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Can I refuse a payment to fix my car and asked that it be totaled and written off?

Flushing, NY |

I recently got into an accident and even though my car is older 2003 it still has value about 12-15 due to low milage. If the insurance company wants to fix the damages can i ask that it be totaled? I feel that due to the type of hit it will never be the same and it will reduce the value of my car even if fixed. What if six months (after fixing) things start to fall apart or break, what rights do i have?

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Filed under: Car repairs
Attorney answers 2


You do not indicate the amount of the repairs the insurance company is claiming is required but if the value of the car is correct, repairs must be at least $8000.00. Please note that there is no requirement in NY that you use an insurance company recommended body shop to perform the repairs. If you have a "family" body shop or mechanic, you should go for a second opinion (another estimate) concerning the amount of work needed. If your concerns are legitimate, the only way to "ask" the insurance company to total the vehicle is to have someone else give a competing estimate. Also, you should make sure your idea (and the insurance company's) value of the car is correct by visiting Kelly's or Edmunds online and also checking local classifieds. Lastly, make sure you get a copy of the insurance company's estimate to show to your mechanic. You are entitled to the paperwork.

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The damages have not been accessed as of yet.


No you have no right to ask for it to be totaled. If the value of the repair is under the book value that is what you will get. If you no longer want the vehicle you can cash the check and sell the vehicle - you may actually get more than book value doing it that way.

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