What Should I Do with My Totaled Car?
Until about the mid-nineties, it was fairly rare to have a vehicle damaged in an accident and then deemed to be a total loss, unless it was in a very serious collision. But, with today's sophisticated vehicles, what used to be a minor fender bender can now take it right out of circulation and into a junkyard.
Here at A Superior Collision Shop , we see cars totaled all the time by insurance companies here in Campbell , CA . The entire concept is a little confusing for many people, so here are some definitions and explanations about how cars are totaled, why they are totaled and a brief description of the process.
So let's ask the $64,000 question--what does a total loss mean? It's simple, when the cost of repairing a vehicle is more than what the vehicle is worth, that's when it is considered a total loss. Why spend $5,000 on an older car that is worth about $3,000? So, total losses are unfortunate, but they're a reality and if you're very connected to your damaged car, it might be bad news for you.
One of the main reasons behind this evolution is the simple fact that within the last decade, the costs associated with repairing cars have nearly doubled in some cases. Also, people are driving older vehicles longer now because cars last longer. On top of it, many people are still cautious about the economy, especially during an election year. That means folks are holding on to vehicles instead of buying a new one every few years.
Another option is when the insurance company totals a vehicle and the owner wants to buy it back and fix it. But, will it cost you too much to repair the vehicle? Every situation is different, so weigh all of the pros and cons, because in the end you may be spending too much money to fix a vehicle that could break down for other unrelated reasons in the future.
If you buy the car back, there is some additional work involved before you can legally get it back on the road. First, you will have to re-register it with a salvage title and after you've done any repairs on the car, you will probably need to re-smog it. The vehicle will also have to be inspected by the DMV and miscellaneous paperwork will have to be filed.
Many people buy their vehicles back from the insurance company and then do some minor cosmetic repairs to get them road-ready. This is another viable option, but be certain that the car is safe to drive before you take it out. This way, you can keep your car and if there is any money left over, you can pocket it. But, never compromise your safety in order to save a few bucks.
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Sources: DMV.org, NHTSA and AAA