What Happens If Your Car is Totaled in an Accident?
Total loss car accidents in Nevada are surprisingly frequent, with anywhere from 5-30% of all claims resulting in a total loss evaluation, depending on the age of the vehicle. If you’ve been in one such accident, you might be confused as to what “totaling” a car actually means, especially if your vehicle is still operable. To better understand what a total loss implies, let’s start with the concept of a total loss threshold.
Nevada’s total loss threshold is 65%, which is among the lowest thresholds in all of America, which means that Nevada has some of the highest rates of totaled vehicles. This simply means that if the cost of repairs for a vehicle would total to at least 65% of the vehicle’s overall cash value, then the vehicle is considered to be “totaled,” even if it technically could be repaired. Alternatively, your vehicle may be considered a total loss if it’s damaged in such a way that it would be unsafe to repair and drive. With that in mind, there are two primary things that will determine whether or not your car is totaled after a Nevada car accident: cost of repairs, and the value of your car.
When it comes to your repair costs, there isn’t usually much room for debate; you might be able to get a quote from a different mechanic, but odds are, it won’t vary much. The thing you can debate, then, is the valuation of your vehicle. Most insurers will look at a few key traits when trying to put a price tag on your car:
- General condition
- Immediate resale value
- Prices of similar, locally sold vehicles
It’s important to get a copy of the insurer’s evaluation and check it against the actual condition of your vehicle; simple clerical errors in mileage and condition, for example, could drastically alter your payout and whether or not your vehicle is totaled. Once your vehicle is totaled, you’ll receive a check equivalent to its actual cash value as part of your auto accident settlement, and then you’ll turn over your vehicle to your insurance company so that they can salvage it.
Can You Keep a Totaled Vehicle?
Yes, under Nevada’s salvage vehicle laws, you can indeed keep your car even after it’s been written off as a total loss. In order to do so, simply inform your insurance company of your intent; alternatively, if you’ve just received compensation, you can buy the car’s title back from the company. Either way, when you choose to keep your vehicle, you’ll still receive compensation equal to the actual cash value of the car, although its salvage value will be deducted.
However, just because you can keep your car, doesn’t mean you should. You won’t get any help repairing the car, so it’s usually only financially feasible to keep a totaled vehicle if you’re a mechanic who can repair it yourself for a far lower cost. Additionally, note that the vehicle will gain a “salvage” title; while it’s marked as such, you won’t be able to drive it, and you also can only sell it to approved agencies. After repairing the vehicle and having it inspected, you can change that title to “rebuilt,” but it will still be hard to insure or sell such a vehicle.
Total Loss Auto Accidents in Nevada
Since total loss claims tend to involve especially high settlement amounts, it’s important to talk to a Las Vegas car accident attorney to make sure you aren’t scammed out of fair compensation. Give Aaron Law Group a call at (702) 550-1111 to schedule a free consultation today.