What Happens If You Crash a Financed Car with Insurance?

June 12, 2024

What Happens if You Crash a Financed Car with Insurance?

Crashing a financed car can be a daunting experience due to the financial complexities involved. Understanding your obligations and the role of insurance can help you navigate this stressful situation effectively.

Financial Responsibilities After a Crash

Even if you crash a financed car, your financial obligations towards the loan do not disappear. You are still liable for the remaining loan amount, whether the car is being repaired or replaced. It's crucial to maintain up-to-date payments to avoid additional financial strain.

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Required Insurance Coverage for Financed Cars

Financial institutions typically require full coverage auto insurance for financed vehicles. This ensures you have collision and comprehensive coverage, among other protections, regardless of the accident's circumstances.

Types of Insurance Coverage

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage handles the repair or replacement costs of your vehicle, irrespective of fault, up to the policy’s maximum limit, usually requiring a deductible.

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Gap Insurance

If the loan balance exceeds the insurance payout, gap insurance covers the difference to avoid out-of-pocket expenses. This can be particularly helpful if your car's actual cash value is less than the remaining loan balance.

Fault-Based Insurance Claim

Should you cause the accident, fault-based claims cover up to $10,000 of damage to another person’s vehicle, protecting you from personal financial liability.

Understanding Total Loss and Insurance Settlement

An insurance company may declare a car "totaled" if repair costs exceed 80% of the car’s current actual cash value. In such cases, the insurance company compensates you for the vehicle, and the title is transferred to them. The settlement check, covering the loan balance or policy limit, is sent directly to the financing institution. Any remaining surplus can be used as a down payment for a new vehicle.

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Additional Damages in a Car Accident

Collisions can result in personal injuries, introducing more complications and costs. States like Florida mandate personal injury protection (PIP) policies, which cover a portion of medical expenses and lost income, typically up to $10,000.

Pursuing Additional Compensation

Severe injuries that exceed PIP coverage limits can be addressed through fault-based lawsuits against the negligent driver. Compensation from such lawsuits may cover pain and suffering, current and future medical expenses, income losses, reduced earning capacity, and property damages.

Legal Guidance and Support

Consulting with auto accident attorneys can help navigate the complex legal and financial challenges following an accident involving a financed vehicle. For example, the law firm Pacin Levine, P.A., offers free case evaluations and dedicated support for individuals seeking justice and compensation after a car accident.

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