Facebook Pixel


What happens if a financed car is redeemed at a total loss?

start your free consultation
Home What happens if a financed car is redeemed at a total loss?

What happens if a financed car is redeemed at a total loss?

When a financed car is deemed a total loss due to an accident, it can be a complex and challenging situation for the car owner. Key factors include insurance coverage, the remaining loan balance, and the vehicle’s value. 

The first and most crucial aspect to consider is the insurance coverage on the financed vehicle. In most cases, car owners must have comprehensive collision coverage as part of their auto insurance policy when they finance a vehicle. These coverage types are essential in an accident that results in a total loss.

  • Comprehensive Coverage: This part of your insurance policy typically covers damage or loss due to non-collision events such as theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and other incidents not involving another vehicle.

  • Collision Coverage: Collision coverage is designed to cover damages to your vehicle resulting from a collision with another vehicle or object, regardless of fault.

Insurance Payout

When a financed car is declared a total loss, your insurance company will assess the damage and determine the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) at the time of the accident. The ACV is the car’s fair market value, considering factors like the car’s age, condition, mileage, and any applicable depreciation.

The insurance company will then provide an insurance payout based on the vehicle’s ACV. This payout is intended to compensate you for the loss of your car. However, it’s essential to understand that the insurance payout may not always cover the entire remaining balance of your car loan.

Outstanding Loan Balance

The next consideration is the remaining balance on your car loan. If you financed your vehicle, you likely took out a loan to purchase it, and you are responsible for repaying that loan over time. The remaining loan balance is the amount you owe to the lender at the time of the total loss.

The insurance payout you receive may not always match the outstanding loan balance. This can result from factors such as depreciation and interest on the loan. Sometimes, the insurance payout may be sufficient to cover the entire loan balance, leaving you with no further financial obligations. However, there may be a gap between the insurance payout and the loan balance in other instances.

Gap Insurance

Many car owners opt for gap insurance to address the potential gap between the insurance payout and the loan balance. Gap insurance, or guaranteed asset protection insurance, is an additional option that covers the difference between the vehicle’s ACV and the remaining loan balance.

Gap insurance can be invaluable when your car is declared a total loss, as it ensures you are not left with a significant financial burden. Gap insurance is typically available through your insurance provider or the dealership where you purchased your vehicle.

Loan Repayment

If you do not have gap insurance and there is a gap between the insurance payout and the loan balance, you are still responsible for repaying the remaining amount to the lender. This means you may need to continue making loan payments even though you no longer have the car.

Communicating with your lender and discussing your options for repaying the remaining loan balance is essential. Some lenders may offer extended repayment terms or other arrangements to help you manage the financial impact of the total loss.

Vehicle Recovery

Sometimes, the insurance company may allow you to keep the totaled vehicle. However, it’s important to note that the car will have a salvage title, and the insurance payout will be reduced to account for the vehicle’s salvage value.

Keeping a totaled vehicle can be an option if you repair it or salvage usable parts. However, it’s crucial to assess the cost of repairs and consider whether it makes financial sense to retain the vehicle in its damaged state.

Replacing Your Vehicle

After the total loss of your financed car, you may need to secure alternative transportation. If you have gap insurance, it can help you get a new vehicle without the financial burden of the remaining loan balance.

If you do not have gap insurance and there is a gap between the insurance payout and the loan balance, you will need to explore financing options for a new vehicle. This may involve obtaining a new car loan and factoring in the remaining balance from the totaled vehicle.