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Can the insurance company force you to total your car?

No, your insurer can’t force you to let go of your car, even if it considers your vehicle a so-called “total loss.” This basically means the car is worth less than what it will take to fix it. But even if they call it totaled, that’s just a matter of opinion. Your vehicle might still run, and you might want to keep it. So, what do you do if that’s the case? 

One thing to consider will be to get in touch with Shrable Law Firm Americus car accident lawyer if you believe the insurance company is treating you unfairly. We have a lot of experience in this area of the law, and we know how to stand up to big insurers. You can give us a call at (229) 349-6291 to learn more about how we may be able to help, or you can contact us online for a free case evaluation.

What is a total loss?

A car is considered a “total loss” or “totaled” if its actual cash value before the accident is less than the sum of the cost of repairs and the value of the car after the damage (the “salvage value”).

can insurance company force you to total your car

For example, your vehicle was worth $30,000 before the accident and the insurance company tells you it’ll cost $10,000 to repair all of the damage, and the salvage value is estimated to be $25,000. When you add the repair costs and salvage value, it comes to $35,000. 

Since that number is $5,000 more than the pre-accident value, the insurer will declare that your car is totaled. At this point, most car owners will simply give the car to the insurer, which will then either sell it for parts or transport it to a salvage yard.

What if you want to keep the “totaled” car?

If you want to keep the “totaled” car, you can, but it will now be a “salvage title” and can’t be driven unless and until it’s been given a “rebuilt title” by:

  • Having it purchased and repaired by a licensed rebuilder
  • The vehicle must pass inspection by a Department of Revenue’s approved private inspector or station

Should you choose to sell the car in the future, any prospective buyers will know that the car was totaled and repaired. 

What if you disagree with your insurer?

Again, it’s only the insurer’s opinion that your car isn’t worth repairing, but you don’t have to accept that opinion. If you don’t want to take your insurer’s opinion, consider taking these steps. 


You could try to talk with your insurance company and try to change their mind, but you’ll need strong evidence to support your argument. For example, pictures that show the condition you kept your car in could increase its pre-accident market value. You’ll also need to show them receipts from your mechanic showing that you kept up with maintenance. 

Speak with an independent appraiser

Ask a mechanic to provide an appraisal for the car and show it to your insurance company. There’s a chance that the insurer could change its original opinion and offer you a better settlement. 

Talk to a lawyer

There’s still the possibility that the insurer will change their decision to total your vehicle, especially if you have an attorney who’s zealously representing your interests. A legal representative can talk to the insurer on your behalf, and convince the insurance company that you deserve more than what you’re getting.

The Shrable Law Firm is ready to help

An expert  Americus car accident lawyer with the Shrable Law Firm might be able to help you if the insurance company is acting adverse to your interests or is treating you unfairly. If you would like to learn more, use our online contact form or call (229) 349-6291 to schedule a free consultation.

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