How to Keep a Car After It's Totaled

When your car has been totaled, there may be circumstances under which you'd like to keep the car anyway. Convincing your insurance company to allow you to keep your totaled car may be challenging, depending on your particular situation and the insurance company. But there are some steps you can take to keep your car even after it's been totaled.

How to Keep a Car After It's Totaled

Step 1
Inform your state's licensing agency that your car has been totaled, and mark the title as such. Once repairs are completed, you should have the car inspected by authorities before you can drive it again.

Step 2
Keep records of all maintenance performed on the car. They can be used as proof of the car's value when settling the claim. But don't expect to receive full value for those repairs.

Step 3
Choose the repair facility yourself. Some insurance companies try to dictate the repair facility you use to get your car up and running again. Don't dismiss the shop entirely, but do your research, and pick the one that's best for your needs.

Step 4
Ask the insurance company to allow you to keep your total loss vehicle. The insurance company might deduct the salvage value from the payment to you. A vehicle that has an accident in its history is worth less than a vehicle without an accident in its history. When your car is a total loss, you have to claim a diminished value if you should decide to repair your car.

Step 5
Research to determine your totaled car's worth. Check the Kelley Blue Book and NADA Guides. Then take the average of all the values you find, and use that as your guide.

Step 6
Review your policy regularly to acquaint yourself with your rights, and ask about terms you don't understand.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tell your agent that you plan to keep the car as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the car will be auctioned off for salvage.
  • Take photos of the car before and after the accident to use as proof of value.
  • Insurance companies might only pay you the fair market value of your car. Be prepared that they won't be paying off any loans you may still have on the car.

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