Total Loss: When to sign title over to insurance company.

Trying to finish up a settlement for a car accident where our vehicle has been declared a total loss.

Earlier there was disagreement on storage cost and towing company’s charges when discussed the payment on call. I replied them in mail that its not acceptable to me to pay charges for the towing company.

Today the other drivers’ insurance company has made us an offer via e-mail that is acceptable to us but didn’t tell us anything other than the amount and send title to them. I am assuming as they are asking us to send the title, they will deal with towing company and totaled the car thing. but wonder why they didn’t mentioned it. Should I ask them to clear out ?

This is a legal question. But I would discuss it with my insurance company.

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Only agree when everything is in writing to your satisfaction. In this era of texting and email, insist on a written statement of summary of every point, on company letterhead. It can come electronically and you print it out. The moment you sign the title the game is over and no one will be returning your calls, so get it all squared away before you finalize things.


The costs were incurred when the car was in your name and will not follow the car. You owe that money. If the proposed settlement amount does not include enough to cover the car and these other costs, you better sort that out before accepting their check. The check will include a release of further liability…


Was your car insured? Why isn’t your insurer handling this for you?

Apparently the other persons insurance is the one paying for the vehicle loss. When we had one totaled ( fortunately no one injured ) the other company sent forms for us to sign and return with the keys and then we received a check .

I have liability only. No comprehensive and collision coverage.

I would argue that I do not owe storage and towing fees because the vehicle was totaled and the Insurance company ultimately ended up owning the vehicle.

20+ years ago, a woman driving alone in a minivan pulled out onto a main drag right in front of me! I was driving my ‘89 Colt - a small sub-compact, and her sight line to me was blocked by a monster SUV about to take a right-turn down the road she was about to turn off of. I hit her right in the driver’s door at about 20-30 mph after skidding a few feet. My car was subsequently deemed “totaled” (because of its age and mileage), but it was still driveable, so I continued on to work that day, then back home later.

But if a tow truck had shown up (because of a jammed wheel, for example), I would’ve told them to tow it to my house - because it wouldn’t have been clear to me at that point whether or not it was going to be totaled.

But had it been wrecked severely, making it obvious it was going to be totaled, I wouldn’t have wanted that on my driveway, so it would’ve been towed away - preferably to a place of my choosing … just to throw a monkey wrench into their (tow guy and cop’s) racket.

Just negotiate it out of the final number, making sure the overall number you get makes sense for the street value of the vehicle.