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What to Do About a “Total Loss”

Keeping or buying a total loss vehicle if your vehicle has been declared a total loss may leave  you wondering what that actually means in legal terms.

Simply stated a “total loss” means that an insurance company decided it was more practical to pay for the value of the car than it was to pay for the repair of the carThis does not mean the car is not safe to repair just not practical bases on the cost of parts and labor to repair it.

ABARI has successfully lobbied for a law that protects consumers and requires a vehicle be totaled at 75% unless the consumer prefers to total it for less.

In simple math a car worth $10,000 dollars will be repaired if the cost is less than $7,500. If the cost is over that then it will usually be declared a total loss If your car was determined a total loss by an insurance company there is a lot you should know before agreeing to keep that vehicle with the thoughts of fixing it yourself and returning it to the road. The vehicle will not be able to be registered in Rhode Island until all the process is completed.

A list of the requirements can be found at the Division Of Motor Vehicles Website, by clicking here.

Or you can call the enforcement section of the D.M.V. at Phone: (401) 462-5736

It is very important to note that only a licensed salvage rebuilder can repair and give you the needed certificate to get the car inspected. Most body shops do not have the separate salvage rebuilder’s license. If you do not have your vehicle fixed by a licensed salvage rebuilder you will not be able to get your car inspected.

These are the steps involved in keeping your car after it is deemed a total loss to be able to register it again. ABARI recommends that for most people the cost and steps involved seldom makes a wise choice to keep a vehicle that has been deemed a total loss.

We would caution any person who is considering keeping a total loss car to make sure they have factored all the costs involved and pre-select a licensed salvage rebuilder to work with you before making this decision.

Please click here to visit the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation for a complete list of licensed salvage rebuilders.