You get to decide whether you want to go through the at-fault party’s insurer or your own insurance company. Remember, sometimes it will be in your best interest to go through your collision coverage if there are any circumstances we previously discussed. 

If you still owe a balance on your vehicle, any payment issued by your insurance company will be issued directly to your lender and the remaining balance to you. If the fair market value (FMV) of your vehicle is less than what you owe, you can end up owing a balance to your lender UNLESS you have gap coverage.

Valuation of your Vehicle

1. Contact your insurance company. Your insurance company will assign a PD adjuster.

2. Notify your insurance company where your vehicle is located.

3. Have the valuation of your vehicle performed. The PD adjuster will have a field adjuster assigned who will prepare a Total Loss Valuation Report.

4. Make sure you’re familiar with the fair market value (FMV) of your vehicle. Conduct research online within your local marketplace to see what your vehicle is currently being sold for right now. You will want to locate comparable vehicles identical to your year, make, model, trim, condition, features, etc. You can use Kelley Blue BookAutoTraderFacebook MarketPlace, and local dealerships. Save any local listings you may find so that you have them ready in case you need them.

5. Compile all your receipts for any recent upgrades or repairs that were done to your vehicle. If you recently filled the gas tank, save that receipt as well. If you keep all your service receipts, keep those handy too. Those receipts and any pictures of your car prior to the accident can be helpful when there are issues concerning the condition of your vehicle. These documents will be your supporting documentation in the event you are NOT happy with the insurance company’s valuation of your vehicle.

6. Request a copy of the Total Loss Valuation Report from BOTH insurance companies. This will allow you to compare the valuation reports against each other to see who is offering you more for your vehicle.

7. Review the Total Loss Valuation Report to check for inaccuracies. 

a. Make sure they used the correct model, trim, mileage, etc. 

b. Review the comparable vehicles used in the area.

c. Notify the at-fault insurance company of any inaccurate information.

8. If you’re satisfied with the valuation, contact the insurance company (at-fault party’s insurance OR your insurance company), and let them know so they can begin resolving your PD claim.

9. If you’re NOT satisfied with what the insurance company is offering, submit your comparable vehicles you pulled, together with your receipts for their consideration. Remember, you are entitled to the fair market value (FMV) of the vehicle, not the sticker price. FMV means what the vehicle is currently selling for in your local marketplace. You can negotiate the fair market value with the insurance company. It is NOT a take it or leave it offer. You only need to provide documentation to support your position.

10. If you are still not satisfied, you may have to obtain an independent appraisal and proceed to mediation or arbitration.

Getting a Rental Vehicle

1. IF you have rental coverage and a rental vehicle is needed, coordinate with your insurance company. Otherwise, you can see if the at-fault party’s insurance company will pick up the rental. They generally will not pick of the rental is there are concerns that your PD claim is going to exceed their insured’s available PD limits.

2. If you are in a rental, they will generally authorize the rental until payment for your total loss is issued, UNLESS there’s not enough coverage, they may terminate the rental sooner. You can:

a. See if the at-fault party’s insurance will pick up the rental.

b. Pay out-of-pocket for the rental. OR

c. Return it.

Extended Warranties, Tire Plans, Etc.

If your vehicle is deemed a total loss remember to cancel any extended warranties, tire plans or additional coverages you purchased at the time you bought your vehicle. Typically, they will prorate the plans and issue reimbursement for any unused portions. If you still owe a balance on your vehicle, any refunds will be applied towards the balance of your loan.


  •   Your Vehicle is a TOTAL LOSS & You Do NOT Have Collision Coverage
  •   Your Vehicle is a TOTAL LOSS & You Do NOT Have Collision Coverage
  •   Your Vehicle is REPAIRABLE & You HAVE Collision Coverage