totaled car on flatbed

4 Signs That Your Car Is Totaled After an Accident

There are over 6 million car accidents every year. 

If you were in one of these accidents, you might be wondering if your car is totaled. Do you need to start shopping for a new one?

It depends. 

We’ve put together this guide to help you understand what it means when a car is considered “totaled.” 

So let’s get started! 

Is Your Car Totaled?

Just because your car is banged up doesn’t mean it’s totaled. 

It depends on what the insurance company thinks. In some cases, you may look at your car and thing, “That’s definitely totaled,” but your insurance company might think it can be saved. 

So how do you know if your car is totaled?

Here’s what you need to know. 

It Depends on the State 

Every state has a different definition of what “a totaled car” means. A car that’s considered totaled in Iowa won’t be considered totaled in Texas. 

So talk to your insurance company. 

They’ll understand the state regulations and be able to fill you in on the details. 

It Comes Down to Value

Most states determine whether or not a car is totaled by looking at its value and the cost of necessary repairs. 

Let’s say your car was worth $5,000 before the accident. If the repairs only cost $3,000 (no matter how extensive they are), there’s a good chance your car can still be saved. But if the repairs cost $6,000, you’d have to pay more money than the car is worth to get it running again. 

When this happens, your insurance company declare the car totaled. 

What Happens If You Total Your Car?

If you total your car in an accident, your insurance company will pay you money equal to the value of the car before the crash. 

So again, if your car was worth $5,000 before the accident, your insurance company will give you $5,000. You can use this money to go buy another car. Again, this might vary depending on where you live, so ask your insurance company plenty of questions about it. 

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While $5,000 might not seem like much (and not always enough for a new car), the insurance company does this for a reason. 

First of all, it helps them save money, and insurance companies are all about saving money. In our example above, the insurance company would be out at least $1,000 if they tried to fix your car. 

This money also gives you a way to get back on the road as soon as possible. You won’t have to wait around for repairs, and you can ensure you get a car that’s safe. 

You Should Consider Hiring a Lawyer 

It’s always a good idea to consider hiring a lawyer after a car accident. This is especially important if you think your car is totaled but your insurance company has a different opinion. 

A lawyer can take care of the paperwork for you, work with your insurance company, and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. 

But don’t just settle for the first layer who pops up on Google. Make sure you do your research and “shop around” so you can get the best car accident attorney for your needs. 

Signs You Totaled Your Car 

It might take your insurance company several days to determine if your car is totaled. But there are a few signs you should know about that can tell you the same thing. 

Keep in mind, if you noticed one of these warning signs, it doesn’t mean your car is 100% totaled. But it does mean there is a very high chance your car won’t make it back on the road again. 

So here are a few signs you totaled your car. 

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1. The Car Can’t Be Driven 

If you can’t drive your car to the repair shop, there’s a good chance it’s too far gone. 

But this is more than a simple “car won’t start” issue. The engine might be totally destroyed, or there might be pieces of the frame bent out of place that obscure the driver’s view. 

2. It Has a Serious Leak

Even small leaks are big problems when it comes to your car. If there is some sort of fluid, such as radiator fluid or brake fluid, gushing from your car after an accident, you’re looking at a very expensive repair. 

In most cases, a leak like this means you totaled your car. 

3. The Frame Is Destroyed 

Rebuilding your car’s frame costs a lot of money, and that doesn’t include the cost of repainting it. If your car is over five years old and has extensive frame damage, most insurance companies will declare your car totaled. 

The cost of this type of repair can get over $10,000 easy. 

4. It Can’t Be Repaired Safely

Sometimes a professional can repair your car after an accident, but not safely. If there’s too much damage, a mechanic might not feel secure working on your car. In this case, your car is most likely totaled. 

How to Recognize the Signs That Your Car Is Totaled 

Just because you were in a bad accident doesn’t mean you totaled your car. It comes down to how much your car was worth before the crash and how much it will cost to repair. 

If you totaled your car in the accident, it’s time to start shopping for a new one. 

Not sure where to look or what type of car to buy? 

We can help! Make sure you take a look at the rest of our blog!