You were in an accident and totalled your car. What comes next? Can you still get money for it? What happens with the car insurance company, and what is the value of your car now?
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how you can get the most money for your totaled car, so you can get back on the road again.
The Definition of "Totaled"
In the United States, car owners are required to carry vehicle insurance. There are minimum liability and other coverages, which vary by state, and they are provided car auto insurance companies.
If you’re in an accident, your car insurance company will determine whether your car is worth less than the cost to repair. For instance, if you drive a 2003 Nissan Xterra, it may only be worth around $2,500 or so. If repairs to the damage to your vehicle are estimated to cost $3,000, your truck is totaled.
So, to put that another way, your car can still technically be drivable and still totaled. Keep that in mind as you read this guide, as it means that selling your totaled car may not even be the best option for you.
With that said, let’s now look at how you can get the most money for your totaled car.
Negotiate with Your Insurance Company
If you’re in an accident, the first thing you should do is exchange insurance information with the other driver, if there is one. Then, call the police to file an accident report.
Once you’ve completed these steps, it’s time to initiate an auto insurance claim. Call your insurance company and furnish them with the police report. Depending upon your coverage, they’ll get back in touch with you with a quote for payment for your car.
Sell Your Car for Scrap
It is perfectly legal and fair to sell your totaled car even after receiving a payment from your insurance carrier. That means you can earn money for your car in addition to your settlement.
If your car is truly totaled beyond repair, consider selling it to a junkyard. There is valuable metal and other material in your vehicle that is in high demand. You probably won’t be offered more than a few hundred for your totaled car, but that money can go a long way toward replacing your ride.
The total value of the vehicle will depend on everything from the market value of scrap metal to the value of the salvageable parts.
Sell to a Mechanic
When we say "mechanic", we don't mean a chain, but a private buyer. List your car online or in the paper as a “mechanic’s special” and watch the offers come flooding in.They have the skills needed to fix the car and don't have to worry about high repair costs.
Now, if your car is nothing but a crumpled pile of metal, this may not work out for you. However, if your car is drivable or even almost drivable, there’s a good chance someone might want it.
There are thousands of people out there who love to work on “project cars.” Whether it’s your Xterra or a classic Ford, your totaled car would look great in someone else’s driveway.
Be sure that you are very clear about the title of your vehicle, as well as any mechanical issues you know about. In most states, your car will have a salvage title. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it should lower your expectations about how much money you’ll get.
Donate Your Totaled Vehicle
If you just want your totaled car gone, you can always choose to donate it. You’re obviously not going to get the most–or any–money from your car. But you can get a healthy tax deduction if you itemize it on your return.
When you donate your vehicle, one of two things will happen. Either your car will be repaired and then gifted or sold at a low cost to a family in need, or it will be scrapped, and the profits used to support the charity of your choice.
Not all charities accept totaled cars. Do a bit of research and choose a non-profit of your choice, then be sure to get a receipt for Uncle Sam.
Conclusion: Getting the Most Money for Your Totaled Car
If you still have questions about how to get the most money for your totaled car, whether from local buyers, junkyards, or car insurance companies, take a look at the frequently asked questions below.
What’s The Fastest Way To Sell My Totaled Car?
If you were properly insured at the time of your accident, your insurance company will pay you within a few days, assuming you accept their initial offer. This can be in the form of a check or electronic draft. Insurance companies get a bad rep as we tend to hear about the negative stories more than the good ones, but if you have a policy with a good insurance company, the process is usually fast, easy, and completely painless. Just make sure you heed their requests and provide the info they need on time.
If you are looking to sell the physical vehicle quickly, a junkyard is usually the fastest option for you.
Are There Any Other Ways I Can Get Money For My Car?
If you have the time, you can take your car to a local mechanic. Ask him or her to evaluate your vehicle and list the parts that are sellable and usable by others. Then, sell your vehicle for parts on an online marketplace like Craigslist.The value of your car can different greatly, but it's always worth checking this option.
Do I Have to Accept the Insurer's Offer on a Totaled Vehicle?
It’s okay to try to negotiate with your insurance carrier! Remember – they’re in business to make money. That means paying you as little as possible.
You have a little time – you don’t have to accept the carrier’s first offer. Instead, take a day or two to calculate you medical expenses, the actual value of your vehicle (not just the tax value) and even lost pay due to inability to work.
Send this information, along with supporting documentation, to your insurer and demand a higher payment for your totaled vehicle. The worst that can happen is that they tell you no.
Can I Still Get Auto Insurance On A Totaled Car?
The short answer is yes. You can get car insurance on a salvage title. However, you’ll want to be in contact with your insurance company to determine whether there are any limitations to your driving, premiums or deductibles.