If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious car crash and your vehicle has since been determined to be a total loss, you are likely curious about how your insurance carrier will pay for the damage to your vehicle. You might also be curious whether you qualify for a vehicle replacement. Below are several important details for accident victims to remember about vehicle valuation.
What Constitutes a Total Loss?
Following a serious car crash, an insurance carrier will often begin by assessing the damage to your vehicle. If the cost associated with repairing your vehicle is greater than the cash value of the vehicle, it will be declared a total loss. If the vehicle has been determined to be a total loss, your insurance carrier is unlikely to pay to repair the vehicle. Instead, the insurance carrier will pay you the fair market value of the vehicle.
The Difference of a Total Loss in Kansas and Missouri
Some states define how high the total loss ratio must be for a party to declare that a vehicle was a total loss. For example, in most states, if the cost of repairs is between 70% and 85% percent of the value of the vehicle, then that vehicle is declared totaled. In Kansas, a vehicle whose costs of repairs are 75% or greater is declared a total loss. In Missouri, however, this amount is increased to 80%.
The Actual Value of the Vehicle
Some people think that insurance carriers decide on a vehicle’s cash value by simply looking up the vehicle’s make, model, and year in a guide like a Kelly Blue Book. In reality, this process is much more nuanced. Insurance carriers rely on several factors to assess a vehicle’s value including the vehicle’s age, mileage, features, and the condition that the vehicle was in before the accident.
Measuring Cash Value Against Replacement Cost
When insurance carriers pay an accident victim the actual cash value of a vehicle after a serious crash, the accident victim is only paid for the cost value of the vehicle immediately before the accident. Consequently, an accident victim should not expect to receive the amount they initially paid for the vehicle.
Consider the Role of Gap Insurance
If an insurance carrier does not pay you enough to cover the difference between your lease or loan agreement and the vehicle that was totaled, you might still be determined to be responsible for the amount remaining on either the loan or lease. In these situations, guaranteed auto protection (GAP) insurance can prove invaluable because this coverage can pay the difference between what the insurance carrier pays for the vehicle and what you still owe to the party who financed the vehicle for you.
Speak With a Knowledgeable Car Crash Lawyer
At House Law LLC, we have years of experience helping accident victims navigate issues with insurance carriers as well as in courts of law. During a free case evaluation, House Law LLC will discuss your available options to pursue compensation. Contact us today so we can begin fighting for you.