Unfortunately, I was in an auto accident and rear-ended someone several months ago. Luckily it didn’t do any damage at all to their vehicle, but mine was pretty dinged up. No one was hurt, so that was also a blessing. The police came and did their report and that was that. I had my car towed to a local shop and contacted my insurance agency for the next steps as I didn’t think it would be drivable. (It was smoking from under the hood).
Turns out the inspector said it was drivable and that it just needed some repairs. We had a $1000 deductible for our insurance plan, so we had to save up that money for a couple of months. Fast forward and we have the money, the car is finally in the shop. A couple of days later, we get a call that it’s totaled! How in the world they didn’t find that out before I have no idea. Not to mention I was driving my babies around in a dangerous vehicle that I was told was safe. I was not a happy mama.
The whole process with my car loan company and insurance company and car repair shop were a bit confusing. I had never experienced this before; I wasn’t sure what I was even supposed to be doing. If you are ever in the unfortunate situation of having a totaled vehicle, here is what you need to do.
- Contact Your Insurance Agency This can be done while still at the accident scene. Normally it is required so that both parties’ respective insurance companies have all of the details and information that they need about you, the accident, and the involved party.
- File Claim Once you have contacted your insurance agency, they will send you over documents to fill out so that you can submit your claim. Even if the accident is your fault you can still file the claim.
- Contact Your Car Loan Provider If your vehicle was on a loan, share the loan company info with your insurance agency. You can reach out to the loan company as well to let them know what is going on so that they can quickly process needed documents when the insurance company reaches out.
- Check Email Regularly Once all of this is done, it is important to check your email (and voicemail) regularly for any information that may be needed from you to complete all of the documentation for the claim. If you take a while to respond, the claim will take even longer to process.
- GAP Insurance I didn’t know what this was or that I even had it until looking into it. GAP insurance covers the time in between an auto loan payment so that if your vehicle is totaled, you are covered and won’t have to keep paying loans on a totaled vehicle that you can’t even drive. I highly recommend purchasing GAP insurance. It’s not that expensive, and if you end up not using it then it’s better than needing it, not having it, and getting into a world of debt. Or being without a vehicle for a period of time because you can’t afford two auto loans at the same time.
If not for the GAP insurance, I may not have been able to get a vehicle again so soon. Let’s face it, we need our vehicles! Jobs, groceries, doctors’ appointments, etcetera- we have to have a way to get around. This is especially important if you have kids.
- Wait for Confirmation Within one to two weeks (maybe even less depending on your insurance company), you should receive a confirmation from your insurance company about how much money they will cover towards the totaled vehicle. If you didn’t have GAP insurance, this will help you figure out your financial situation.
- Go Car Shopping After you have everything confirmed and squared away, it’s time to go car shopping. I was blessed in this situation because it allowed me to purchase a much newer model of my totaled car. The reason for it is definitely not ideal, but I love my new car! I’m just thankful that everyone involved in this auto accident is okay.
A personal tip on used vehicle shopping, that I learned (almost) the hard way. If you go to a used car lot and they have vehicles that are deeply discounted, last-chance, or about to go to auction- DO NOT BUY them! The sales guy (of course) was going to let me and my kids get into this dangerous money pit of a car. Thankfully, it was brought to our attention after researching online, that car lots who do this are just trying to make a buck off of you. They don’t care about if the car tears up and leaves you stranded. They just want the most money that they can get before they auction it off.
Wrapping It Up
Being involved in any car accident is very nerve-wracking and scary. Whether it was your fault or someone else’s’ and whether you were the driver or a passenger. Two of my kids were in the car when I had my accident, all I could do was to see if they were okay and love on them. They didn’t have any injuries, thank God. They were a little shook up, understandably so, but we were all okay.
The other vehicle didn’t sustain any damage, other than a slightly dented license plate. I am relieved that they were safe too. Auto accidents are scary for everyone and it’s especially difficult having kids in the car during an accident. You have to check on and hold them, talk to the other driver, talk to the police. Call the insurance agency. Set up an appointment with a repair shop after the insurance conducts its inspection. You have to call your auto loan company.
It’s a lot to take in when you’re still under duress of the accident. Try your best to stay calm, your kids can feed off that energy. I played with mine while we waited in the parking lot with everyone, I was dying and shook up inside. If you get the news that your car is totaled, don’t freak out and assume the worst.
When I was initially told this, I began Googling things and thought I would be without a vehicle forever and still have to pay an outrageous auto loan. That would set my family back so much and I was worried to death about it. But of course, after finding out the reality, it wasn’t nearly that bad.
I hope that you are never in this situation, but if you ever have a totaled vehicle, these steps will put you on the right track to getting everything taken care of in no time. Now you can get back to caring for those precious children and being the amazing person that you are.
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