A picture of the car hitting the railing on the road

My car is a Total Loss, Now What?

  • File an insurance claim as soon as possible. Total loss claims can take a long time to process, so contact your insurance company as soon as possible. 
  • Tow your car to an auto body shop. You can tow your car to any auto body shop, but make sure it is a shop that works for you, the consumer, not an “Approved” or Direct Repair shop chosen by your insurance company. DRP shops will only handle the claim in the best interest of only the insurer not you. Those shops will not be interested in your situation nor will they give you any good advice as it would go against the best interest of the insurance company. DRP shops sometimes will even release your totaled vehicle to the salvage yard without your written permission as they want it off there property as soon as possible.
  • Inspect your Car. Before giving your insurance company permission to move the car to their storage vendor, go and inspect the totaled car. Document the mileage, tire tread depth, exterior, and interior condition. The insurance company will be looking for anything negative about the car so they can make deductions to the value. DO NOT release your vehicle until you receive valuation paperwork from the adjuster or appraiser so you can compare it to the condition your vehicle is in. Clean out any personal belongings and check for any paperwork with any of your personal information. Clear any garage door codes or personal information on the smart display if equipped. The car may change hands several times after this and you do not want anyone to have access to any of this. Remember to remove the license plate as you may be able to reuse it.
  • Get your paperwork together. You’ll need to provide the insurance company with your car’s title. If you don’t have it, you can request a copy from the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. If your car is totaled, you’ll probably have to sign the title over to the insurance company.
  • Research your car’s ACV. Before you agree to an insurance payout for a totaled car, you need to do your own research on your car’s ACV. Look at auto websites, newspapers, and car dealerships in your area to see the current market value for cars like yours and use online tools like Kelley Blue Book. Do not just take the insurance appraisers opinion on the value.
  • Get a second opinion. When you receive the insurance adjusters appraisal, contact us immediately. Auto Claim Consultants offers a complimentary review of the insurance payout for the totaled car. We will conduct our own appraisal and compare it to the insurance company’s offer. If it is a low offer, 90% of the claims we review are at least short by 20%, we will explain the options you have and assist in helping you choose the best course of action. 
  • Review your car loan. If your car is financed, you’ll need to know how much you owe on your car loan. The insurer will pay settlement money to your lender first. Then you will get whatever money is leftover.