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Your car is a total loss – now what?

Feb 22, 2022
Shamis & Gentile, P.A.
car accident on the road car crash

If you have been in a car accident and your insurer has deemed your car a total loss, you may well wonder what is going to happen next. Our total loss attorneys offer a guide to what is involved with a total loss insurance assessment.

How do companies determine if your car is a total loss?

When your insurance company declares your vehicle a total loss, it means that it has determined the cost of repairing the car is above a certain threshold percentage of its cash value. Normally, this percentage is between 70 and 80 percent of the actual cash value (ACV). The insurance company simply calculates the costs of repair and compares the total against the vehicle’s ACV. If the repairs exceed the prescribed percentage, the vehicle is declared a total loss.

The ACV is the actual market value of the vehicle at the time of the accident – not the amount you originally paid for the car. Cars constantly depreciate in value from the moment they are driven off the sales lot. Never use the purchase price as a means of measuring the current value of a car.

What happens when an insurance company decides your car is a total loss?

When your car is deemed a total loss, you are entitled to receive the full ACV from your insurance company – or a third party’s insurer, if they are found to be liable for the damages. However, there may be limitations on the applicable policy. For example, the ACV of your vehicle may be $25,000, but the policy only provides for $10,000 of cover. You will then need to get the remaining $15,000 elsewhere. It is for this reason that many motorists take gap cover to ensure that the full amount will be covered if a total loss occurs. If you strongly disagree with the insurance company’s evaluation of your vehicle, you do have options. You can either choose to accept the settlement, attempt to negotiate, or file a lawsuit.

When to hire a total loss attorney?

In most cases, vehicle damage claims can be handled by the claimant personally. However, when serious injuries are involved or when the insurance company’s assessment differs wildly from the claimant’s, and the insurer refuses to budge, then it would be a good idea to discuss the case with a total loss or car accident lawyer.

Contact a total loss attorney today

Shamis & Gentile provides outstanding legal services in Florida and New York. We distinguish ourselves because of our experience and resources, which we combine to handle any kind of case involving personal injury, personal injury protection, class actions/mass tort, contract disputes, among others. When you bring your case to Shamis & Gentile, you will always work with a seasoned attorney who has an excellent track record. We are progressive and trusted within the legal community, and we are often called upon to settle cases that other law firms may not be able to handle on their own. With us, you can rest assured that your total loss insurance case is in safe hands. Contact us and book a consultation with a total loss attorney.

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