What Happens After I Total My Car?

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When the unthinkable happens and you are in a car accident, there is a chance that the car accident will total your car. You can total your car when the cost to repair the damage exceeds the actual value of the car.


If your accident causes your vehicle to be deemed a “total loss,” there are a few things that happen next.

A woman with a hand to her head makes a call next to her wrecked car.
A car crash that can put your vehicle at a total loss could happen at any time. Know the steps for what happens next.

File an Insurance Claim

Immediately after the accident has occurred and any immediate medical needs have been attended to, make sure to call your insurance company and file a claim. This will let them know that the accident has happened.


Once your insurance company is aware of the accident, they will give you a case number and an insurance adjuster will evaluate if your car is in fact a total loss, or if it can be repaired.


If the insurance adjuster decides the vehicle is in fact a total loss, your insurance company  may then work to get you a check for the value of the vehicle at the time of the accident, minus the deductible for your insurance plan.


If your vehicle was not paid off at the time of the accident and was still financed, the insurance company  may send the payment for the outstanding value of the vehicle to your lender.


Check Your Finances

Once either you or your lender have received payment from the insurance company for the value of your totaled vehicle at the time of the accident, take time to review your finances before purchasing a new vehicle.


If the vehicle was financed, you will want to check that the payment for the value of the car from insurance was enough to pay off the outstanding balance owed to your lender on the vehicle. There may be a chance that the value of your vehicle when it was totaled was not enough to cover the outstanding balance on your vehicle, in which case you may owe your lender additional money to pay off the totaled vehicle.


If the vehicle was paid off and you fully owned the vehicle, the amount of money you receive from insurance can be applied to a down payment on a new vehicle.


Purchase a New or Used Vehicle

Once you know where your finances stand, you can shop around and purchase a new or used vehicle to replace the vehicle that was a total loss.


To finance the vehicle you would like to purchase, you can finance through the same lender that your totaled vehicle was financed through, finance through the car dealership, or choose a new lender that may have a lower interest rate for you to finance through.


Once you purchase your new or used vehicle, make sure to update your insurance company so that they can apply coverage to this new vehicle.


Each situation for a car accident and totaled vehicle is different, but these are a few of the most common steps that you could possibly expect should you ever find yourself in this situation.


Do you need help financing your car? Let us know!

Let Camino help you. We want our members to find options that work for their needs. We offer competitive auto loan rates. Please go online at caminofcu.org, give us a call at 800-835-3400 to speak with one of our Member Advisors, or contact us for more information.