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How is the Price of a Totaled Car Calculated?

Posted on: July 3, 2017 by Edwards & Patterson Law

totaled car

With new automobile prices and repair costs soaring, you have an increasing chance of having a totaled car after an accident. Surviving the accident, or surviving without significant injury, is the main focus. But after that, what will you drive? Insurance companies have different criteria they use to determine whether or not to declare a car a total loss. Basically, companies factor how much it will cost to repair the car and compare that to the payout for a total loss. Of course, they will choose the option that saves the insurance company the most money.

Do not just accept the insurance company’s offer for your totaled car payout. Use the advice below to ascertain the vehicle’s worth and calculate a fair payoff. Often, the insurance adjuster will accept your reasoning if you have adequate documentation. You, not the insurance company, must act in your best interests in these matters.

Determine the Pre-Accident Worth of Your Totaled Car

Research independent vehicle pricing websites and publications to discover the actual worth of your vehicle. Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guides are well-known and reputable sites even the insurance companies use. Be sure to note your car’s condition before the accident, current mileage, and factor in any aftermarket or dealer-installed accessories. Custom wheels or audio systems add to a car’s value. Be sure to show receipts for such add-ons during your negotiations.

Calculate Taxes, Registration, and Title Fees

Vehicle insurance companies generally allow these fees as part of the payout for a totaled car because they are incurred costs caused by the accident. You wouldn’t have to meet these expenses if you were not replacing your car. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety website can provide you with the amounts of these and other necessary fees.

Allow for Rental Car Reimbursement

Rental car reimbursement should be provided for however long it takes to receive a check from the insurance company to purchase a new car. Some insurance companies pay this separately, while others include it in the totaled car payout. This expense is directly related to the accident that totaled your car, and should be covered.

Negotiate a Fair Payoff Amount

Always compare the offered payoff amount from the insurance company with the dollar figure you have calculated. If the amount offered is acceptable, you can move forward with the process. If the amount offered is not acceptable, share your research and the amount you have calculated with the insurance adjuster. Be sure to show acceptable documentation for every facet of your estimate. This demonstrates that you are not padding your estimate, but only asking for a fair payout for your totaled car. The adjuster may not have been aware of some modifications to your vehicle, so your documentation is important.

Car insurance is regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department, but they have no authority to determine an appropriate actual cash value (ACV) for any vehicle. However, they do have a process for consumers to file a complaint in the event an insurance company is treating you unfairly.

In addition, the car crash attorneys of Edwards and Patterson Law are your professional advocates in such matters. If your accident in eastern Oklahoma, Tulsa or McAlester resulted in a totaled car, we can investigate your claims and represent you to obtain fair compensation. Contact us online or by phone at 877-403-8417 to arrange your free consultation. We accept cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay no attorney fees unless you are awarded compensation.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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