Generally, a vehicle is declared “totaled” when the cost of repairs are high enough that it makes more sense to just purchase a similar make, model, and year vehicle on the market. California uses a “total loss formula” which considers the cost of repairs, plus the scrap value of your vehicle minus the pre-accident value of your vehicle. If the value of repairs plus the scrap value of your car exceeds the value of just buying a pre-accident vehicle on the market, your insurance company may just give you the money to buy a pre-accident vehicle. It is important to understand that the money you will be given in a total loss won’t be the value of your new vehicle, but rather something closer to the Blue Book value of your car before your accident.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the pre-accident value that an insurance adjuster places on your vehicle may not actually be how much you would have to pay to buy a similar car in your local market. Insurance adjusters may use the Blue Book value of your car, or they may figure this estimate based on a model of your vehicle that doesn’t include bells and whistles like automatic windows. When looking at the settlement your insurance company is offering, it may be wise to look at local ads for cars in your area. Find ads of similar cars. If the settlement being offered is less than what it would cost you to purchase your vehicle in the local market, you may be able to ask for a larger settlement.
According to Kelley Blue Book, your insurance company may also declare your vehicle a total loss if your vehicle cannot be safely repaired. Some accidents cause so much damage to a vehicle that it simply isn’t road worthy anymore. At the end of the day, if you are facing a total loss, it is important to understand your rights and options. You won’t likely be able to take the money for your total loss and be able to buy a new car, but by understanding how insurers determine the value of your claim, you may be able to fight for a better settlement.
If you have questions about your rights and options, consider reaching out to The Law Offices of Bruce S. Meth, car accident lawyers in San Diego, California. Our attorneys can review your accident, review the settlement being offered by insurers, and fight to get you the settlement you may deserve under the law. We can help present evidence to support your claim and may be able to fight for your claim either inside or outside court. Visit us at https://attorneymeth.com/ to learn more.
Law Offices of Bruce S. Meth
Chula Vista Office (main office)
815 Third Avenue, Suite 115
Chula Vista, CA 91911
Mission Valley Office
1761 Hotel Court, Suite 250