How do I know if insurance will total my car?

I was in a sideswipe accident the other day. My car looks like it could be repaired, but how do I know if insurance will total it?

Answer
I’m sorry to hear about your accident!
To start, car insurance companies say a vehicle is a total loss when the cost to repair it is more than the actual cash value.
Insurance companies determine this by sending a claims adjuster to look at the vehicle and get an estimate for repair costs, as well as labor and parts fees. Contrary to popular belief, deployed airbags are not solid indicators of a total loss unless the cost to replace them is more than the car’s value.
If your car gets totaled and you’re not your fault or you have collision coverage, then the insurance company will pay out the actual cash value of your vehicle.
If you are leasing or financing your car, then you will have to inform the lender. The leasing or finance company will receive the pay out to cover your loan balance. Anything leftover will be yours to keep or any remaining loan balance would be your responsibility to pay.
You may also have a buyback option, which allows you to purchase the vehicle from the insurance company after it’s “totaled out” and pay out of pocket for repairs to make it driveable.
As accidents and claims can impact your insurance, consider shopping around once you settle your claim. The Jerry app can find you the best rate from over 50 of the nations leading insurance companies.
Matthew Macgugan
Answered on Oct 20, 2021
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