Auto Insurance Fall River MA

Total Loss Claims

Fall River Massachusetts

Auto Insurance Fall River MA and Total Loss Claims

When Laura Jones’s 2010 Toyota Camry crashed into a post, her auto insurance Fall River MA declared it as a total loss, much to her surprise.  After all, her image of a totaled vehicle involved a dismantled chassis and collapsed roof, not something that appeared like minimal damage. Laura lived in Fall River, Massachusetts, which is the tenth largest city in the state and lies along the eastern shore of Mount Hope Bay.

What Makes a Car a Total Loss?

Contrary to popular belief, total loss is not determined by how damaged the car appears to be after an accident. Read on to discover the three reasons why car insurance companies consider a vehicle a total loss:

  1. The actual cash value, or ACV, of the vehicle is less than the cost of repair.

Factors such as depreciation, mileage, and overall condition of a car are the main factors that determine its ACV.

  1. State law dictates it is a total loss.

Some states have a specific damage ratio that determines if a vehicle is a total loss. For instance, if the cost of repair accounts for more than 75 percent of the ACV, then it should be declared a total loss.

In Massachusetts there is no state regulation to determine the damage ratio and so each insurer has created their own Total Loss Threshold, or TLT. To put this into perspective, Jones’s car was valued at $6,000 and the cost of repair was $4,300, which was higher than the TLT set by her insurer (70 percent), prompting them to declare it a total loss.

  1. The car cannot be repaired safely.

Prudent car owners will not risk their safety and of their passengers and the public by using a patched-together vehicle that has safety and structural defects.

Total Loss Claim Process

Immediately report the accident to the police and your auto insurance company if you want to speed up your claim process. After that, a claim adjuster will conduct a full assessment to determine if your vehicle can be repaired, or should be declared a total loss under your collision or comprehensive coverage.

One way to expedite the claim process is to have your car towed by your insurer’s appointed body shop, which most likely will not charge you with a storage fee.

After your vehicle is declared a total loss, you will sign the title over to your insurer.

What to Expect for a Payout

Your claim adjuster will determine the ACV of your vehicle, but if you feel that the amount is inaccurate or unfair, you can present evidence (such as receipts for car upgrades) to show that it is worth more than their assessment. You may also mention the trade-in value listing of comparable vehicles.

Should you still owe money on your now totaled car, take note that your insurer will not pay you based on your outstanding loan.  Hence, it makes sense to include gap insurance coverage to your car insurance policy if you have a new and/or expensive vehicle.

Gap insurance is typically added to your collision and comprehensive auto insurance. Most insurers only allow policyholders to buy gap insurance if they also carry collision and comprehensive coverage.

Contact us today. Explain your specific needs to us and we can give you customized insurance rates and coverage, thus allowing you to save hundreds if not thousands of dollars every year.