Vehicular collisions are almost always challenging and traumatic, even if you don’t suffer from serious injuries. These accidents can result in vehicular damages that are both costly and inconvenient, and these wrecks can even total your car.
Navigating these often-traumatic and expensive accidents can leave you in a precarious position financially, especially if you’re uncertain whether or not you totaled your vehicle.
Are you wondering, “How do I know if my car is totaled?“ Here’s what you need to know about totaling your car in Kentucky.
What Does it Mean to “Total” a Car in Kentucky?
People frequently use the term “total” when describing their cars’ serious damages, but what does this term mean exactly? The term refers to a vehicle being “a total loss” because of its repair costs in relation to the car’s value.
In Kentucky, a car is considered “a total loss” when the vehicle’s damages cost more than 75% of the car’s value. The technical definition of a total loss differs from state to state — in Indiana, the repair costs only need to exceed 70% of the car’s value, for example — so you should look up your own state’s definition if you reside outside of Kentucky.
Signs Your Car Is Totaled
Although totaling a car specifically refers to the cost of damages exceeding a certain threshold of the car’s value, different signs may indicate that you totaled your vehicle during a collision.
Some of these signs include:
- The car’s frame is bent
- The vehicle is older, meaning that the repairs are more likely to exceed the car’s value
- You can no longer drive the car
- The car leaks a significant amount of fluids
- The car is in obvious need of significant repairs
How Do You Know if Your Car Is Totaled?
You may have a hunch about whether or not your vehicle is a total loss from its damages, but you can confirm whether or not you totaled the vehicle based on your car’s value and the cost of repairs.
Firstly, you can determine how much your car is worth by looking up its Kelley Blue Book value. The Kelley Blue Book evaluates the car’s worth by considering the age of the car, miles driven, private party value — meaning the amount a buyer will pay a private owner — trade-in value, and Kelley Blue Book’s suggested retail value.
After you find out what your car was worth before your accident, you can then compare it to the cost of your repairs. For example, if your car was worth $10,000 before your wreck and the repairs will cost you or your insurance company $7,600, you totaled the vehicle because the cost of the repairs is 76% of the car’s value.
If your car is valued at $10,000 and the cost of repairs is $5,000, you didn’t total your car because that’s only 50% of your car’s value.
What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled?
If you have an insurance policy that covers a total loss, your insurance company will compensate you for the fair market value the car was worth.
Usually, insurance companies will pick up the totaled car, but you’re not required to turn over your vehicle. If you decide to retain the totaled vehicle, your insurance company will reduce the amount of compensation you receive by the salvage value of the totaled vehicle.
Salvage value refers to the amount of money the insurance company receives when selling a totaled car to a junkyard. A vehicle’s salvage value is usually around 20% of the vehicle’s fair market value. If you have a totaled car that is worth $10,000, the salvage value will likely be around $2,000. If you keep the car, your insurance company will compensate you $8,000 rather than the $10,000 market value.
What If My Insurance Doesn’t Cover a Total Loss?
The only way you can recover compensation for your vehicle if you don’t have sufficient insurance is by proving that another driver was at fault for your accident. If you can prove a claim against the liable driver, you can recover compensation for your totaled car from them or their insurance company.
Contact a Central Kentucky Vehicular Accident Lawyer
Navigating the aftermath of a vehicular collision can be tricky, especially if it’s unclear who was at fault. If you were involved in an accident caused by another party, you need to hire a Central Kentucky car accident attorney to assist you with your claim.
A seasoned car accident attorney can assist you by gathering and presenting evidence to prove your claim so that you can recover damages for personal property and injuries.
For legal support in car accidents and personal injuries in Central Kentucky, contact McCoy & Sparks Attorneys at Law. We can answer your questions such as, “How do I know if my car is totaled?” or “Can I receive compensation for my totaled car?” Call our Bardstown office at 844-459-9467, or you schedule a free case consultation here.