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Can I Buy Back a Totaled Car?

If you are involved in a car accident where the damage to your car is so bad the insurance company totals the car you can still keep your car if you want to. You will need to go through several steps in order to keep the car after it has been totaled. However you may have trouble getting insurance for a car that has a salvage title, which is the title given to cars that have been declared totaled.

Talk to a personal injury attorney today to find out if your car’s value can be covered by a personal injury claim. An experienced personal attorney injury can answer your questions and help you file a personal injury claim.

What You Need to Know

If you have been in a car accident and your vehicle was totaled, you might be wondering if you can buy back that vehicle. If it is a car you are fond of, you might be able to work out a deal with the auto insurance company.

If the car has no liens, they will have to pay you the actual cash value of the vehicle. If you choose to keep the car, they will deduct the salvage value or price that the car would have sold for at an auction from the amount you are paid for your car.

State laws do vary, so whether you can purchase back a totaled vehicle after an accident is dependent on the laws of your state.

Usually, after a vehicle has been deemed a total loss, a settlement is paid to the owner of the vehicle or to the lien holder. The damaged car is then sold to a salvage yard or sent to an auction where it sold to the highest bidder and then used for parts.

The insurance company keeps the proceeds raised from the sale of the totaled vehicle because they took ownership after they paid the settlement.

In some situations, particularly if the car is 10 years old or older, if you want to keep the car the insurance company will bypass the auction process and give you the car.

As an example, laws in the state of Illinois usually keep an individual from buying back a totaled vehicle from the insurance after it has been declared a total loss.

Can I Buy Back a Totaled Car?

It Varies From State to State

The Illinois Vehicle Code doesn't allow an individual to have the right to retain salvage after the insurance company has totaled the car unless one of two exclusions are met:

  • The vehicle only suffered hail damage or
  • The vehicle is 9 years old or older

If a state does allow individuals to buy back totaled vehicles, which have a salvaged title or a rebuilt title, you can negotiate with the insurance company to see if they will allow you to buy back your vehicle.

However, you need to act right away after the car is totaled and before it is sent to a salvage yard. Oftentimes, these vehicles can be rebuilt and put back on the road but they will have a salvage title indicating they were a total loss for a previous insurance claim.

How to Buy Back a Totaled Car?

If you wish to buy back your a totaled car and you live in a state that allows it, you should let the insurance agency know of this right away. They may deduct the salvage value if the car had been bought at an auction.

The Insurance company will deduct the salvage value from the settlement and that will be your total payout. Next, you would have to send your total loss paperwork and provide instructions on how the title will need to be branded as salvage.

At that point, you can make any repairs to the damaged vehicle in hopes that it can be deemed roadworthy again.

Should You Buy Back Your Totaled Car?

There are a couple of things to consider before you buy back your totaled car:

Can you replace your car with the money that the insurance company is giving you?

The payout for older cars with a significant amount of miles on them will be lower even if the car runs like it is brand new. However, an insurance company considers a car totaled when the damage is equivalent 60-70% of the value or higher. Therefore it is possible that your car can be repaired for less than the money that the insurance company is giving you.

Does this affect my insurance?

It is important to know that once a car is considered totaled by the insurance company, it is now a “salvaged” car. The government tracks salvaged cars to ensure transparency if the car was to be sold. In addition, you may find it difficult to insure your car under the “salvaged” title and be subject to additional inspections.

Will the car maintain its integrity?

It is important that your car is just as safe after repairs as it was before the accident. Cars are built to handle impacts, however replacement parts and any structural damage could affect its ability to protect you in the case of another accident.

There is no right answer to the question, however it is important that you gather the recommendation of your mechanic and insurance company before moving forward with the decision to buy your car back.

Consult with A Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been involved in a car crash, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. With the help of a lawyer, you can file a personal injury claim against the liable party in an effort to recoup compensation for the damages that you suffered.

Results vary on a case by case basis and are dependent upon the accident and the damages. Because personal injury lawyers are not paid until they get you money, you have nothing to lose. Schedule a free case evaluation today.

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