies? We pay too much for insurance because my agent uses only 1 company. I know him personally, and he has helped us out when we were younger and less Mustachian, which is how I justify the expense. Will a different company cover us, or will they want a receipt that the body work was done? Any advice appreciated, and thanks!

brotatochip

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2015, 02:31:07 PM »
You should always negotiate the price they are willing to pay out.  They will come up a couple of hundred dollars...be persistent and don't take no for an answer.  Continue to drive your Volvo and get the most basic, cheapest insurance.  It's already a totalled car so no other company will pay out again if you get into another accident.  Good luck and be happy you're OK!

RWD

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2015, 02:35:15 PM »
Are you in a no-fault state? If not, were you at fault in the accident? Otherwise I would expect the insurance of the person who hit you to be paying.

If your car was totaled you should have a choice of whether to keep it. If you don't keep the car the insurance payout should be higher. If you are keeping the vehicle you will need to figure out the title branding laws in your state. You may need to get a "rebuilt" title to be able to insure the vehicle again.

Some possibly useful reading:
http://www.dmv.org/insurance/salvage-vehicles.php

beltim

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2015, 03:37:41 PM »
Does the damage affect the car's drivability?  If not, and you can get both the car and the check back (which might not be possible depending on your state), then you've hit the jackpot!  You can deposit the check, drive your car with a dent, and get rid of your collision and comprehensive coverage.  Win-win-win.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2015, 04:01:08 PM »
Echo Belt Tim

roadtrippers

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2015, 04:54:03 PM »
Thanks for all the useful advice! Here are some replies:

Are you in a no-fault state? If not, were you at fault in the accident? Otherwise I would expect the insurance of the person who hit you to be paying.

If your car was totaled you should have a choice of whether to keep it. If you don't keep the car the insurance payout should be higher. If you are keeping the vehicle you will need to figure out the title branding laws in your state. You may need to get a "rebuilt" title to be able to insure the vehicle again.

Some possibly useful reading:
http://www.dmv.org/insurance/salvage-vehicles.php

The other driver was at fault, but is insured through the same company (not sure if that matters?). The car is driveable, but the dent makes the back door leak when it's wet. I would like to get it fixed for that reason. I will do some research on getting the other driver's insurance to pay for the body work. I would only get about 125 more if I gave up the car--not worth it. Love this car, and it's fine for my 2.5 mile commute. I REALLY don't want to buy another car. Because it's over 10 years old, I don't need a new title.

reader2580

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2015, 05:58:06 PM »
Insurance companies routinely total cars when the cost to repair is close to, or more than, the value of the car.

jawisco

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2015, 06:12:16 PM »
I agree that you hit the jackpot.  Take your car into an auto body place and see what they can do for $300 - I bet they can make it look a lot better.  And then continue to drive the car until it dies.

You can also get the insurance company to pay you more if you have a good argument that your car was worth more when it got  hit. 

I did this recently - a few years ago I purchased a 1989 4wd toyota wagon in mint condition for $2100.  I was recently rear ended and insurance company totaled my car and offered $1200. 

I found a few comparables for my make/model (there are collectors out there for classic Japenese cars) that sold for $3400 and $4100 and sent them to insurance company.  Eventually, I got to keep car (still driveable) and got a check for $3400. 

I spent $500 at body shop which helped the way it looks a lot!  It doesn't look perfect, but it does drive very well.

druth

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2015, 09:32:05 AM »
I am surprised they let you keep the car.  When mine was totalled they took the car and re-sold it, which was too bad because it was a still driving Honda Accord with only low 100s miles on it. :(  Just needed a really good cleaning and a new window.

Awesome that they are letting you keep the car though!

pk_aeryn

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2015, 10:52:33 AM »
I didn't know that insurance could take your car if you wanted to just take the payout and keep it.  That's pretty scary.

RWD

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2015, 11:26:04 AM »
I didn't know that insurance could take your car if you wanted to just take the payout and keep it.  That's pretty scary.

It makes sense though. Because presumably it would cost more to fix than the car is worth the insurance company's solution is to replace the car entirely. They pay out about how much your car was worth before the accident so that you can purchase a similar one to replace it. So naturally after your car is "fixed" you wouldn't have two cars.

If you imagine the scenario without insurance you'll see that this is fairly accurate compensation. Let's say your have a vehicle worth about $5k. You get in an accident and tow it to a body shop that says it will cost $10k to fix. Let's say you can sell it for $500 scrap value. So if you buy another $5k vehicle and sell your old one for $500 scrap, the actual cost to you to was $4500. So if you have insurance typically they insurance company would offer $5000 but they will take your old car to sell for scrap, or they will offer you $4500 and you get to keep the old car.

catccc

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2015, 11:29:20 AM »
Another vote for negotiating with the insurance company on their payout.  See what it would cost to buy a 98 volvo with 200K miles on it, and deduct the salvage value of the car.  They should be giving you at least that much.

GoldenStache

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2015, 12:27:54 PM »
Some doofus hit me in my 98 Volvo with 200K miles. Naturally, the insurance company totalled my car, despite the fact that it is completely driveable. They are sending me a check for a whopping 1900.

The car has a big dent, but the money they are sending will not even cover body work, should I choose to have it done. I can drive it with the dent, but if another doofus hits me, my insurance will want proof that I fixed the other dent, or they will send me nothing.

Should I switch insurance companies? We pay too much for insurance because my agent uses only 1 company. I know him personally, and he has helped us out when we were younger and less Mustachian, which is how I justify the expense. Will a different company cover us, or will they want a receipt that the body work was done? Any advice appreciated, and thanks!

Former insurance guy
I hope you do not have full coverage on this vehicle, not worth it at all before the accident, really not worth it now. 
If you are hit by someone again and you do not get it fixed you will still get a check.  If they had to total the vehicle (mark it on the title, depends on state) you will get half the value of the vehicle including the dent. 
If they did not have to mark it totaled on the title, you will get the full value of the vehicle minus the dent.

I didn't know that insurance could take your car if you wanted to just take the payout and keep it.  That's pretty scary.

Depends on the state and the % of damage on the vehicle.  Some states are super strict with their laws on damaged vehicles, cough cough Florida.   

No idea where you live, yes it matters a ton for the value of a vehicle, but found a 1998 with 125k miles for about $3,800.  $1,900 sounds like a fair price.  I am sure the company I was working for would have offered much less.
http://www.autoblog.com/used-list/year-1998-1998/make1-Volvo

druth

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Re: Insurance totalled my car--now what?
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2015, 08:05:28 AM »
I didn't know that insurance could take your car if you wanted to just take the payout and keep it.  That's pretty scary.

As others said I can see how it's fair.  They did give me the option of getting a partial pay out to fix things myself, so I wasn't forced to give it up, I would just have maxed at what wouldn't total the car.