Have you been told your car is a total loss? What Next?
Published: July 10, 2019
Generally, a vehicle will be considered “totaled” by an insurance company if the cost to repair it would exceed its value. A car may be totaled as a result of a major accident or other types of damage, such as flood/water damage. Either way, if your car has recently been declared a total loss by your insurance company, you may be wondering how to go about replacing your vehicle and what to expect throughout the process.
How much will I get from my insurance company?
Your insurance company will determine the actual cash value of the vehicle, minus your deductible on your comprehensive or collision coverage, as well as any applicable state taxes and/or fees. They will then give the payment to you/the vehicle owner, your lender or both.
What if I’m still paying off my existing auto loan?
If you’re still making payments on your vehicle, you should contact your lender to let them know what happened. You should continue to make payments even if there is a claim filed by the insurance company as your credit may be affected due to missed payments. The lender still has the right to full repayment of the loan, even though you may no longer have your car. The lender may ask for a letter of intent from your insurance company letting them know that they will be receiving a check once your claim is fully processed.
Using Your Insurance Check to Buy a New Car
If your car is paid off, then you can expect your insurance company to issue you a check directly rather than paying off your lender. You may want to look into your auto insurance policy regarding rental car reimbursement, since you could be without a vehicle during this time.
Applying for a New Car Loan
If you need to take out a new auto loan to purchase your replacement vehicle, you can apply for one anytime. Research your options and be prepared to speak with a lender about your existing auto loan on your credit report.
Patience is a virtue when replacing a car after a total loss. The process can sometimes be drawn out, but once your claim is finalized, you should receive a check to help replace your vehicle.
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