Despite common belief, totaling your motor vehicle does not mean it is in a complete state of disrepair. When most people think of what a totaled car may look like, most would be surprised that sometimes even a minor fender-bender will be declared as totaled for insurance purposes. However, like most processes insurance companies handle, is not easy and often complex. To receive maximum compensation after totaling your car, it’s important to know the next steps to receive a fair compensation and what type of insurance policy is required.
So, does liability insurance cover a totaled car in Connecticut? Let’s review the state laws to determine how you are rightfully compensated in the event that your car is totaled as the result of someone else’s negligence.
Types of Auto Insurance in Connecticut
Connecticut is an “at-fault” auto accident state which means that financial compensation for injuries and damages falls on the person who is at-fault for causing the accident. Therefore, in the event that you are hit by a driver who is not insured or underinsured, you can still expect to be compensated for the damages incurred.
In order to legally drive in Connecticut, like most states, you need to continuously maintain an auto insurance plan. Auto insurance is categorized into two different types. There is liability insurance which includes bodily injury liability that protects at-fault drivers against other’s accident claims.
The other type of insurance is property damage insurance that includes collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for the physical damage caused to your property as the result of your motor vehicle colliding with another object and is not required by law. Comprehensive coverage pays for the damage caused to your vehicle from other causes, such as theft, flood, severe weather and fire.
Connecticut law requires:
- $25,000 in coverage per person per accident for bodily injury liability
- $50,000 in coverage per accident for bodily injury liability
- $25,000 in coverage per accident for property damage liability
Does Liability Insurance Cover a Totaled Car?
The short answer is yes; property damage liability insurance may cover a totaled car in Connecticut. The term “totaled” or total loss varies from state to state. In Connecticut, a car is deemed totaled by insurance companies by using a “total loss threshold” formula where if the sum of the cost to repair the vehicle plus the salvage value of the car exceeds the car’s ACV (actual cash value), then it is considered a total loss. Your motor vehicle’s ACV is determined by insurance companies and depends on various factors, such as age, wear and tear mileage, among other things.
If you owned the car, the insurance money would go directly to you. If you leased or financed the car, the money will go back to the dealership or financial institution.
What to Do If You Totaled Your Car in Connecticut
It may seem like a straight-forward scenario: your car was totaled in an accident that was not your fault. Therefore, it seems that you should receive compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. However, when dealing with insurance companies, few things are ever as simple as they may seem. This is why I strongly recommend partnering with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that you receive the compensation you are rightfully owed.
Step 1: Check yourself and everyone involved in the accident for injuries. Do not move anyone that appears to be injured.
Step 2: You will need to file a claim against the other at-fault party’s property damage liability insurance to receive compensation.
Step 3: Contact a personal injury attorney to carefully review your case and ensure you are getting the fair value of your car. You can challenge the settlement amount offered by the insurance company if you can prove it to be unfair.
Step 4: Organize all documentation on your car to prove its value to the insurance adjuster. For example, if you recently added new tires to your vehicle but did not keep the records of it, you may not be able to receive the full amount you are owed from the at-fault party’s insurance policy. The at-fault party’s insurance company will send an adjuster to assess its value.
Step 5: The insurance company declares your car as a total loss and offers a settlement and they will then title it as salvage. After this, you cannot drive the car and your vehicle registration will be canceled by the DMV. However, if you want to keep the car, the insurance company will deduct the salvage value from the total loss payout.
Step 6: You have the option to accept the offer or negotiate the settlement for your totaled car. If it is determined that your settlement is not a fair representation of the value of your car, your personal injury attorney can reject their settlement and negotiate a fair compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, contact Robert L. Cavanaugh, Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney with more than 25 years of expertise, by clicking below or calling (203) 259-5400.