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Total loss of leased vehicle

by Katherine

I was driving my father's leased vehicle when it was in an accident.

I reported it to insurance and they have now told me it is a total loss. They said we will talk next week to settle the claim. I am confused as to what happens now since it is a lease.

Do I need to contact the dealership from where he is leasing the vehicle (does my Dad (the name on the lease) need to be involved)?

Additionally, I think that it can be repaired as I was able to move the car a little bit after the impact.

There was visible damage (radiator fluid leaked onto the road, etc) however. I realize everyone involved is a business (but me) and need to pursue this on my own for the time being.

I would really appreciate your help as I am very concerned.


Hello Katherine,

A lease vehicle total loss claim is somewhat easier than a claim from a normal bank where you can possibly have equity in the vehicle. Usually lease vehicle's are doubled insured (by the dealer in excess of what you pay for insurance), so it works out for everyone.

Your insurance company will be dealing with the dealership directly and getting all the paper work ready to get the claim settle (getting the title from them, and all the necessary documents). You did the right thing by notifying your insurance company, they will take it from there.

Usually, insurance companies come out and inspect the car to make sure it is a total loss or not. In many occasions cars can drive fine, but they are still a total loss. A total loss occurs when the value to fix the car is more than 80% (some insurance companies total vehicles at 70% and some at 90%)of the value of the car. Some body work, leaking fluids, damage to the undercarriage are all very expensive and it is likely that the car would be deemed a complete loss.

Adjusters are pretty good at telling if a car will be a total loss over the phone. They will be looking at your year, make, model and the information you are giving them about damages. They will tell you that the car is a total, however they will have it inspected (90% of the time they are accurate).

You need to be in close contact with the insurance company "push" them to move the claim forward. Call them as soon as they open and be on top of it this way.

I hope this clears up your questions.

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Good Luck

Follow up question:

is it necessary to have another `assessor' look at the vehicle for a 2nd opinion (outside of the insurance company). I was researching on the internet and some sites suggest this while others do not.

Do I need to ask the insurance company for details as to why it is considered a total loss (i.e. is that important to my role in the claims process)?

2ndly, I was reading through our insurance policy and I noticed a section called "Limited Waiver of Depreciation Endorsement". I have read through it several times but can't quite tell if this is a positive thing or not.

There is a footnote saying this "Limited waiver" applies provided the loss or damage occurs within 24 months. This accident happened at 21 months. Can you give me an idea of what this `Limited Waiver' is referring to?

Finally, would I still have to pay the deductible outlined in the policy under the Collision or Upset section, if the vehicle is a total loss.

Thank you, thank you, again.



1. The insurance company will want to inspect the vehicle 1 time. If the damage they estimate tell them that the vehicle is fixable, but when the vehicle is going to be repaired, the vehicle has more damage than first expected, the insurance company will want to re inspect.

Also, if the vehicle was inspected by a bodyshop, the insurance company will want to make sure the damage was estimated correctly, so again it depends.

2. Limited Waiver. Very hard to say unless I can read the entire section. Usually it means that the insurance company will pay for the depreciation of the car unless something happens.

If the car is older than 24 months, then car will not be paid as new but as a 2 year old car. This month provision sometimes is applied to how long ago was the accident.

This could be a problem because if you waive the depreciation, you can end up owing on the car (lease) and the insurance company having no more liability on the issue.

To read more about total losses, visit:

Good Luck,

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