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What To Do If You Want To Keep Your Totaled Vehicle

When you have suffered a vehicle accident, you are likely to be stressed already. And so, if you then get the news that your car has been totaled, it is likely to make things even worse. While this isn’t true for everyone, many people develop attachments to their particular vehicle. This is especially true for the mechanically inclined, as they may have spent many hours working on said vehicle. Either way, you don’t always have to get rid of a cherished vehicle once it has been totaled.


What Does It Mean When A Car Is “Totaled?”

Most people seem to think that a “totaled” car is one that can not be used or repaired. People often use this phrase when a car is deemed to be damaged beyond repair. However, when we’re talking about legal terms, it isn’t necessarily that simple. When your insurance company is deciding which repairs to cover and which repairs they won’t cover, your emotional attachment to the car won’t be a factor.

Instead, insurance companies make these decisions based on a simple equation. They take the estimated market value of the vehicle and compare it to the estimated cost of repairs. If the cost of the repairs is higher than the cost of replacing the car, the car is deemed to be totaled. It isn’t that the vehicle cannot be fixed: It’s just that the repairs have been deemed to be more trouble than the vehicle is worth. The bad news is that an insurance company will not pay to repair such a car. The good news is that you can still try to repair the vehicle yourself.


How Much Damage Does It Take?

Every state has a particular threshold for this sort of thing. For instance, in Texas, your car is legally considered to be “totaled” if the repairs equal or exceed 100% of the vehicle’s value. In most states, however, the threshold is more like 70-80%.

So, let’s consider a vehicle that is deemed to be worth $5,000. Let’s say you live in a state with a 75% threshold. If your vehicle is damaged, and the repairs are estimated to be $3,750 or more, your car would be totaled. However, let’s say you have a car that is only worth $2,000. In that case, it would only take $1,500 worth of damage to total the car. Some states, like New Jersey, use a “total loss formula” to calculate the matter on an individual basis.


Will My Insurance Pay For A Totaled Car?

You might be thinking that you have to junk your car before your insurance company will pay. However, this is not the case. Rather than covering the costs of a new car, they will simply pay you the value of the vehicle, minus whatever the vehicle would be expected to bring at a scrapyard. They will also deduct any money that you might happen to owe them for deductibles, etc. So yes, they will pay you for a “totaled” car, but don’t expect to get a whole lot.


Can You Drive A Totaled Car?

If your car has been designated as “totaled,” it probably isn’t in any condition to be driven. However, even if the car can still be driven, you cannot legally do so. First of all, you can’t get insurance and tags on a totaled vehicle, so that’s one big problem. Not only that, but it would also be highly unsafe to drive a vehicle in such poor condition. It could easily pose a hazard to you and to other drivers.

However, you can potentially drive the car again once repairs have been made. Whether you do them yourself or hire someone to do the repairs, you will be able to drive the vehicle when the repairs are complete. When you get insurance and registration for your repaired vehicle, there will certainly be an inspection involved at some point. You should definitely be honest with your insurance company and tell them that they are dealing with a refurbished vehicle. Chances are, they will be able to tell anyway.


Is It Worth Selling A Totaled Vehicle?

You might be thinking that you can sell your totaled vehicle after repairs have been made. If you are mechanically inclined enough to fix its problems, this might seem like a good way to make a quick buck. However, it’s not a good idea. When a car is totaled, there will be a record of that status. Even after it has been repaired, it will never have the same value because it is technically considered to be a salvaged vehicle. Thus, even if you do find a buyer, you probably won’t get enough money to make the whole thing worthwhile. When a car is labeled as a “salvage,” it loses about 20-40% of its value.



Although some people might consider it to be unwise, you may have good reason to keep your totaled vehicle. Maybe the car has sentimental value or maybe you just want a weekend project. No matter what your purpose might be, you might very well need some help in getting that vehicle back on the road. If so, you might be asking: “Where can I find the best auto body shop near me?” The answer to that question is Elmer’s Auto Body, and we can be reached at (856) 218-0202.

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