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What To Do If You Totaled A Car With No Insurance

Totaling a car can be a stressful event in and of itself, but totaling a car with no collision insurance can be a whole new level of panic. If you have no collision insurance on a car that’s totaled, you have few options for what to do next.

Completing car repairs without insurance can be extremely costly, and if your car got totaled and you still owe on it, you now have a loan with no assets. What’s the best option for you?

Typically, the short and sweet route is to sell your totaled vehicle. CarBrain breaks down the options a little more in the sections below.

car got totaled now what

Totaled Car Meaning

The term ‘totaled’ refers to an insurance industry term known as ‘total loss’.

A car is said to be totaled when the cost to repair it just isn’t feasible. The calculation for totaled is different depending on who is assessing the car.

Some insurance companies will determine that a car is totaled if the cost of repairing it exceeds 50 percent of its value.

In some cases, state law determines the definition of totaled. For instance, in Texas the cost of repairing a vehicle must exceed 100 percent of the vehicle’s pre-accident value to be considered a total loss.

A car declared a total loss will receive a salvage branding on its title. In most states, a car with a salvage branding cannot legally be driven on public roads.

Collision coverage can help you out in the event that your car is totaled in an accident. However, another kind of insurance you may have that could save you in the case of totaling a car is GAP insurance.


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What is GAP Insurance for Cars?

Gap insurance is actually an acronym – Guaranteed Auto Protection insurance. But the name ‘gap’ is effective in describing what it’s all about.

Essentially, in a total loss car situation, gap insurance covers the gap between how much you owe on your car loan and what your car is worth. That gap is known as negative equity.

Here’s the stitch – gap insurance only covers you against insurable losses. A fire, vandalism, accident, or theft are covered by gap insurance.

But for discount insurance policies where acts of God are not covered – that would be a tornado, flood, wind, and the like – you might not be covered for gap insurance.

How Does Gap Insurance Work if Your Car is Totaled?

So, you’ve been in a big accident and your car is totaled.

What does Gap insurance cover? If you have car insurance, you’ll get the value between the amount owing to the finance company after your car’s insurance settlement has been paid out.

If you have $5,000 negative equity, that’s how much gets paid out. And if your car loan is covered by insurance completely, or you have some money coming back to you, gap insurance pays nothing. Zippo. Zilch.

It’s still worth having GAP insurance — if you have no gap insurance and your car is totaled in an insurable accident, you might still have to pay loans on a vehicle you don’t owe. But it won’t protect you from everything.

Will Gap Insurance Cover A Totaled Car with No Insurance?

Nope. You see, gap insurance is only in effect IF you have collision or comprehensive insurance coverage.

You might wonder why, but it’s because there needs to be an insurance payout, otherwise there’s no difference for gap insurance to pay out.

If that’s the case for you, it could be a doubly bad situation. You’re stuck with a totaled car that you’re still paying for, PLUS you’ve been paying gap insurance and unable to use it.

Initially, it looks like a small price to pay. Gap insurance is about 5 percent of the insurance cost for your vehicle. But add it up, and it can cost significantly more than it will ever pay out to you.

The good news is that, in most cases, you can apply for a gap insurance refund after total loss.

Say you have a 48-month car loan and your car is a total loss after just a year. You can apply for a refund for premiums paid for the remaining 36 months.

Can I Fix My Car Without Insurance?

You can fix your car without insurance, so long as you can afford it. If you don’t have any coverage, you’ll be paying for repairs entirely out of pocket. That can become downright exorbitant, depending on the damage.

An accident can typically cause a lot of very serious damage to a vehicle. Even if you only make repairs deemed absolutely necessary for a vehicle to run, you may still find yourself $1,000 or more in the hole.

Worse, accidents can cause serious structural damage, which can go unnoticed if you’re only paying the bare minimum required to have it examined and repaired. That means in future accidents, you may be at much, much higher risk of experiencing a fatal injury.

What to Do With A Totaled Car With No Insurance

If you wrecked your car without insurance, then the term “totaled” becomes completely arbitrary — since there’s no insurance company to make the determination that it’s totaled, it comes down to you. Are you willing to pay to fix the vehicle?

If the answer is no, then your best option is to sell the car you crashed without insurance. There’s a few options for you:

  • Sell it to a junkyard. Junkyards are always willing to help you sell a car that was totaled with no collision coverage. They specialize in tearing cars apart and reusing their parts or metal for scrap.

    Keep in mind that you’re unlikely to get top dollar from these places, even if your car is in rough condition.

  • Sell it to a private dealer. Another option is to find a private buyer. This is often more realistic if the damage looks repairable.

