I have a 93 Taurus wagon, 3.8, 145k miles
A short time ago while my daughter was driving the car was struck on
the right side by a van entering a traffic circle. Damage was
superficial, RR door creased slightly, and same crease runs on to RR
quarter panel around the front of the wheel arch.
Car was declared "totalled" by other driver's insurance company. They
1) They take possession of the car and pay me $1676
2) I can keep the car and they pay me $1464, but I must have the car
inspected by MD State police ($25) and get new "Salvage" title ($60).
Whole process expected to take 4 - 6 weeks waiting for processing by
opposition insurance company and MD DMV.
I don't know what the vehicle will be worth with a salvage title so am
unsure whether I should keep the car. If I keep the car we plan to
sell it and upgrade to a Honda Civic/Toyota Corolla for my daughter.
Anybody been through this process or know the likely value of a
salvage title car compared to one with a clean title. KBB for a clean
title is $1500 or thereabouts.
One is NEVER required by law to transfer their vehicle to an insurance
company, unless it pays you the salvage value.
You do not need to re-title any car just because it was in an accident.
Insurance companies "total" a vehicle when the cost of the repair exceeds
the value of the vehicle.
Lets say the value of an "X" model year vehicle is $10,000 and the exact
same vehicle that is one year older is $7,000. They both have the exact
same damage, that is superficial and does not effect the safety of that
vehicle. Both are drivable after the accident. When the adjuster
determines the damage to both is $8 000, they will repair the "X" model and
"total" the one year older vehicle.
If the damage is as you described, one does not even need to repair that
type of damage, as long as one can open and close the door(s.)
So basically, what you really need to know is what is the street value
of the car? How much, in its condition, can you expect to get for it
with a 4-sale sign on it? Take that number and weigh in the cost for
the inspection, salvage title, $200 difference between the payoffs, plus
whatever you feel your time is worth to run around getting all this
done, plus storage and loss of the vehicle for th 4-6 weeks (if it has
to sit). If your going to advertise in the paper or online, factor that
in as well. Based on that, only you can answer if it's worth it, but if
it were me, it'd have to have a walk-up street value of $2500-3K to be
worth the hassle...
Well put. I'd say take the $1676 for it and be done with it.
I'd expect to get no more than $1000 out of it by putting it up for sale.
This assumes it's in good shape though, so the damage probably drops that
down quite a bit, even if it isn't structural damage. Probably gets haggled
down to $500.
IF you keep the car, do NOT let them do anything to your title!
First off, realize they 'total' a vehicle because they have to make sure
they don't loose out from hidden damage or other problems 'down the road'.
The car may be fixable a lot cheaper than the totaled out value. With that
in mind, and if you keep the car...
Tell them you are having the car "Repaired under contract" and take the
salvage value they offered. Do NOT agree to anything regarding salvage,
total loss, or whatever.
I had an accident in my Intrepid. It wasn't that bad, but the car was older
and they pulled that crap on me. I had it fixed then ran into all kinds of
problems because they reported it 'salvage' without my permission. The
problem was I wasn't allowed to START work until the title was 'salvage' and
the car was inspected. Then it needed another inspection. It was a
nightmare, as I had the car already finished. For about $2000 LESS than the
I complained to the insurance company and when I made it formal, they
offered to get me a rental at their expense while I went through the 6 week
(or longer) procedure to straighten it out. But then I went to the State
Police to start the procedure, and found out the title was kicked back, and
never salvaged. Turns out that I had paid the car off, and since I had the
phsical title, not a loan company, the insurance didn't file the title
correctly! So I lucked out. I would have had a problem if I ever went to
sell the car, but I drove it into the ground at 200K miles.
DO NOT LET THEM SALVAGE THE CAR!!
Find out what the law says 'exactly' in your state (here it's 'repair under
contract') and keep the car!
I'm curious as to how the insurance company got the title to your vehicle,
without you transferring that title to it before an authorized title
transfer agent, who "certifies the person(s) signing the title is the actual
owner(s)" of that titled vehicle? One must first transfer a title to
"brand" that title albeit, Taxi, Police, Flood, Salvage etc..
Normally, in the title states with which I am familiar, only those vehicles
for which a "Salvaged" titles are issued, are those for which a "Certificate
of Junk" was previously issued, by the titling state.
The insurance company did get title to the vehicle.
Vehicle has Kelly Blue Book value of $1500 approx.
Vehicle is involved in accident, superficial damage, but cost of
repair is $2500
Insurance company declares car a total loss, they offer to take the
car and title from me and pay me $1500
I can keep the car and they pay me $1400.
