Is My Car a Total Loss or Can it be Repaired?
Who decides if your car is a total loss or can be repaired?
Unfortunately, there are many things to worry about after a car accident. If you are injured in a car accident, how and where you are going to get medical treatment is one of things that you have to be concerned with. Also, if your injuries are severe, you have to be concerned with lost wages. Another thing you have to deal with is getting your car either fixed or getting money to replace your car. One of the most frequent questions I get is, “How does the insurance company decide if they are going to repair or replace my car?”
Will the insurance company repair or replace my car?
Will the insurance company repair or replace your car after a car accident? That is the big question many clients have. The insurance company looks at the cost of the repair versus the value of the vehicle. If the cost of the repair is above the value of the vehicle, the vehicle will be deemed a total loss. In such situation, the vehicle will be given a salvage title. Most insurance companies offer the clients the option to keep the salvaged vehicle, however, it will cost you. The amount is usually minimal, but it depends on how the type of vehicle and other factors. Usually it is in the range of $200 to $600. On the other hand, if the cost of the repair is less than the value of the vehicle, the vehicle will usually be repaired. In other words, it is whatever is the cheapest option for the insurance company. Unfortunately, in Utah, the insurance company gets to decide whether to repair or replace your car after a car accident.
What if the cost of the repair is close to the value of the car?
The situation where the cost of the repair is close to the value of the car creates the most questions and controversies for client. Obviously, if you have a new car and it only has a scratch on the bumper, your vehicle will not be a total loss, nor should it be. But what if you have a new car that has repairs that are close to the value or cost of the car? As mentioned above, the insurance company will decide whether to repair or replace your vehicle.
Is there anything I can do to get the insurance company to replace my car instead of repairing it?
Yes, there are some things your can do to influence their decision. Most clients prefer to have their car replaced, rather than repaired, since they do not want a car with a car accident on the record or because they do not have as much faith in a repaired car. If the insurance company making the decision is your own insurance company and the repair cost is not far from the replacement cost, you can contact the insurance company and ask them to go one way or another. I’ve seen situation where the insurance company will show some willingness to work with their own clients in order to keep them happy. Another option is to take your car to another repair shop for a second estimate. That estimate might come in higher, which would make it so replacing the car is more cost effective for the insurance company.
Is there anything I can do to get the other person’s insurance company to replace my car instead of repairing it?
Yes, there are some things your can do to influence their decision. If the car accident was the fault of another person and their insurance company is repairing your car, there are some things you can do. As mentioned above, one option is to take your car to another repair shop for a second estimate. That estimate might come in higher, which would make it so replacing the car is more cost effective for the insurance company. A second option would be to threaten the insurance company with a diminished value claim. In Utah, if your car is involved in a car accident and it is repaired, you can sue for the diminished value or because your car is now worth less since it has a car accident on the record. Sometimes threatening the insurance company with this secondary claim can convince them to replace your vehicle, rather than repair your car, as they would then have to also pay the diminished value of your car.
Should I consult with a lawyer about my property damage?
Yes. It is always smart to consult with a lawyer. Our office will give you free advice about your property damage claim if you request it from us. Feel free to call us anytime- 801-738-9999.