What Happens If My Car Gets Totaled in an Accident

Being involved in a car accident can be a harrowing experience on its own.

But when your car is totaled by another driver as a result of the accident, this can add additional challenges and stress to an already difficult situation.  

If you’re wondering what happens when your car is totaled by someone else, the Cottrell Law Office is here to help.

Use our guide below to learn more and see how we can help you fight for and defend your rights moving forward. 

Factors That Affect What Happens If Your Car Is Totaled in an Accident

There are a variety of ways in which the aftermath of a car accident could be handled. Ultimately, this will depend on factors such as: 

  • Whether you still owe money on the vehicle, 
  • Who was at fault in causing the accident, and 
  • The type and extent of any insurance coverage for the involved parties. 

Below are some common scenarios and how they might impact how your claim is handled. 

What to Do When Your Car Is Totaled and You Still Owe Money

If you still owe money on your vehicle at the time of your accident, this will impact the amount that you may be entitled to recover directly. Here are some examples of scenarios that could arise. 

Car Totaled, Still Owe, But Not My Fault

If you still owe money on your vehicle but did not cause the accident, the at-fault party’s insurance may step in.

For example, in Missouri, if you did not cause the accident, you may report it to the other driver’s insurance company. After investigation, they may provide compensation in the amount of the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle.

However, if the ACV doesn’t cover the outstanding balance on the vehicle, you may be responsible for paying off the difference. 

Additionally, if the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance or is underinsured, you may instead need to pursue a claim with your own insurance. 

Car Totaled, Still Owe, and At Fault

If you were at fault, you can still file a claim with your own insurance company. However, the amount your insurer pays for your totaled vehicle will depend on the type of coverage you have. 

Additionally, keep in mind that when filing a claim with your own insurer, you will also be responsible for paying your deductible, and it’s also possible that your insurance premiums could increase in the future. 

Car Totaled in Accident, Not At Fault, and No Money Owed

Another situation that could arise is one in which you are not at fault and you owe no money on your vehicle.

In this scenario, any compensation you receive for the value of your totaled vehicle will be paid directly to you, since there will be no loan balance to pay off. With these funds, you can purchase a new vehicle to use moving forward. 

Still Have Questions? Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

These are just a few scenarios that could arise, and there are many factors that could impact how your claim is handled and the amount of funds you may be entitled to receive.

Thus, if you still have questions about what happens when your car gets totaled by someone else in an accident, speak with a car accident attorney at the Cottrell Law Office today.

Attorney Wes Cottrell has more than 32 years of experience helping car accident and injury clients throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

We set ourselves apart from other firms by providing high standards in client communication and giving our clients the personal attention they deserve. 

We know how difficult it can be to navigate the complexities of a car accident claim, which is why we will be there with you at every step along the way.

Contact us today to discuss your case and see how we can help you on the road to recovery. 


Someone Totaled My Car. Can I Sue? 

If someone’s wrongful or negligent actions resulted in your car being totaled, you may be able to sue in court to recover compensation.

That said, however, the answer to this question will depend on various factors, such as the percentage of fault attributable to each party involved in the accident, the amount of monetary damages sustained, and the availability and extent of any applicable insurance coverage. 

If My Car Is Totaled, Will the Insurance Pay It Off? 

Again, the answer to this question will ultimately depend on the particular facts and circumstances surrounding your case.

Depending on your insurance coverage, the actual cash value of the vehicle, and other applicable factors, the insurance may send a payment directly to your lender to pay off the balance of your vehicle, but this will not always be the case. 

What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled by Someone Else? 

If your car is totaled by someone else, one of the best things you can do is seek legal advice as soon as practicable.

An attorney can help you assess your options, handle the insurance claims process, and negotiate with opposing parties and their insurers to help ensure you get the payout you are legally entitled to.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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