OVERLAND PARK, KS (May 3, 2010) – Totaling a car can be a life-wrecking event. Even without major injuries, there are still numerous headaches to deal with – from dealing with authorities and arranging temporary transportation to negotiating with your insurance company and purchasing another vehicle.
But there are some things that can be done to make the process less painful. Educating yourself on the real value of your car, understanding the insurance claim management process and working with your insurer and car dealer are three smart steps you can take.
“It’s never easy dealing with a car accident, particularly when your car is totaled,” said Dan Young, Senior Vice President, Insurance for CARSTAR. “It’s smart to do your research and make sure you understand the entire process and value of your car. This can save you a lot of money and headaches in getting your car replaced and your life back in order. Your local CARSTAR store is there to help you through the process, from arranging your towing service to working with your insurance company to helping you get back on the road.”
Young recommends the following steps for dealing with a totaled vehicle:
Research the fair price for your car: Use the automotive market websites to see what a car with your specifications and mileage would cost to replace. Make sure to get the average retail and average wholesale costs. Also, tally up improvements to the car – like post-purchase additions such as a sun roof, seat warmers, new tires, a new paint job or new electronics to make sure those improvements are considered in the evaluation process used to determine the actual cash value of your damaged vehicle.
Ask for explanations from your adjustor: Make sure that your claims adjustor takes the time to fully explain how they came up with the calculations about what they are going to offer you for your car. Provide documentation of your research and improvements to support your case.
Being underwater isn’t the end of the world: Many car owners owe more on their loan than the value of their car, thanks to long payment terms. When you total a car you’re under water on, you’ll most likely need to work with your insurer and dealer to do a collateral transfer. You’ll create a new loan, for a new amount. You’ll probably need to trade down in terms of cars to be able to cover the payments and balance of the previous loan. This isn’t a great situation, but will get you on the path to a better financial management in the long run.
Being an informed consumer can help minimize the trauma of a major car accident and get you back on the road quickly. Your car is typically your second largest investment, so knowledge equals power – and dollars -- in this case.
CARSTAR Collision Service offers high-quality, reliable repair service in 28 states and 10 Canadian provinces. Just call 1-800-CARSTAR when you need a vehicle repair and they will send the tow truck, contact your insurance company, arrange for a rental car and repair your car. For information and store locations visit www.CARSTAR.com.
CARSTAR is the largest group of branded collision repair centers in North America with over 400 locally owned and operated locations in 28 states and 10 Canadian provinces. CARSTAR is committed to providing consistent quality services to our customers and insurance partners and has repaired more than 2.5 million cars since it was founded in 1989. Our technicians and front office staff receive ongoing training to ensure they are qualified to work on any vehicle. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority as we consistently lead the industry in customer satisfaction ratings.