What to Do if Your Car Gets Totaled After an Accident

man and agent standing near car

You’re involved in a collision, and your car is towed away. You’re lucky to only have minor scratches and bruises, but the loss of your car is weighing heavily on your mind. Find out what happens when your car is totaled and what you should do.

Contact your insurance company

Once you’ve received any necessary medical attention, call your insurance company right away. Your agent is the expert that you need, and they’re prepared to help start the claims process and walk you through the next steps. The agent will ask you questions that help file your insurance claim. If you have access to your damaged vehicle and you’re able to safely take photos of the car, do so and send them to your agent.

When speaking with the agent, be sure to ask for a list of auto body shops that are approved to make a determination on the extent of the damage and to work with the claims adjuster in providing information. You can search for an auto repair shop near you. Using a pre-approved shop can help to speed your claim along. If you need a rental car to use while going through this process, check with your insurance agent to see if rental cars are covered.  Coverage depends on your specific policy and may be included within collision coverage or comprehensive coverage.

Prepare the following documentation

Once you’ve begun filing your claim, start to gather some information. Obtain a copy of the police report of the accident. Locate your car title. If you have a loan on the vehicle, gather account numbers and the contact information for your loan provider.

What happens after you file an insurance claim

Once you’ve filed a claim, you’ll meet with or talk to a claims adjuster. This insurance professional investigates your claim to determine what your policy covers in the accident. They may need to interview you and anyone who witnessed . They’ll also look through your police report and may need to inspect your totaled vehicle to get a full assessment of the damage.

Once the adjuster completes their assessment, values your vehicle and resolves the claim, you receive the reimbursement for the loss of your vehicle. This payout accounts for several elements, such as the age, make, model and mileage of your vehicle. Factoring in these considerations, the adjuster compares the value of similar models to arrive at the actual cash value of the car. Note that your deductible will be applied to the amount you’re owed.

Following a total loss, you may want to replace the vehicle right away. Nationwide can help. Find discounts and tools to locate the right car with the Nationwide Auto Shopping Service by TrueCar®. While a collision can be a traumatic experience, your insurance agent will work closely with you to make the rest of the process easy to manage.