If you are involved in an accident deemed to be your fault, the full coverage portion of your auto insurance policy should pay to repair your vehicle. If the accident is deemed to be the fault of the other driver, that driver's insurance should pick up the cost to fix your vehicle. If the cost to repair your car exceeds the fair market value of the vehicle, the responsible insurance company then declares the vehicle a total loss. In that case the most you can receive from either insurance company is the actual value of the car.
Check the mileage of your totaled vehicle by going through your service records, or simply looking at the odometer if the car is still in your possession. The amount of mileage can have a big impact on the value of the car.
Find the exact make and model of your car. Many vehicles come in more than one edition or trim level, and that can have an impact on the value of the car as well.
Look up the make and model of your car in a car price guide like the Kelley Blue Book. Note the values listed for cars in good, fair and poor condition. Assess the value of your own car to find its fair market value.
Compare the prices in car price guides with car ads in your local newspaper, both the inserts from car dealers and the classified ads. If you consistently find your make and model selling for more than the Kelley Blue Book value, you may be able to use that information and convince the insurance company to pay you more for your totaled vehicle.
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