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When is a Car Considered Totaled in New Jersey?

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Car accidents can be a traumatic experience for anyone involved, and the aftermath can be overwhelming. One of the most pressing concerns following an accident is whether your car is considered totaled.

In New Jersey, specific guidelines determine when a car is considered totaled, and understanding these guidelines is crucial for determining the value of your vehicle and your legal options.

Read on to hear from the the New Jersey car accident lawyers and insurance claim experts at Richard J. Hollawell and Associates, who will offer insight into determining when a car is considered totaled in New Jersey and how it might affect your insurance claim.

What is a Totaled Car?

A car is considered totaled when the repair cost exceeds its actual cash value (ACV). The ACV is the car’s fair market value before the accident occurred. In other words, if the cost of repairing the vehicle is more than the car is worth, the insurance company will consider the car a total loss.

Determining the Value of Your Car

To determine whether your car is considered totaled, the insurance company will first determine the value of your car. They will use various sources to determine the ACV of your vehicle, including:

  • The market value of similar vehicles in your area
  • The Kelley Blue Book value
  • The NADAGuide value

Once the insurance company has determined the ACV of your car, they will subtract the deductible from that amount. Then, the insurance company will pay you the remaining amount for your totaled car. Sometimes insurance companies will lowball the cost of your car in an effort to make more money, so it is important to do this research on your own, or contact a car insurance lawyer to have your back if you think your car might be totaled.

When is a Car Considered Totaled in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, a car is considered totaled when the cost of repairs exceeds 80% of the ACV of the vehicle. That means if the cost of repairs is 80% or more of the ACV, the insurance company will consider the car a total loss and pay the ACV minus the deductible.

However, if the car is deemed a total loss due to damage caused by flooding or other environmental factors, the threshold for determining a total loss drops to 75% of the ACV.

It’s important to note that the decision to repair or replace a car in New Jersey is ultimately up to the owner, not the insurance company. Therefore, if the owner decides to repair the vehicle, they can do so, but they will not receive any reimbursement from the insurance company.

Additionally, if the car is repaired and then subsequently involved in another accident, the insurance company will only pay the ACV of the vehicle at the time of the second accident, not the cost of the previous repairs.

Options for Dealing with a Totaled Car

If your car is considered totaled, you have several options for dealing with the vehicle: 

  • Accept the insurance payout: If the insurance company offers you a fair amount for your totaled car, you can accept the payout and use the money to purchase a replacement vehicle.
  • Negotiate the insurance payout: If you feel that the insurance company’s payout offer is too low, you can negotiate with them to get a higher amount. You can provide evidence to support your claim, such as receipts for recent repairs or maintenance or quotes from auto dealerships for a similar replacement vehicle.
  • Keep the car: If you keep your totaled car, the insurance company will deduct the vehicle’s salvage value from the ACV. Salvage value is the amount the car is worth in its current condition and is usually determined by the cost of scrap metal.
  • Sell the car for salvage: If you don’t want to keep the vehicle, you can sell it to a salvage yard for its salvage value.
  • File a lawsuit: If you believe the insurance company is undervaluing your car or acting in bad faith, you can file an insurance lawsuit to seek a higher payout.

Hiring a New Jersey Accident Attorney

Dealing with a totaled car can be a difficult and stressful experience. However, by understanding the definition of a totaled car in New Jersey and knowing your options for dealing with a totaled vehicle, you can make informed decisions moving forward and protect your legal rights.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident and the car has been deemed a total loss, it’s important to consult an experienced NJ car accident attorney who can help you navigate the insurance claim process and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your damages.

An attorney can advise you on the best course for dealing with your totaled car and help you understand your legal options for pursuing a lawsuit if warranted.

In addition to the legal implications of a totaled car, it’s essential to consider the emotional impact of a car accident. Many people become attached to their cars and feel a sense of loss when their vehicle is totaled in an accident. Therefore, taking care of yourself and your emotional well-being following an accident is vital. Seek support from friends and family, and consider talking to a therapist if you’re experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health issues.

The experienced attorneys from Richard J. Hollawell and Associates can help you understand the value of your car and your options for dealing with a totaled vehicle after a New Jersey car accident. In addition, our team of experts can help you navigate the insurance claim process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages. Also, if you have been injured due to a car accident, Richard J. Hollawell and his team can help you seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

It’s important to remember that while the financial implications of a totaled car are significant, the emotional impact of a car accident can be just as challenging. So don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional.

At Richard J. Hollawell and Associates, we can help you through every step of the process, from understanding the value of your car to negotiating with the insurance company or pursuing a lawsuit if necessary. We are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome and getting you the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in New Jersey, contact us today for a free consultation.


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