So, you’ve been in an accident. A bad one. Maybe someone rear-ended you on the highway. Or, maybe someone hit your parked car. University City and other Urban areas are notorious for those types parked car accidents. You’re now faced with the question of whether or not your car is repairable. “Totaling my car vs. repairing it,” is a dilemma a lot of our clients at Paul Bros. have.

There is a definite process to how a decision is made. The process includes the consumer’s side in addition to the insurance company’s side. Understanding this process will help ease your tension through this extremely frustrating time. At Paul Bros., we want to help you understand everything you need to know about whether or not your car will be totaled or if it’s repairable and what to expect from the insurance company.

Totaling My Car vs. Repair: What Do I Need to Know?

How the insurance company decides between “totaling my car vs. repair” depends on a few different factors. Once you’ve been in an accident, you can submit the claim to your insurance company to get the ball rolling on finding out what you can expect. It is also wise to submit for a free estimate from your repair shop to get multiple opinions. At Paul Bros., we offer the option of getting a free online quote. We do this because we know that in some cases, your car may not even be drivable and you can’t make it into the shop. This way, we can look at the car via the pictures you submit. The insurance company is a little different.

How Does the Insurance Company Decide Between Totaling My Car vs. Repair?

In most cases, the insurance company will decide between the lesser of the two in terms of cost. Your insurance company will send out an adjuster to assess the damage of the car. They will take into account several different factors including:

  • How old your vehicle is
  • Your car’s mileage
  • The condition of your vehicle before the accident
  • The severity of the damage

After the appraiser takes a look at your car, they may ask you to submit estimates to see the total cost of repairs. Paul Bros. is more than willing to work with you and your insurance company in this process. The insurance company will next make their decision. If it is cheaper to repair the car, then they will pay to have the car’s damage fixed. If the cost of repairs cost more than what the assessment says the car is worth and there really is no option for repair, your insurance will most likely deem the vehicle at a total loss. When this happens, the insurance company will pay the fair market value of the car prior to the accident. This amount, however, will not include the deductible.

Decision Not to Repair

Finding out your car is a total loss can be a total bummer. More than a bummer actually, as now you’re wondering what to do next. You might even be faced with having to look for and buy a car right away. A lot of people think they have no voice in this process, but it turns out you do have some.

In most cases, if your car is declared a total loss, you really don’t want it back. The damage typically means way too much repair. Maybe you were cut out of your car and there is just no looking back. But sometimes a car is declared an economic loss which is just maddening for some drivers. This means that there could be room for repair but the cost exceeds the value and the insurance doesn’t think it is worth it.

The Economic Loss

The insurance company does not have to pay to get your car fixed and they are always going to choose the most cost-effective route. In this situation, your car may seem like it has zero value, but it actually does. It has value for the parts that have not been damaged by the accident. Any scrap metal left behind has value too. Most insurance companies have their own buildings and processes to handle the salvage process, but many drivers forget they actually a say here.

If your car must be towed, your insurance adjuster is going to give their suggestion as to where the car should be taken. They are trying to get an estimate from a body shop. Some drivers feel pressured to take their car where the insurance company recommends, but you can actually choose where to go. Choose a shop you trust (like us!), and we will get you an estimate as soon as your car is brought in. The estimate we give will be sent back to your insurance’s adjuster for a final decision. This entire process could take up a couple more days of your time. But afterward, you will have an amount for the salvage value of your car.

Totaling My Car vs. Repair – The Supplement

One of the tougher aspects behind “totaling my car vs. repair” is this thing called a supplement. Once the adjuster has figured out your salvage value, they will choose the lowest number. If it’s cheaper to get rid of your car and buy you a new one, they’ll write you a check for a new car. If it is cheaper to fix the car, they’ll get it fixed. The one complication, however, is if the cost of replacement minus the salvage value is within 70-80% of the estimate we provide, your insurance may still be totaled.

This is really frustrating for both you as the driver and we the repair shops. Estimators can only write about what they can see on the outside of the car. When you’re in an accident, the car could be more smashed on the inside than it appears to be on the outside. This would require us as the body shop to take apart the car to see what’s really going on. This type of additional work is called a supplement. The cost of a supplement can sometimes bring the cost of repairs up higher than the cost to replace.

So, What Should I Do?

When faced with the dilemma of “totaling my car vs. repair,” we know things can get frustrating. At Paul Bros., we are here to help you every step of the way. As we mentioned earlier, we offer free online quotes for your vehicle before you ever have to step foot in our doors. We will also work with your insurance company to make sure you are getting everything you need throughout the entire process. If you have more questions about totaling vs. repair and everything in-between, reach out! If you’ve been in an accident and need an estimate or help,m we’re here. Just click below!



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