Transferring Title to the Insurance Company After Total Loss

In most cases, you will transfer the title of your vehicle to the insurance company if your car is a total loss. While you have the right to keep a car that is considered a total loss, it is important to know that in most cases, the car cannot be repaired and then used on the road.

Why Transfer the Title to an Insurance Company

If your car is totaled in an accident and the insurance company is responsible for paying your damages, then the insurance company will pay you fair market value for your car. In other words, the insurance company will buy your car from you, and you will provide the title of the car to the insurance company so that the insurance company can send the car to be salvaged.

For this to be accomplished, your vehicle finance company must also release its interest in your vehicle, which will require the insurance company to pay off the balance owed.  Once the finance company is paid in full, you will receive any money that remains beyond the finance company's remaining balance on the vehicle.

How to Transfer the Title to an Insurance Company

Once you agree on the fair market value for your totaled vehicle, it time to transfer title to the insurance company.

You will need the physical copy of your title. The car title should be in your possession if you own your car with no financing or your loan company should have your car title if you are financing your vehicle. Once the title is located, you and the insurance company representative will need to fill in the:

  • Odometer reading
  • Date of sale
  • Transaction cost

Additionally, you will need to sign the title as the seller, and the insurance company will need to sign the title as the buyer.

Talk to a Lawyer Before Transferring the Title to the Insurance Company

You no longer own the car after its title is transferred to the insurance company. Therefore, if you believe that the insurance company’s offer is too low, then you should not accept it. The fair market value of your car should take into account the model year, make, mileage, and condition of your vehicle. If you are offered an insurance settlement that does not reflect fair market value, then you should continue to negotiate your insurance settlement while the title to the car is still in your name.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help you with this and with all other aspects of your car accident settlement. If you've been involved in a car accident resulting in a totaled vehicle, it's important to know your rights. Contact us online today or call us directly at 1-800-800-5678.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.