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How Do You Buy Back A Totaled Car?

How-Do-You-Buy-Back-A-Totaled-Car

You’ve been on the losing end of vandalism or your car’s been in the middle of a flood or other severe weather. Or perhaps it’s worse and you’ve been in an accident. If the damage is bad enough or the costs to fix it are high, your insurance provider could deem it a total loss. But what happens if you don’t want to give up your car?


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There’s good news and bad news. Most likely, you DO have the option to keep your totaled car. But unfortunately, in many cases it’s probably not worth it. Still, whether for your deep sentimental connection with your four-wheeled transportation or for financial reasons, you could find yourself looking for information on how to keep a totaled car. Here’s what you need to know.

When is A Car Considered Total Loss?

Your car is deemed a total loss when it’s been involved in an insurable claim that will cost more to repair than the insurance company thinks is reasonable to fix. That doesn’t exactly mean that the cost to fix your vehicle is more than your car’s value, though. Typically, insurers call a vehicle totaled when the repair cost is around 60 to 70 percent of its pre-accident value.

That price point is because the insurer needs to account for costs other than the repairs like rental car charges. As well, they will recoup some of the cost when they sell your totaled car for salvage at auction.

Can I Keep a Totaled Car?

Yes, you can usually keep your car after it’s been totaled. Say you really don’t want to make car payments again and the damage to your vehicle was mostly cosmetic. Or maybe you think the repair estimate is much higher than you can get it fixed for and want to do it yourself. It could make sense to keep your car and avoid the hassle of switching rides.

Beware that keeping a totaled car is rarely the best choice. There can be hidden damage that you only find once you’re elbows deep in the repair, or it may not be repairable at all.

How Can I Buy Back My Totaled Car?

The specific process to buy back a totaled car is largely up to your insurance provider. However, there are a few things that will be consistent in every situation.

First, you’ll need to settle on your car’s value as if you were taking a payout instead of keeping it. It will do you well to research values so you can ensure you’re getting a fair shake from your appraiser.

Remember the salvage value mentioned previously? Now is when you need to determine what that value would be for the insurer. Your totaled car’s salvage value will be deducted from the payout you’d receive.

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What Will It Cost?

The obvious cost for your totaled car is the salvage value – that’s what you’ll pay to get your car back. However, there are other costs that you might not figure on. Ask beforehand if there are any fees or taxes you’re responsible for.

As well, you should determine what your car will be worth after the repairs are completed. Your car’s title will be branded after it’s declared a total loss – something like ‘salvage’, ‘flood vehicle’, or ‘rebuilt’, for example. A branded title will drastically reduce your car’s resale value and its desirability. It will serve you well to take that into consideration.

Can You Drive a Totaled Car?

Your car has been totaled and you’ve just bought it back. Can you drive it right away? There’s a very good chance that you cannot.

A car that has a salvage title usually can’t be legally driven on the road, even if it’s only cosmetic damage that has rendered it a total loss. Your car will need to be fully inspected and certified before you’ll be able to license it and drive it once again.

Repairing a total loss vehicle to your state’s standards can be a complex and expensive process that can take months to complete. Meanwhile, you own a vehicle you can’t drive. It’s one of the many reasons that buying back a totaled car isn’t a great choice in many cases.

Need to Get Rid of a Totaled Car?

Have you made the decision to buy back your wrecked car, and now you’re stuck with it? Or maybe you didn’t make an insurance claim for some reason. You can sell your totaled car quickly and easily for a fair price to CarBrain.

There’s no process easier to sell a totaled or damaged car than CarBrain. Simply request an offer online for your vehicle in as-is condition and provide your vehicle’s specific details. Within about 90 seconds, you’ll receive an offer from local buyers looking for cars just like yours. Your offer is guaranteed for seven days, so take your time.

When you’re ready to accept the offer, it’s easy to respond. You’ll be paid fast – typically in one or two business days – and your car is hauled away at no charge to you.

What do you have to lose? Request a quote from CarBrain today for your crashed, wrecked, old, or totaled car.

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