North Carolina Total Loss Threshold

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When you have been involved in an accident, you are facing different losses. One financial consequence is that your car could be totaled, or you may need significant auto repairs.

Whether your car is repairable or is not worth fixing is something that the insurance company would determine after valuing your car and reviewing the repair estimates.

If your car is declared a total loss, it may present financial difficulties for you. Contact the experienced Jacksonville, NC, auto accident lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to discuss your case.

When Is a Car Declared a Total Loss in North Carolina?

The insurance company will decide whether getting your car repaired is feasible and makes economic sense. It may not be justified to pay for repairs that are worth more than the value of the car.

From the insurance company’s perspective, it makes more sense for them to pay you for the car’s value rather than repairing it. Having your car declared a total loss is not necessarily a win for you. It could cost you more to buy another car, or you could owe more on your vehicle through a loan than you receive from a check.

The insurance company does not get to make the decision unilaterally. Each state has its own threshold for when the insurance company can declare the vehicle a total loss.

In North Carolina, the insurance company can declare a car a total loss if the cost of repairs is greater than three-quarters of your car’s actual cash value. Your car’s actual cash value is the market value at the moment before the collision, factoring in the make, model, mileage, and overall condition of the car. The insurance adjuster may give their own value to the car instead of relying on an established estimate, such as the Kelly Blue Book.

The Insurance Company Uses Many Tricks to Look After its Own Interests

The insurance company will do whatever is in its best financial interest. It does not care about your bottom line, only its own. They could be opportunistic in declaring your car a total loss when you simply want it repaired.

Alternatively, the insurance company may insist on repairing your car when you just want a check to get a new one. You may not have the final say over how you are paid.

The insurance company may use numerous tricks to better its own financial position at your expense. If you do not want your car to be declared a total loss, it is crucial that the insurance company uses the right actual cash value.

Oftentimes, there is a difference of opinion about the actual cash value. The insurance company will use a figure lower than yours, so they are able to legally declare your car a total loss under North Carolina law.

The insurance company may also inflate the value of repairs, as judged by their own adjuster.

You may have your own estimate that shows that the repair cost is lower, but the insurance company is insistent that they would cost more.

You could end up in a more difficult financial position because recent inflation has made it harder for you to afford a car. You could have been driving a fully paid-for car without the need for monthly car loan payments. While some may think that an accident would be an opportunity for you to get a new car at the insurance company’s expense, it does not always work out that way.

If you want to keep the totaled car, it is within your right to do so. However, the insurance company may deduct the value of the total car from the amount that they are paying you.

Even a totaled car has some residual value. The metal and some of the parts that are still working could have a salvage value. Again, there is room for disagreement over the salvage value, and the insurance company could overstate it to pay you less.

You May Need to Battle the Insurance Company

You may have to fight the insurance company if they are trying to declare your car a total loss.

You are better off when you hire an experienced attorney to negotiate on your behalf.

Our lawyers deal with insurance companies on a daily basis, and because we’ve been their defenders in their past, we are in a position to negotiate effectively. Because accidents involving a totaled vehicle can result in severe injuries, you can always litigate the matters of bodily harm and property damage in court. In general, you may have to litigate if the insurance company is denying your claim entirely or they will not pay you enough money to compensate you fairly.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in North Carolina Today

The lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have built a reputation in the local community because we get results for our clients while providing exceptional customer service. You can take the first step today, which is contacting us to schedule a free initial consultation.

You can speak with an attorney by sending us a message through our website or by calling us today at 910-405-7751. We will never ask you to pay any money upfront out of your own pocket.

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