September 16, 2011

3 Ways To Get More From A Total Loss Claim

A total loss claim is any car insurance claim in which vehicle repair costs exceed the vehicle's value. It's a serious type of car insurance claim, and for drivers, it can mean some heavy costs. Many drivers will look for ways to get more out of a total loss claim, and there are a few successful tactics that can greatly improve an insurance company's payout.

First of all, drivers should be sure to include all bills in a total loss claim that might be covered by an insurance provider. Most insurers will cover towing costs related to a claim, including towing after a car theft or an accident. Towing costs are covered under comprehensive coverage. Some insurers will also pay for the costs of vehicle rental, even if a driver didn't have rental car reimbursement coverage on his or her policy. Insurance companies will regularly cover anything directly related to the total loss claim, including bills for copies of legal records essential to the claim and mechanics' bills for assessing vehicle damage. It's important to check with an insurance provider immediately after an accident or other event in order to see which types of claims will be covered.

After a vehicle has been declared a total loss, drivers can also save money by researching their options before deciding whether to sell the totaled vehicle to an insurer. While insurance companies usually offer to buy totaled cars, they may not offer the best prices. Drivers should contact scrapyards to determine what a totaled vehicle is actually worth. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate with an insurance provider for a higher payout, especially if the totaled vehicle's value exceeds the payment offer from the insurance provider.

Finally, drivers can often get help with some of the costs of a new car after a total loss car insurance claim. Many insurance companies will cover title and tax costs on a driver's next vehicle after a total loss up to the value of the driver's previous vehicle. For instance, if a driver owned a car valued at $3,000 and he or she buys a new vehicle, tax costs for the first $3,000 of the new vehicle will be covered by the insurer. This can be extremely helpful when buying a new vehicle, as tax and title costs can easily be a few hundred dollars. However, some states prevent insurance companies from offering this type of assistance. Drivers should keep an open dialogue with their insurance company's claims department after submitting a major claim in order to better understand their coverage and to improve the chances of a high payout.