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Possible Total Loss - What to Do?

by Annie

On July 19, 2008 I was involved in an auto accident. Other driver blew stop sign and came across highway. I T-boned her. Cop said she failed to yield right of way.

My car is 2005 Mini Cooper. Still waiting for anyone to let me know Totaled or not. Fixing or not? Is there a time frame for this kind of information?

Rental car supposed to run out in 5 days. I want the car totaled. It at this point has $12,000 worth of damage.

According to NADA car is worth $1,900. For some reason my insurance company was doing the claim adjusting thinking it was theirs to pay. Told me car dealers said my car was worth $17,900. It was $17,500 brand new.

Now still waiting for other drivers insurance company to let me know what's what. Mechanics at body shop recommending total. Uninvolved car dealer says car would be worth about $6,500 for trade in once CARFAX gets information.

My insurance company tells me "Oh, that's not true". Since my insurance company doesn't seem to be on my side, and I know her insurance company won't be,

WHAT CAN I DO? Please, someone help me. I'm going crazy.

Oh, if car is fixed, supposed to take 65-? days.

Thank you



Hello Patti,

I am sorry to hear about the situation. As you can see, I am writing this website to help people like you. You said your car is worth $1,900 according to NADA. I am assuming this is an error and you meant $19,000. As you can see you have a dilemma.

If the insurance company decides to total the car, then you are going to be fighting a total loss. If you are going to be arguing a total loss, please visit our total loss center and get the total loss eBook.

The process is long and tedious, but insurance companies will bully their way and make you settle for virtually nothing. There is no other way to fight your situation but to find good information to argue your very own case.

If your insurance company wants to fix the car (obviously they should not, 65 days to fix a car means the car is very mangled up, it will not be the same, period). So you have one tool (it works to push the insurance company into a totaling your car).

You have to argue (you must) the diminished value of your car. Read more about that here.

Get your report from CARFAX and then have the dealer write a letter on how much she would give you for your car after having the Carfax report (and assuming the car is fixed correctly).

The next thing you need to ask if for a “Letter of Guarantee” from the insurance company (either yours or the other’s party, whoever is fixing the car). This letter must come from them and not the bodyshop.

In this letter the provide full guarantees that they will fix the car if anything at all goes wrong with the car. Also, ask if they will put on writing that if the car is ever in an accident because of faulty repairs, they assume full liability for any damages or injuries ensuing from that.

They will probably not want to give you those letters, but if the are so sure the car is back to the same condition, why would they not give you these assurances? They have to stand behind the repairs they profess are good?

Also remind them that they have to pay you for 65 days of rental, a bill that could be $2,000 or more. Some cost that would push the car to a total loss.

How long can they take? Unfortunately they have up to 30 days (I know, it is ridiculous).

I hope this helps,


Comments for Possible Total Loss - What to Do?

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Nov 06, 2009
What a great answer
by: Michelle


This is such a great answer. I always wondered about that--an accident that isn't your fault and your car is now "fixed" and has a "record." That never seemed fair to me.

I love the idea of diminishing the value and asking them for guarantees--fantastic! That seems fair and definitely something the insurance company should be backing up. Great point!

Thank you!


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