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Your vehicle has been deemed a total loss

…now what?

Use the guide below to help determine what you're next steps should be.

Do your own research to determine the retail value YOUR vehicle.

Use sites such as, or to find comparables or retail values. You can also call your car sales professional to help you determine the fair market value. Keep in mind that book value and fair retail value may differ. Use the highest valuations and comparables that you can justify. You may also be entitled to sales tax so be sure to check if this applies in your state. Recent major repairs may also affect value.

Meeting of the minds where you and the insurance company agree on the value.

This is 100% negotiable!

Time for "Check in Hand"

After you have payment in hand, remove your personal contents from your vehicle and release the vehicle for the insurance company to pick up. Some mechanic shops, tow companies and collision repair shops may require a release in writing. Be sure to ask your shop!

Who does the heavy lifting?

Insurance company will arrange to pick up the salvage and pay the fees to the shop or tow yard.

Be Warned…the new trend is for insurance companies to demand you release the vehicle or threaten you with taking away your rental or stop paying storage fees until you release the vehicle to them without payment. Then they tow it away, usually hundreds of miles away, where their appraiser is waiting for its arrival so they can nit-pick it and then offer you a settlement. This is like “check is in the mail” strategy! Be cautious allowing an insurance company to pick up YOUR vehicle and send YOU a check later!

Recently, we have learned that some insurance companies want to immediately pick up salvage vehicles and pay YOU later…DO NOT allow this to happen as YOU will lose leverage. These companies are terminating rental vehicles and threatening to stop paying for storage fees after certain dates if customers don’t comply.

You can file complaints here if you are being  threatened!