What is my totaled car worth?
One of the first questions I get from clients is, “What is my totaled car worth or my total loss car worth?” Or “How much money should I get for my damaged car?” A totaled car is a vehicle that has been declared a total loss by the insurance company or cannot be repaired by the insurance company. What is my totaled car worth is a very good question and important question if you have been in a car accident, especially if you still owe money on your car. You want to know if you are going to get money back for your totaled car or if you are going to be left owing money on your damaged car. In Utah, we look at the comparable sales for getting the car value. What that means, is that we look at what other similar cars are selling for in the same geographic area. The other cars should be the exact same make and model. The mileage, options, and trim level should also be the same or similar. To do this, we frequently we will look at Cars.com, KSL.com, or Autotrader.com to see what other similar cars similar to the totaled or damaged cars are selling for.
When looking at what my totaled car is worth, one of the issues that comes up, is whether or not Kelley Blue Book or NADA can give a comparable value for a totaled car. Unfortunately, Kelley Blue Book or NADA can be close to the comparable sales value, but they are not used to determine the comparable sales value. The only proper way to value your car in Utah is the comparable sales value and the insurance companies will not accept Kelly Blue Book or NADA values, absent some unusual circumstances, some of which are discussed below.
Older cars often cause difficulties for my clients when looking at what is my totaled car worth. This is there may not be any comparable sales. In those situations, we first start by looking at more car sales from further distances. We will look at the sales of the same make and model within 500 miles instead of 50 miles. If that still doesn’t yield any results, we may do a nationwide search to see what other similar cars are selling for. Of course, as you expand the search parameters, the insurance companies may try to push back or fight you on your proposed car value. If this option doesn’t work, you can also try expanding the year of the comparable car. Search by looking at car models that are a year or two older or newer of your totaled car. Most of the time this is only for rare or older cars.
Another issue that comes up when looking at what is my totaled car worth, especially with older cars that are well maintained by their owners for years, is that the comparable car sales approach may not result in a fair amount to you. In other words, you may have an older car that you know works and runs great because you continually do maintenance on the car, but the value of that car is going to be less than what you could buy another reliable car for. Unfortunately, that is the way the law is currently in Utah, which gives little relief to those in this type of situation. Often if they’re hurt in the accident and have an accompanying injury case, I explain that typically we can make up for some of the lost value on the property damage claim through the injury claim.
If you would like to know more about what is my totaled car worth, please contact me. We assist clients in all of Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan, and anywhere else in Salt Lake County and we can answer, “What is my totaled car
worth?” 801-738-9999. I look forward to discussing what your totaled car is worth in more detail.