Whether it’s a disastrous accident or a collision with a deer, a total loss auto accident can be devastating.
A car is only declared a “total loss” when the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the car itself. While a minor claim is a simple process of repair, a total loss accident will be a lot more complicated.
So if you’re submitting a vehicle damage claim and you hear from your insurer that the car is a total loss, what do you do?
Knowing exactly what to do after a total loss car accident can help you speed up the claims process, get your insurance money, and head back on the road with as little stress as possible.
Let’s take a look at some of the steps you should take if this happens to you.
Report the Claim to Your Insurance Company
If you’ve suffered a total loss auto accident, there’s no time to lose. A total loss claim can take over a month to completely finalize and close.
While the time it takes to complete the process is up to the insurance company, the faster you file your claim, the sooner they can start working on it.
Have the Vehicle Towed
If you think your vehicle is likely to be totaled, it’s time to have it towed.
Try your best to get it towed to your insurance company’s preferred body shop. If you pick a shop that your insurance company works with directly, you can speed up the claims processed. It’s also less likely that they’ll charge you a storage fee.
Find Your Car Title
You’ll need your car title to get through the process. Make sure you know exactly where your title is as soon as you find out that your car is considered a total loss.
If you can’t find your title, file for a lost title at the DMV as soon as you can. The title will have to be signed over to the insurance company—having it on hand will help keep that process running smoothly and quickly.
Determine the Value of the Car
While the insurance company will determine the market value of your car themselves, it’s still important that you back this up with your own research. This will give you an idea of whether or not the insurance estimation is accurate or not.
Here are some steps you can take to figure out your car’s value:
Check Kelly Blue Book for figures on your vehicle
Take a look at similar vehicle listings in your area (auto websites, newspapers, dealerships, etc.)
Collect receipts of recent improvements to the interior, exterior, and more
Get a professional to evaluate the value of the vehicle
File All of Your Paperwork