Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 27, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • Many consumers are surprised how car insurance companies value cars
  • GAP insurance provides coverage between the replacement value of the car and the balance of your car loan
  • As a policyholder, you are entitled to submit an insurance claim for any item covered under your policy terms

Car accidents are stressful enough and even worse when your car is a total loss. Sadly, many cars are not worth the amount owed on the loan.

When that happens, it’s especially important to get every dollar you can from the insurance company.

Use our FREE online comparison tool to find the coverage you need! Enter your zip code above to get started!

Did a car accident write off your vehicle?


Car accidents are extremely stressful events which often involve serious health injuries, medical expenses, property damage and more.

Have you been involved in a car accident causing total loss to your vehicle?

Many consumers are surprised how car insurance companies value cars.

The reality is when the car insured is a very late model car, your loan simply does not amortize as quick as the depreciation schedule of the car for the first couple years.

In short, you may not get enough money from the car insurance company to cover the balance of a car loan if you lack the appropriate car insurance coverage.

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How much money is paid for total loss in an accident?

Car insurance policies provide standard coverage for vehicles involved in a total loss accident or written off due to repair expense, however, this “replacement value” is determined by the market value of the car.

If you hear the words replacement value, dig dipper and ask about GAP car insurance.

This provides coverage between the replacement value of the car and the balance of your car loan.

Securing GAP car insurance with your policy should be mandatory for all new car owners.

Can I submit a claim for more than just the cost of the car?


As a policyholder, you are entitled to submit an insurance claim for any item covered under your policy terms including:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Rental car coverage

However, there is no master list and it will be your unique policy which dictates what claims you are eligible to be paid for.

How to get the most money from your car insurance company when a car is totaled in a car accident?

As much as car insurance companies advertise friendly faces and loving families behind the scenes, they are still more interested in turning a profit.

Step back for a moment even call a car appraiser and get a second opinion on the value of the car before accepting the first offer.

Ready to compare coverage? Get FREE car insurance quotes with our nationwide zip code search tool today. Enter your zip code below to get started!


  1. https://www.progressive.com/claims/total-loss/
  2. https://www.carsdirect.com/car-insurance/how-car-insurance-companies-value-your-vehicle
  3. https://www.trustedchoice.com/car-insurance/auto-coverage-types/gap/
  4. https://www.thebalance.com/understanding-insurance-claims-2645921
  5. https://www.edmunds.com/appraisal/