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I totaled my car. Can I fix it and keep driving it?


My vehicle was damaged in an accident. Insurance company says it’s “totaled” but I would like to fix it and keep driving it. Can I do this?

If you get in a car accident and your insurance company deems your vehicle totaled, it’s usually not something you want to hear. Your insurance company will typically give you the fair market value for your car so you can go buy a replacement vehicle. However, the payout may not be enough to replace your current vehicle with what you had before, or maybe the car is irreplaceable in your mind.

Luckily, you have options. If you decide to, you can use the money your insurance company gives you to repair your vehicle back to normal working conditions. This will require you to get a salvage title with the state you live in. As you probably know, there are a few downsides of a salvage title:

  • First, it makes your car much more difficult to sell when you eventually choose to do such.

  • Secondly, some insurance companies won’t insure salvage titles because they believe the vehicle carries too much risk if it wasn’t repaired properly and could be a future liability.

In some cases, you may have a new vehicle that is totaled, and the insurance payout is less than you still owe on your car loan. This may be a factor that results in individuals choosing to repair their vehicle instead of replacing it. Instead of taking this route, there is an alternative with gap insurance. This addition to your policy covers the gap between your payout and your loan balance if it’s greater than the former. Consider adding gap coverage if the value of your car has dropped significantly since purchasing it and your loan is greater than its current market value.

It’s important to weigh your options when deciding whether or not to salvage or replace your recently totaled vehicle. Contact your insurance agent for professional advice on the matter.

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