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What to do if you think your car is totaled

Some car accidents are relatively minor, and the cars may not even need repairs. On the other hand, some wrecks result in your car being totaled. Even if you believe it is drivable, the insurance company may decide not to repair it. Here are some tips to help if you are involved in such a situation.

Work with your insurance company to the best of your ability

Often, cooperation is what makes an insurance claim go smoothly. An acrimonious relationship with your adjuster can lead to a claims process seemingly from a horror movie.

  • Make sure your insurer approves everything you do, even the shop to which your car is towed. At the very least, you should avoid a storage fee. Also, if it turns out your car is not totaled, odds are that your insurer is picky about who gets to repair it. Having the car already at a right site speeds up the claims process.
  • Be honest, but stick with what you truly know. For example, you may believe the car wreck was your fault, but you have no way of knowing if the other driver was distracted, sleepy or drunk. Avoid assigning blame, and stick to factual recitations of situations to your insurance company and, if applicable, to police.
  • Meet all deadlines, and return calls promptly. It can be annoying to not hear from your adjuster for a week, only for him or her to get in touch and request a call back as soon as pos sible. Do not delay, though.

Of course, it is possible that you must deal with another driver's insurance company as well. Be as cooperative as you can.

Enlist the help of an attorney

In ideal scenarios, both drivers in a collision are insured (more than adequately), and the insurance companies are only too happy to sign off on everything. In real life, many drivers lack insurance. Some are teenagers, and some may be elderly drivers who forgot to renew a policy. In fact, forgetting to renew a policy happens to many drivers who live paycheck to paycheck or who are consumed with the many responsibilities of life.

An attorney can help you deal with your insurance company and with other matters when the other driver involved in the accident is uninsured (or underinsured). In fact, even if a case seems straightforward, many people prefer to simply let their attorneys handle insurance company matters. Attorneys help make sure payout offers are fair and that you do not miss deadlines.

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