Total loss claims are filed when a vehicle has been so badly damaged that it would cost more than it`s worth to repair it. However, just what that worth is depends on how the car insurance company sets their standards, so you`ll need to know what this is ahead of time.
What You Will Need
First, you will need to have a police report. When the accident occurs, the police should be called immediately and an accident report will be drawn up. In the case of serious injury (which is quite common in total loss claims), you will need to get a copy of the police report after the fact. Nearly all car insurance companies will disallow damages that have no report, especially when it comes to a total loss claim, since an accident that big should definitely be marked down by the police.
It's important to call the insurance company as soon as possible after the accident, whether you call yourself, or have someone phone in for you. This ensures that they are aware of the problem and will be ready to proceed once the paperwork has been filed. A file for the incident will probably be opened at this point, awaiting any other information that you can gather.
After the fact, as soon as it`s possible, you will need to write down your own statement of what happened. This will help the insurance company process your claim and most won`t move forward without an accident statement, so make sure you get it out as soon as you can. Try to include anything and everything that could be relevant, since this is not a good time to make judgments. The insurance company will make the call on how important each bit of information is, just get all the details down.
Being Honest Will Help
The truth is that an insurance company is looking for holes in your story. There are a lot of people who just make up problems to try and get the insurance money, so understandably, it`s something that needs to be carefully researched.
It`s important not to lie as you go through the process of filing a claim. Even embellishing the facts can be a risky business, it will be assumed that everything you have been saying could be false, so watch it. If you are confused about things and the details of the accident, it`s a better idea to let people know where things are fuzzy, as opposed to inventing it.
What Happens to a Total Loss
If your car is completely destroyed and the insurance company can replace it for less than the repairs would be, chances are the vehicle will be declared a total loss and you`ll be given a replacement vehicle. This should be as similar as possible to your original car and in the same or better condition. However, keep in mind that you can reject the new car and the insurance company will give you the money they would have spent on a replacement, instead. This is a whole other process, but keep in mind that it is possible.
If your car is a total loss, file your auto insurance claim as you would normally and make sure that you have all the paperwork possible. Keep notes on all things pertaining to the accident and be honest, to ensure there are no problems with processing the claim. Should the car insurance company rule in your favor, you`ll be presented with a replacement vehicle or the money to replace it.