We can’t always help what situations we end up in, no matter how hard we try. Sometimes, we forget to brush our teeth. Sometimes, we get into a car accident and our vehicle isn’t repairable. If your vehicle is one of the unfortunate ones that does total out, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the best settlement possible. When a vehicle totals out, it’s actually declared a total by your insurance company. A body shop like ours can’t deem a vehicle repairable or totaled, it can only do what the insurance company declares. In the state of Minnesota, a vehicle is declared a total loss once it reaches 80% of reparability. Once your vehicle has exhausted 80% of reparability, your insurance will declare it a total loss and will reach out to you to settle. The thing that most people don’t know here, is that this settlement is negotiable.

If your insurance values your vehicle at something lower than you feel is fair, you can challenge them. You have the right to seek your own appraisal of your vehicle, and should do so. This is the best way to know for sure if you’re receiving a fair value. Anything challenged with your insurance will need concrete proof, so make sure you document any and all upgrade receipts or appraisals you receive that could help your case.

Another thing you should know is that your insurance includes licensing fees in your settlement. Think about this for a second. When you go out and purchase a new vehicle, you have to pay to license it. So, if your vehicle is worth $5,000, and they give you a check for $5,000, you’re actually being shorted the licensing fees to purchase a replacement vehicle valued at $5000. There are numerous things you should be aware of, but this one is often overlooked by consumers.

Customers of larger insurance carriers like State Farm and Farmers need to be aware of the little things that are wrapped into the total loss of a vehicle. Your insurance carrier doesn’t mean anything personal by this, but they do cut corners to save themselves money. The relationship you have with your agent doesn’t transfer over to the claims department. Their goal is to resolve as many claims and total losses as possible, for the least cost to the insurance. If they save $100 on your claim, and save that same $100 on 100 other claims, they’re saving their employer $1000.

A car accident is a headache for anybody involved. It’s an unpleasant, high stress and oftentimes takes a physical toll. You do your best to keep a good standing relationship with your insurance, take care of your vehicle, and to drive safely, but let’s face it; accidents happen. Sometimes a vehicle is repairable, sometimes it’s not. The moral here you need to take away, as with anything, is to know what your vehicle is worth. If you know the value of your car, you should have no problems negotiating with your insurance.