You were just in an accident, and luckily, you are okay. But the insurance company says your car is totaled. What can you do? Continue reading to learn your options for a totaled car, including what to expect from a collision repair auto body shop.
To better comprehend the information provided by your insurance carrier, it helps to fully understand the meaning of a totaled car before moving forward with any repair or disposal decisions. Basically, your car is totaled because the cost to repair it back to its original condition prior to the accident would be higher than the current market value of the vehicle itself. For example, if your car’s pre-collision value was $1000, but the cost to repair all the damages is over that amount, your insurance company will deem the vehicle a total loss.
A totaled vehicle is also called a “salvaged” or “total loss” vehicle. To assess the cash value of a car, insurance companies typically rely on vehicle valuation and automotive research companies like Kelley Blue Book® or NADA®, along with other third-party vendor databases. They may also use Certified Collateral Corporation® (CCC) values in your region.
Salvaged and Rebuilt Titles
If your insurance company declares your vehicle a total loss, you have the option of making a claim and accepting the insurance money to put toward another vehicle. But if you insist on keeping and repairing the vehicle, the vehicle will be issued a salvaged title, also known as a “salvage certificate.” With a salvaged title, you cannot legally sell, drive, or register the vehicle in its totaled condition.
Once you have your car repaired, you will need to apply for a new title before you can do any of these things. When you have a totaled car repaired, it will not have a clean title. Instead, it will be granted a “Rebuilt Salvage,” “Revived Salvage,” or “Reconstructed Salvage” title. This simply notifies the public that the vehicle has been extensively rebuilt. Furthermore, it can be a challenge finding an insurance carrier to insure a rebuilt title vehicle. If you do find a company to insure it, the premiums will be high.
Collision Repair for Totaled Cars
It is certainly possible to repair a totaled car, so long as you are willing to pay the money to get it done. Additionally, it can be a challenge finding an auto body shop willing to put in the time and labor for an extensive collision repair. Most often, a totaled car requires all new parts, including frames, doors, windows, lights, airbags, wheels, and internal parts. This can be quite expensive, and it can take months to complete. But for vehicles that have special meaning, this degree of time and money can be worth your while.