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car total loss, 100% their fault

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What is the name of your state? California

The Situation:
Me: in bed asleep at 3am
My car: legally parked on the street in front of my residence
The accident: Two taxi's from the same company were in an accident w/ eachother and one of them spun into my car with enough force to shove it up over the curb onto the grass, ruining both my front wheels/rims, driver side fender, front axl, and bunch of other front end damage on the underside.

The insurance company for Yellow Cab admits it is 100% their fault. Because the only person who handles claims at this company was out on vacation when this accident happened, I had to fight with them to just get my car towed off the street and get a rental car. They said I had to wait until the woman got back or go through my own insurance. Jerks. At any rate, I eventually got them to tow it to my mechanic who said it was all repairable and the adujuster came out and agreed with him. Then the adjuster called me today and said they may have to write my car off as a total loss. The damages are at 4k right now but there's one other thing he had to check still to see if it was a loss or not. My car is a '95 Cheerokee and he said they would go to AutoTrader and get the average of 3 comprable cars and that is what they would pay me.

However, I have 6 payments left on my car ($2000). The adjuster said I would have to take the money they gave me from that average of what my car is worth and use that to pay off my car THEN buy another. That doesn't seem right. Shouldn't they have to pay off the rest of my loan AND give me what my car is worth?

Is this a situation where I should get a lawyer if they do decide my car is a loss? I was really looking forward to having my car paid off! The idea of being given around $6000, using 1/3 of that to pay of my existing loan, then trying to get a new car with that pilthy remainder makes me angry. This was completely not my fault and I'm hardly going to be compensated.

Advice please? Thank you!


Senior Member
My response:

We've discussed this issue a zillion times on this Forum. Please use the "Search" function above, and read past posts and responses.



I have been reading other posts, but I'm having a little difficutly figuring one thing out. I understand the insurance company only pays fair market price for your car at the time of the accident. But what about the remainder of my loan? And since my mechanic said my car can be repaired, can I not argue that I want them to fix my car rather than total it (I think cost to repair vs. market value of car are going to be about equal).

I understand people post similar questions all the time, but I've spent nearly two hours reading and can't find all the details I'm looking for. I'm barely out of college and not used to dealing with insurance claims. And I'm female. I'm already getting jerked around and just want some sound advice. Even a website would be helpful. I don't think I'm searching right.... Thank you! =)


Senior Member
You are about to discover why life is not fair. The insurance company is obligated to fix your vehicle or if the cost of repairs exceeds a certain percentage, the vehicle will be totalled. When a vehicle is totalled by an insurance company, you are paid the average retail value. You should feel lucky, we get a lot of folks here that own more than thier vehicles are worth and lose money because of auto accidents.

It is possible to buy the vehicle back from the insurance company and have it repaired. But you end up with a vehicle worth much less than others like it. It will always be considered totalled and many insurance companies will not insure these types of vehicles.

My suggestion, take the money, pay off the loan, and take whats left and buy something else.


Senior Member
First, dont use the excuse of being female to justify not knowing something. Ok?

Now if you want to get the most for your car do some research of your own. Look up car ads for your type of vehicle with similar qualities, ie. mileage, extras, etc.

Get the ones with the highest sale prices. Use those to submit to your carrier for the value of your jeep.

You can tell your carrier that you dont want to turn in your car even if it is declared a total loss. They will pay you the value of the car and you can keep the car. Then get the car repaired. Be sure you get an agreed upon repair price from your mechanic before you reach this decision and that he can guarantee the repairs will bring your jeep back to a pre-accident condition.

Your jeep should last you another 5 years at least.

Good luck.

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