To get the $1400 insurance company says I must send them the title,
which they will send to Maryland DMV which will brand the title as
Then before I can drive the car with a salvage title I must take t to
have it inspected by Maryland State Police ($25)
Insurance company says all of the above is required to comply with MD
State law. Sounds weird to me but I don't know.
But now with the second accident the car is undriveable and
economicaly unrepairable, it seems that BOTH insurance companies want
the title so they can brand it "Salvage", which it now definately is.
I am told by the first insurance company that they will have to
co-ordinate with the second insurance company to ensure that the title
declared salvage, a bureaucratic maze.
You missed the point of my post. One is not required to transfer ones
title, to an insurance company, of one forgoes the salvage allowance.
It is not possible for the insurance company to "brand" a title that was not
transferred to it, period.
I do not understand why the you believe a SECOND insurance company could be
involved with a vehicle you no longer own? You stated in you reply that
"The insurance company did get title to the vehicle," therefore the question
of re-titling and branding your title is moot, because you made the mistake
of transferring title to them when you were not required to transfer your
He followed up his post with a statement that the title was *Not*
It may be that in MD, insurance companies are required to retitle the
cars as salvaged whenever certain conditions are met, like the damage is
more than a certain percentage of value of the car or when the car is
deemed beyond repair or if the car is structurally damaged and beyond
repair. You're welcome to do a web search if you wish to find out.
I think it's more likely that the people who handle the claims saw that
the car repairs were too expensive and automatically said that the car
had to be retitled without knowing if it were true. Then, it's up to the
owner to stick up for his rights under the law and policy. It's like
with health insurance, the insurance companies don't really care about
the people involved, only about decreasing their payments.
I suspect that you're right that the title doesn't need to be redone,
but only that the insurance company is covering its butt rather than
gather facts to make a good decision to help it costumer.
Perhaps, but my comment was to that post. Apparently YOU missed the point
of my post, as well. Stick to what you think you know, one is not required
to transfer ones title, to an insurance company, if one forgoes the salvage
That is one reason we have titles, NO ONE can do anything with that vehicle
except the registered owner(SO.)
The only reason an insurance company can deny a claim for a loss by its
insured, is when
ones policy does not include a particular coverage (I E collision) or the
loss exceeds ones policy limit(so) or the current value of the loss.
In that case the loss exceeded the fair market value of that particular
vehicle. If ones car was a year or two newer with the same exact damage,
it may not exceed the value, and the company will pay to fix the newer
vehicle with the exact same damage regardless of the severity of the damage.
Ones loss is the total of the value, less any deductible, including the
salvage value and the state tax. IF you decline the salvage value, they
reduce your loss total by that amount. If you accept the salvage they take
title to the vehicle and recover the salvage value from a salver.
One can do with whatever one choose with the money they receive, there is no
legal requirement to repair a vehicle that can pass any required state
Evidently, here in Mass the insurance company declares the loss, then the
title and funds 'cross in the mail' with the finance
company, and the insurance company files with the state. The fact that the
car at the time was fairly new was a 'wrench' in
their system. Technically they had to wait for me to turn title to them,
but they didn't, they filed paperwork with the state.
That was the big oops on their part that I could have held their feet to the
fire for. That's why they offered to get me a
rental car and pay for all inspections until it was straightened out. I
found out later I could have held out for a lot more,
even claiming 'loss of value' to the car as it now would have a salvage
title instead of a clean title.
Thing is, I called the State Police (they are responsible for auto fraud and
handle the 'salvage' program) and Lt there was
the one who gave me the scoop on things. Hey, I just wanted a car to drive.
In the mean time, I got my renewal registration
notice in the mail, and the SP Lt told me to just renew it. It had a valid
insurance coverage policy linked to it. The Lt
basically I had a legal registration and legal insurance, and if anything
crashed and burned, it would be the insurance company
that would have to straighten it out. So I did. In fact, I renewed the
registration a couple more times, finally junking the
car when the rust got to it. I never lost out, but I think the insurance
company could have if anything crashed and burnt..
The Intrepid accident was my fault. (Well, adjucated my fault. The sun was
on the horizon, and a contractor pickup truck
missed his turn, so he stopped and was backing up on the roadway, and I
rearended him. He denied he was backing up,
even though our collision contact point was 20 feet past the driveway he was
turning into. With the sun on the horizon I
didn't see him until too late.) Since then I demolished my Pontiac (wasn't
my fault at all) and that time the insurance
company totaled the car, and I had to produce title to get anything.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.