What is a car owner entitled to to if their vehicle is totaled in an accident?

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What is a car owner entitled to to if their vehicle is totaled in an accident?

My brother was driving my truck when he got hit and now the insurance company has totaled my truck. Can you tell me what I am entitled to? I just want them to fix my truck not looking for car payment all over again.

Asked on June 28, 2011 under Accident Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the truck was "totalled," then the insurer is saying it *can't* be repaired. In that case, rather than pay the repair cost, the insurer will pay you the then-current value of the truck--i.e. what it was worth (so basically, what it would have sold for) as of just before the accident. This is often called the blue book value, and will take into account the truck's age, make, model, condition, and any additional or customized equipment you can prove. The insurer does this when in its judgment, it would cost more to repair the vehicle that the vehicle is worth. The insurer will typically pay you the truck's value, then it will take title/possession to the truck and can sell it at salvage for whatever it will bring (if it wants to) in order to offset it's costs...though if it leaves title with you, you can then sell it, or fix it if really want to.


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