What is the Total Loss Threshold for a Car in PA?

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There are numerous issues that you have to deal with when you have been involved in a car accident. Not only are you dealing with the legal details and your health, but you must also deal with practical matters involving your car. If you have been involved in a serious accident, the insurance company may declare your car a total loss. This decision could result in adverse financial consequences for you.

To learn more about the ramifications of a serious car accident, contact Gibbons & Critchton, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers today.

When Does the Insurance Company Declare Your Car Totaled?

Many people think of a total loss as the same thing as their car being “totaled” with tons of damage. The overlapping use of terms may create some confusion for drivers who have been involved in a car accident.

The insurance company responsible for paying for the damage to your car will decide whether to pay for repairs or give you money towards the purchase of a new car.

The insurance company will compare the value of your car to the amount that it will take to fix it.

Here, the insurance company will use the cash value of the car based on how it has depreciated over time. This value reflects both the condition of the car and the number of miles that you had driven at the time of the accident.

The insurance company does not want to pay more than your car is worth to fix it.

Hypothetically, if you have $6,000 worth of damage to a car that is worth $4,000, it would not be economically feasible from the insurance company’s perspective to pay for repairs. They would simply declare your car a total loss and pay you for its value. You would be left with a check and need to purchase a new vehicle to continue driving — one which may cost more than you have.

While getting a new car may seem attractive at first, you may realize that being paid for the value of your old car is nowhere near enough to help you afford a new one. Your old car may have been fully paid for, and you may now need to take a loan to pay for the new one. Declaring your car a total loss may be against your financial interests.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Total Loss?

Having your car declared totaled is not necessarily a financial benefit for you. Many drivers end up underwater financially when their car is determined to be a total loss. They could end up with less money than they owe on their car payments. What they receive may not put them in a position where they can easily afford another car to replace the one that they have lost.

What is gap insurance?

In Pennsylvania, one solution that can help you as a driver is when you purchase gap loss as part of your insurance coverage. This type of insurance coverage is intended to ensure that you are made whole when your car is declared a total loss. Theoretically, you could be upside down on the amount of money that you still owe on your car, based on the wear and tear and condition of the car.

Gap insurance will make you whole, paying off the remainder of your loan, regardless of the cash value of the car. Gap insurance is a smart investment for you. It may not cost a lot of money (perhaps as little as a few extra dollars each month), but it can protect you when the insurance company gets very aggressive about declaring your car totaled. You would then not have to worry as much about fighting the insurance company, allowing you to focus on other things.

Can I Fight the Insurance Company on a Total Loss Declaration?

The best way for you to deal with a declaration of total loss when you do not agree with it is to negotiate with the insurance company. It is very rare for these types of cases to be litigated, although the total loss declaration is part of your dispute with the insurance company.

If you already have a car accident attorney who is handling your claim, they can continue to negotiate the payout for your car. Oftentimes, these issues are handled separately from the rest of your personal injury case because they are more immediate and short-term.

If the insurance company has made a declaration that you do not agree with, you can always push back. You are not obligated to accept what the insurance company offers just because that is what they have offered you.

Total Loss Cases Often Involve Serious Personal Injuries

If you are dealing with issues about whether your car has been totaled, there is a likelihood that you may have suffered significant injuries in a car accident. Property damage is far from the only thing for which you would be compensated if another driver were to blame for the accident.

You can and should pursue every dollar that you are due in financial compensation when someone else caused your injuries. In this case, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer. Your attorney can help you explore whether to file an insurance claim or lawsuit to seek a settlement or jury award for your injuries. You may be entitled to a substantial amount of financial compensation for your car accident injuries.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia Today

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation if you can show that the driver involved was to blame for what happened. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney can put you in a stronger legal position as you pursue the money you deserve.

Call Gibbons & Critchton, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers today to learn more about your legal rights after a car accident. Send us a message through our website or call our office today at 215-274-0173 to receive a free case evaluation.

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