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Houston Car Accident Insurance Claim: Totaled Cars

Picture of totaled car at accident scene for Houston car accident insurance claim

If your car is significantly damaged, the insurance company may consider it totaled for your Houston car accident insurance claim.

After a car accident, usually you will start by filing a Houston car accident insurance claim. This helps you seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company for your damages and injuries. A crash can cause a significant amount of damage to your vehicle. In some cases, the insurance company may even consider your car a total loss. 

Also known as a totaled car, this means that the damage is so much that it’s likely cheaper to buy a similar car than to repair the damage. If the insurance company totals your car, there are several things you should know, as it can make your case a little more complicated. In this article, we’ll go over some key things to note about totaled cars and how they affect auto insurance claims.

How Will I Know if My Car Is Totaled During a Houston Car Accident Insurance Claim?

After an accident, the damage to your car may be deceiving. Even if the damage doesn’t look bad, your car may still be a total loss. Therefore, generally you will need to wait to hear from the insurance company. They will investigate and compare the car’s value to the estimated repair costs.

This means you should take all the normal steps after the accident, including taking pictures, getting a police report, and filing a Houston car accident insurance claim. 

From there, the insurance company will get an estimate to repair the damage and also look at the value of the car directly before the crash. This is the car’s actual cash value (ACV). If the ACV and the repair costs are almost the same or the repairs will be more, then usually it means your car is totaled.

If this is the case, then the insurance company will let you know and offer you a number for Houston auto accident compensation that generally matches their estimate for your car’s ACV. 

What Does it Mean When a Car is Totaled After an Accident?

If a car is totaled, it means that the insurance company believes it’s not worth repairing based on the estimated costs. 

Most states have a specific threshold for totaling cars. Some use a specific formula while others use a simple percentage. For instance, in Texas the total loss threshold is 100%, meaning that insurance companies must consider a car totaled if the repair costs are equal or higher to the actual cash value. Other states may have lower thresholds. 

However, insurance companies also have their own internal thresholds that may be slightly lower than the state’s. Therefore, in some cases the insurance company may even decide the car is a total loss for your Houston car accident insurance claim even if the repairs cost a little less than the value of the car. 

How Will the Insurance Company Determine the Value of My Car During a Houston Car Accident Insurance Claim?

Of course, this entire system hinges on the estimated value of your car right before the crash. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to calculate this.

Generally speaking, the actual cash value of your car is determined by comparing it to similar cars in the area to get a current market value. Essentially, this is what you could have sold your car for right before the crash. 

There are several ways to determine this value. Typically, insurance companies will have an appraiser estimate the value of your car. This appraisal is what they use to decide whether to total the car or not.

The ACV appraisal takes many things into account, including the year, make, model, mileage, wear and tear, accident history (before the current crash), as well as any aftermarket additions to the vehicle. Usually they also look for comparable cars within a certain geographic area, such as within 25 miles, to get a correct value, as geography can play a role in how much you would have been able to sell your car for right before the accident. 

How Does Houston Auto Accident Compensation Work for Totaled Cars?

If the insurance company determines your car is a total loss for your Houston car accident insurance claim, then you will typically receive compensation for the entire ACV. The insurance adjuster will typically offer you that amount in a claim settlement instead of paying for repairs on your vehicle. 

If you accept the settlement for your totaled car, then the insurance company will typically auction it off for salvage. This helps them recoup some of the costs of settling your claim.

Things to Keep in Mind If Your Car is Totaled For a Houston Car Accident Insurance Claim

Of course, there are several things to consider if your car is totaled for your Houston car accident insurance claim. For instance, if you still have a loan on the car, you will still have to pay on the loan. Also, if you want to keep your car, you typically can even if the insurance company has totaled it. 

You Still Have to Pay the Loan for the Car

A totaled car doesn’t mean you no longer need to pay on the auto loan. If you still have a loan on the car, you still have to pay it back. Tell the insurance adjuster that you owe on an auto loan for the damaged car. In most cases, they will write the check to the loan provider to pay the loan in full. Anything extra will go to you. 

Of course, sometimes the actual cash value of the car won’t cover the entire loan because of depreciation. If this is the case, then you’re still responsible for the rest of the loan, as the insurance company is only liable for the market value of the car directly before the crash. If you have gap insurance, it will usually kick in to pay the difference on the loan. However, if you don’t have gap insurance, you will need to make arrangements to pay the rest of the loan. 

You Can Still Keep the Car if You Wish

Now, in many cases you can still repair totaled cars. Sometimes you can even drive them safely without repairs. Always check with a certified mechanic to make sure for safety, though.

For instance, your car may have significant cosmetic damage that costs more to fix than the ACV. It may still be drivable, but the amount needed to repair it to its former glory may outweigh the car’s value before the accident. If you want to keep your car even after the insurance company totals it for your Houston car accident insurance claim, that is usually an option. You’ll just need to tell the insurance adjuster. 

Remember, though, the insurance company usually sells totaled cars for salvage to help offset some of the costs. Therefore, if you want to keep the car, they will typically deduct the estimated salvage value for your car from the final settlement.

What if I Don’t Agree With the Insurance Company For My Houston Car Accident Insurance Claim?

Unfortunately, disputes for a Houston car accident insurance claim are pretty common. There may be several reasons you don’t agree with the insurance company regarding your totaled car. Your Houston car crash attorney can help you negotiate to ensure you receive fair treatment from the insurance company. Some common disagreements over totaled cars include:

Negotiating the Actual Cash Value of the Totaled Car

If your car is totaled in an accident, then the insurance company is liable for paying you the ACV of the vehicle. However, insurance companies often offer a lower settlement for the car value than it’s actually worth to help save money. 

It’s important to know that you can negotiate the actual cash value of your car for your Houston car accident insurance claim. If you think the settlement offer is too low, then you may need to dispute this with the insurance company. To do so, you will need evidence of the car’s fair market value before the crash. Some helpful sources include car valuation sites like Kelley Blue Book or a third-party car appraiser. Your attorney can help you gather this evidence and negotiate for a fair settlement for your case. 

Get Help With Your Houston Car Accident Insurance Claim from DeSimone Law Office

When you need a Houston car crash attorney, choose our experienced professionals at DeSimone Law Office. We have helped settle thousands of disputes from car accidents and are here to fight for your rights after a crash. Our team provides legal advice and services for Houston car accident insurance claims as well as lawsuits. Get in touch now to schedule a free case evaluation with our lawyers and learn how we can help with your case.

This entry was posted in Car Accidents, Houston Auto Accident Attorney, Insurance Claims, Property Damages, Traffic Accidents. Bookmark the permalink.
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