Dealing with what goes Into A totaled car settlement is one of the more difficult aspects of any auto claim. The valuation of the vehicle is going to be the hard part.  It’s never easy to replace a good, dependable used car and the claim process is going to happen fast.

Your claim may be handled by the original claims adjuster or the insurance company might assign the claim to the Totaled Vehicle Specialty Department.  You will be entitled to the Actual Cash Value of your vehicle, this is also sometimes referred to as the ACV value.  The ACV will be determined using the year, make, model, mileage condition and the options that are available to comparable vehicles on the market.  (Sound systems, power windows, power doors, etc.)  Each vehicle will be valued using its own individual merits.

Who determines if I have a totaled car settlement coming my way

Most companies usually use a third-party, individual valuation service to determine the Actual Cash Value of the car.  If the company is thorough it’s possible that may provide you with a list of 20 or more comparable vehicles in the area that will be available.  The problem with this method is that sometimes the vehicle will be located in Des Moines, IA and you will have no way to actually see or evaluate the car.  It will be at this moment that the claim clock will start ticking.

It will now be up to you to come up with your own valuation and you’ll have to do some homework.  One of the fastest and easiest ways to obtain a value on your car is to use one of the evaluation systems available on the internet, for example  Kelley’s Blue Book or Edmunds, they will ask various questions about the vehicle such as the year, make, model, mileage, condition and options.  This will also entail you ranking several items as either Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor.  When you zero in on the final price choose the Purchase From Private Party pricing.  This will be the closest number to the Actual Cash Value.  This number used to be a little on the high side but recent company valuations have tended to be pretty close to the mark.  If the number offered seems unreasonable contact your agent.  Bear in mind that your vehicle is expected to be in full working condition, they will not take into consideration that you just installed a new transmission or invested in a new air conditioning system.

If desired, the insured is usually allowed to buy the car back.  There are sometimes instances when they are unable to.  For example, if the customer owes more on the loan than the ACV, the lien holder may not allow the client to keep their vehicle.  This is handled on a case by case basis.

Salvage values, the price you pay to buy back your car is determined by historical sales of similar vehicle with similar damage.  Some vehicles will have a higher salvage value than others due to the demand for that vehicles parts.

After the company makes their offer they will withdraw any payments made to the rental car company.

If any part of the process seems unreasonable contact your agent, but our experience lately is that the companies have been making fair and reasonable offers.

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