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Property Damage FAQ Fighting For You Like Family

Property Damage Questions:

What Is “Total Loss”?

It means the value of the repairs to your car exceeds the car’s current market value.

What Happens if My Car Is Deemed a “Total Loss?”

The insurance company will pay you for the fair market value of the vehicle, plus reimburse for any taxes and tags for that calendar year.

What if I Want to Keep My Vehicle, Even Though It Has Been Deemed a Total Loss?

You do have the option of keeping the vehicle, but your vehicle will have a new salvage title. The insurance company will pay you less than the fair market value if you decide to keep it, this is called deducting the “salvage value.”

How Does the Insurance Company Determine Fair Market Value of My Car?

  • The insurance companies have their own software for determining fair market value. They review the make, model, mileage, and condition of your vehicle.
  • You can check the value of your car on websites like and The insurance company value will not be exactly the same – but this gives you an estimate.

What Is the Process for Accepting the Insurance Company’s Total Loss Offer?

  • If there is loan on the car, you need to provide pay off information on the loan.
  • Locate the title. If you originally had a loan, and it is paid off, locate the “lien release.” If you have a current loan, payment first goes to the loan holder, and left-over money will go to you.

What is the process for accepting the insurance company’s total loss offer?

The insurance company will pay the leasing company or dealer for the total loss, not you personally, as you are not the “owner”.

My Car Is Totaled, but I Still Owe Money on the Car. What Happens?

The insurance company will apply the total loss fair market value to the loan and you will get to keep anything above the loan amount.

What if the Total Loss Offer Is Not Enough to Cover the Loan on My Car?

The first step is to determine if you have gap insurance.

What Is “GAP Insurance”?

It is insurance coverage, often sold by the dealer or seller, that will pay off any balance that remains after the total loss.

What if My Car Is Totaled, and I Do Not Have GAP Coverage, and the Total Loss Offer Does Not Pay Off My Loan?

You are what is considered “upside down” or “under water.” The loan balance, after the total loss payment is still owed. There is no mechanism to “waive” or “erase” that remaining loan balance. This is a difficult situation.

What if I Can’t Afford a New Car?

Unfortunately, the insurance company doesn’t owe you a new car, only the value of what was lost.

The Other Insurance Company Is Disputing Fault and My Car Is Totaled, What Do I Do?

You have the option of going through your own insurance to handle the total loss, but you will have to pay your deductible.

What Does “Liability Only” Mean?

It means that your insurance coverage will only apply and make payments to someone else. It does not apply to cover your repair or total loss.

The Other Driver Is Disputing Fault and I Have Liability Only. What Does That Mean?

It means that the other driver’s insurance company will not pay for your car’s damage to be repaired and/or your total loss. You may be responsible personally for the damages to your vehicle.

How Do I Recover for Property Damage When the Other Driver’s Insurance Refuses to Pay?

You should consult with an attorney about bringing a property damage lawsuit. Many attorneys handle property damage claims with the bodily injury claim.

My Car Was Towed to a Storage Facility After the Accident. What Do I Do?

You should locate the car as soon as possible. Storage fees can be expensive. Contact a lawyer to make sure the car gets moved.

What Is “Depreciation of Value” (DOV)?

After your car has been in a collision, the market value of the car is less than it was before the collision, even if all of the damages have been repaired.

Can I Make a Claim for the “Depreciation of Value” (DOV) To My Car After a Collision?

Yes, if you are not at fault.

How Do I Prove a “Depreciation of Value” (DOV) Claim?

Often you need to have an expert look at your car and prepare a report on the loss in value. You should consult with an attorney about how to make a DOV claim.

** FAQs are not a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon. **

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