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Should You Repair or Replace Your Vehicle After a Total Loss?

When the cost of repairing a vehicle exceeds the value of the vehicle, then it's a total loss. However, for many people, the value of a vehicle goes beyond how much it costs. Even if there's a total loss, you still have options. This is especially true if you work with an experienced and reputable auto body shop.

What Are the Reasons for a Total Loss?

Most people think damage beyond repair constitutes a total loss. In reality, your vehicle may just need a number of cosmetic repairs that cumulatively cost more than the vehicle's worth. For example, a series of dents and dings on an older vehicle may cost more to repair than the vehicle itself. This hypothetical vehicle may still work just fine, even after a fender bender.

In situations where a total loss comes from cosmetic damage, you can still drive the vehicle if you don't mind the visible blemishes. It's possible to file a claim and receive a check from your insurance company for the value of the vehicle.

You can use that money to repair any possible mechanical issues and pocket the rest. You can still drive your vehicle, or you can have it repaired piecemeal over time. In either case, you don't have to give up your ride. However, you will have to get a salvage title for it.

Should You Repair or Replace a Total Loss?

In the end, the choice to repair or replace a total loss vehicle will come down to how much value the vehicle has to you. For example, consider if the current market value of a new version of your total vehicle costs $10,000.

You may find, after the inspection and repair estimate, it costs more than that to restore your totaled car. The insurance company will give you the money to purchase a new vehicle, and take ownership of your totaled vehicle. But, it's still up to you whether you want to repair or replace the car.

In most cases, it's a good idea to take the money and replace the car. You should go through with repairs if your insurance will cover it. You should also consider repairs if you have the means to cover them without it causing you any problems or hardships.

Sentimental value can also make you want to repair your totaled vehicle. It's important that you're careful with sentimental value though. If the expense of repairing the vehicle will set you back, you should think long and hard on if it's truly worth it to you or not.

What About Insurance Coverage?

Much of what you can or can't do with a total loss will depend on your insurance coverage. Don't assume your insurance can pay for full restoration or replacement. You should know beforehand how your coverage limits work.

Many people fail to realize they need extra collision and comprehensive coverage. It's necessary if you want your insurance company to pay for collision repair. Even if you have those forms of coverage, you will also need to know your limits. For example, your insurance company can only pay out up to your policy limit. 

So, if repairing or replacing your car costs more than your policy limit, then you will have an even tougher decision to make. In such cases, it's typically better to accept the payment and seek out a cheaper vehicle.

If you do decide to make repairs, you will have to do so out of pocket. This may seem feasible if the vehicle still holds value for you personally, and the costs aren't too far above what your insurance paid out to you.
No matter what direction you go in, it all starts with bringing your car into a reputable auto body shop. You'll want a shop that can tell you the extent of the damage, and let you know how much it will cost you to repair it all.

Resurrecting a total loss is almost always possible. At Dublin Auto Body, we can help you figure out if you should repair or replace your vehicle. Call us today for a free estimate.