What Should You Do If You Want To Keep A Totaled Car?

Sometimes it just doesn't seem worth it to give up a truly beloved car. There are plenty of reasons to consider keeping a car after a collision and after your insurance has declared it a total loss. Whether you're keeping it for sentimental value or because it's an exceptionally rare model, it can still be tricky to know how to proceed with a buyback.

Although the process may be slightly different with every insurance company, these steps will help you hang on to your car and get it back on the road as good as new.

1. Negotiate With The Insurance Company

Before you can do anything else, you'll need to arrange a buyback with the insurance company. If you're using collision coverage or you live in a no-fault state, then you'll most likely work with your own insurance company. Otherwise, you'll be working with the responsible driver's insurer. You will also need to check your state laws since buybacks are not legal in all areas.

When you negotiate a buyback with the insurance company, you will need to arrive at a fair salvage price. You will pay this cost directly to the insurer, although in most cases, they will deduct it from your settlement amount. You can negotiate the salvage cost to arrive at a fair value if you feel that the insurer's initial offer is too high.

2. Receive Multiple Estimates

Your insurance company won't be responsible for repairing your vehicle once you repurchase it from them. Since the insurer is declaring the car a total loss, the remaining settlement money won't be enough to entirely repair the damage. To avoid overspending, it's a good idea to get a few estimates from different body shops for the cost of repairing the damage.

When comparing quotes, always be sure that you're looking at apples-to-apples comparisons. If one shop uses genuine parts while another uses aftermarket parts, this can potentially account for a significant difference in prices. Higher-quality labor also tends to be more expensive, so it's not always a good idea to go with the lowest bidder.

3. Consider Cost-Saving Options

Depending on your goals, it may be worth considering some options to save money and get your car back on the road. When it comes to cosmetic components, used parts can sometimes be a good option. Used bumpers or body panels in good shape are often indistinguishable from new parts when properly prepared and painted, for example.

Whatever you choose, always work with a collision shop that has experience in dealing with totaled cars. Many states require a salvage vehicle inspection before registration, and there may also be hurdles with insurance. By working with a trusted collision repair shop, you can be sure that you won't hit any snags returning your restored vehicle to the road.

Contact a company like Exoticar Paintworks Inc to learn more.