What Do You Mean My Car is Totaled?
The Worst-Case Scenario in Car Accident Repair
Is there anything worse than a car accident? Doubtful. Something about watching one of your most expensive possessions collide into someone else’s most expensive possession that just ruins your day. And that’s before you get out of your car and start to deal with the other driver! We’re known for politeness in the South, particularly in towns as tight-knit as Winder. Yet even here, when people’s cars are involved, things get personal. Today, we want to prepare our clients to face the worst case scenario after a car accident, so that you’re never unprepared. Let’s talk about totaling your car: what does it mean, who makes that determination, and how does your collision repair shop affect this decision?
What Does It Mean to Total a Car?
‘Totaling a car’ is often used as though it means the car is completely destroyed. When a friend says they totaled their car down in Winder, they speak as though the car were swallowed up by the streets of Barrow County, never to return. The truth is a bit more complicated.
To total a car means different things to different insurance companies, as well as to those who are driving uninsured (super illegal, get insurance!) ‘Totaling’ is an economic decision about value, not a mechanical decision about damage. When the insurance company declares your car to be ‘totaled’, they are writing it off as a total loss. The agent or adjuster is making the decision that repairing your automobile is not worth the money that it will cost.
Who Decides If My Car Is Totaled?
The decision to total a car is made between the insurance agent (or adjuster) and the car accident repair shop that you take (or tow) your car to. When your car arrives, the mechanics and collision repair specialists will examine the car. They’ll take note of any required parts and also estimate how much time it will take to make the required repairs. This information will be combined into a collision repair quote, which will be shared with your insurance company.
Your insurance company is going to consider the value of your car in order to decide whether or not they are going to pay for collision repair. Most insurance companies will pay for repairs up to about 75% of the value of the car. There are various factors which go into making this determination, but most of these details are internal information which your agent will not share with you. The main thing for you to consider is the value of your car less the estimated cost of repairs.
Does it Matter Which Car Accident Repair Shop Does My Estimate?
YES!! Most insurance companies will only cover one tow after your auto collision. This means that taking your car to a different shop for a second opinion will costs you money out of pocket, even if the second estimate is free.
Unfortunately, insurance agents are overworked, underpaid humans like the rest of us. Their attention spans waver. Car accident claims are a great example of an industry where the best service is the service which is delivered quickly. Unless you have a top-tier policy at a major insurer, you’ll find that your agent becomes less helpful and enthusiastic the longer you deal with them.
After a car accident, the most important thing you can do is get your car to a shop that will give you a fair estimate. The best way to avoid totaling your car is to make sure that your auto body repair shop is going to give you an honest repair estimate, instead of trying to shake down your insurance company. The right shop will be full of experts with collision repair experience. They should be willing to sit down with you and strategize about how to avoid totaling your car.
Is your car in the wrong shop? Maybe Sky Collision can help. Click here for an online estimate. Do you need to talk to us right away? Give us a call to speak with a trained professional with years of experience.
58 West May Street
Winder, GA 30680
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