    However, if your vehicle is more likely a complete tear-down with little chance of being drivable again, finding a private buyer becomes far less realistic.

  • Trade it in to a dealership. You can always try to trade in your totaled car to a dealership.

    On the other hand, most dealerships accept trade-ins as a way of getting you to buy one of their vehicles. The trade-ins they do accept are often going to be fixed up and resold, which means a severely damaged car is out of their wheelhouse.

  • Sell it to an online damaged car buyer. Chances are your best option is to try to sell your car to an online damaged car buyer — like CarBrain! We specialize in buying damaged vehicles in any condition, including cars totaled in an accident.

Sell Your Totaled Car With CarBrain

i wrecked my car no insurance

CarBrain specializes in buying less-than-perfect cars in any shape, including cars totaled in an accident. We make the process as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Get a quote for your totaled car! We’ll provide an offer in just 90 seconds after you fill out our simple form with information about your vehicle.

  2. Accept the offer and schedule your pickup! If you like our quote, we can help you set your pickup time and date for as soon as 24-48 hours out.

  3. Get paid for your car! Wait for the tow truck driver to arrive with the payment in hand. All you have to do is hand over the keys and collect your check. It’s that simple.

  4. CarBrain makes it easy to sell your less-than-perfect car in any condition. Get a guaranteed quote today. Employees

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We Make It Easy To Sell Your Car For $$$

Selling your car for parts with CarBrain couldn’t be easier — it takes just a few steps.

Easy Process Step 1

Enter Your Vehicle Information

Describe your vehicle as best as you can. We will need accurate information about the condition, location and mileage of your car. Most vehicles receive an instant offer in less than 90 seconds.

Easy Process Step 2

Accept Your Junk Cash Offer

As the vehicle owner, you will need to provide keys, a signed title and access to the car. If your title is held by a lien holder, we can help you get the title released.

Easy Process Step 3

Get Paid & Schedule Pick Up! works with a nationwide network of partners to pick up your vehicle. On average, we can have your vehicle picked up 24 to 48 hours after you accept our offer.


We know you don’t want to spend weeks negotiating with your local junkyards, and with our service, you don’t have to. Get your quote from CarBrain today to get started!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will GAP Insurance Cover A Totaled Car With No Insurance?

Sadly, you cannot have GAP coverage without standard vehicle insurance. GAP insurance covers what is not covered by your primary insurer. If there is not primary insurance company, there's no gap for the coverage to fill.

What Does 'Totaled My Car' Mean?

Totaling your car refers to declaring your vehicle a total loss. Insurance companies will declare a vehicle a total loss if the cost of repairing the vehicle is too high compared to its pre-accident actual cash value.

Once an insurance company declares the vehicle a total loss, it will typically receive a salvage title branding, rendering it illegal to drive on the road.

What Happens When You Total A Financed Car Without Insurance?

Totaling a financed car with no insurance leaves you with very few options. Once the vehicle is totaled, its value will plummet — but how much you owe will not be impacted. In most cases, your loan would immediately be underwater.

CarBrain can help clients with underwater liens, depending on how much they owe on their vehicles. We're willing to make a fair market offer on the vehicle, and we can purchase it — but ONLY if the offer we make is greater than or equal to the outstanding lien.

If the remaining lien amount is low enough, some sellers will pay down the lien until all that's left equals what CarBrain's offer is worth, allowing them to sell the vehicle to CarBrain and minimize some of the costs of paying off their loan on the totaled car.

My Car Is Totaled. Now What?

If your car has sustained damage severe enough to be declared a total loss, your options may be limited. In most cases, your insurance will simply purchase the vehicle from you and sell it at auction. If you don't have insurance, you don't even get the benefit of help from an insurance company.

Luckily, at CarBrain, we're always ready to help you sell your less-than-perfect vehicle. Get an offer today in just 90 seconds for a fair market quote with free, fast towing included!

What Happens If Your Car Is Totaled Without Insurance?

If your car is totaled without insurance, then you are 100% on the hook for the cost of fixing the car — or finding a solution to sell it. In most cases, it's far too expensive to try to repair the vehicle out of pocket.

Instead, consider selling your vehicle with a service like CarBrain. We specialize in less-than-perfect cars, and we're happy to make an offer on a totaled or salvage title vehicle — no insurance required!

Can I Fix My Car With No Insurance?

You can, but trying to pay for collision repairs without insurance can be an incredibly costly venture. If you’re skimping on repair costs or only completing the bare minimum, you also run the risk of missing vital structural damage, making the vehicle much more dangerous to drive.

You should get a realistic quote from a trusted mechanic before deciding whether to make repairs. If the costs seem too high, it’s often better and safer to sell the vehicle than to try to complete just a couple of repairs.

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