What if my car is totled?

My Pilot has an accident, hit on left side badly, but the car still runs goid. I’d like to drive it for another two year. If insurance let my car totled, can I get it back and repaired and drive again? What to do to keep the title valid and registered next year?
Thanks for sharing information!strong text

You should check your state’s DMV web site to see what the requirements are for title and registration. If it has to pass a safety inspection, you may be out of luck, depending on how much damage there is. Since you are asking this, your insurer probably told you that the Pilot is totaled. I’d take the money they offer and get another vehicle. As to an acceptable amount, it should be enough to buy an exact replacement for your Pilot from a dealer. Wholesale value is way too low. The same goes for the other guy’s insurer if someone hit you. In that case, your insurer should represent you and get you a fair shake. That’s what you pay them for.

Is that the same as Teetotaler-ed ?


The reason I’d like to keep my car is that it run good with new tires in it, and it just passed inspection and annual registration last month. The accident just caused door dents.
Can I ask insurance company not to total it and just pay me some money, and keep drive it until next inspection and registration?

You have not told us the year/mileage of your Pilot, which would help us decide if it was likely that “just a couple of door dents” would total it out. If it’s a 1998 Pilot with 300,000 miles, yeah, it’s totaled. If you just bought it new last year, it’s not (unless the airbags deployed. Then all bets are off).

Yes, you can buy your totaled vehicle back from the insurance company. What will actually happen is that they will give you less money than you would normally get, because you are keeping the car. An insurance payout for a totaled car is really just the insurance company buying your car from you. They’re going to resell it, usually to a junk yard to be parted out, but they don’t particularly care who they sell it to.

The downside is that it will be hard to insure going forward. If you rebuild it and it passes inspection so that it gets a rebuilt title, you will be able to get liability insurance on it, but you will have a hard time finding a company willing to fully insure a salvage car.

If the vehicle is totaled but you wish to keep it, tell your insurance company you wish to retain salvage of the vehicle.

Your insurance company will then deduct about 20% from the agreed totaled value of the vehicle and you keep it.

I’ve done this a few times when my vehicle was totaled but still drivable.


May vary by state but here in OK and once in CA I kept a couple of cars which were declared a total. Fixed 2 here and parted the one in CA out; at least what there was to part…

If the doors are the only damage and they are not crushed into too badly I would not seeing this as a total.
The easiest and cheapest fix would be to collect some insurance money and find a pair of matching paint doors from a salvage, Craigslist, or whatever and swap the doors out.
Any chance of posting a pic of the damage? Your idea of badly might be worse than my idea of the same word.

Left passenger door needs to be replaced, driver’s door has small dent. The frame under passenger door dented a bit. Car has 150k miles on it and it’s 2006 year.

KBB’s private value is 5k, it’s trade-in is 2k by KBB.
I may consider to get it back from insurance and trade-in to dealer when I buy a new one, if dear can take it for $2k.

I’m guessing that’s totaled. If you’re lucky the car’s worth about 3500 bucks (I don’t know where you got 5k, dealer retail is less than that), and it’ll probably take more than that to fix it.

I would say the floor pan could be buckled underneath and that could be a problem. It would take more than simply bolting on a door or two and motoring on.

It’s not really a frame underneath. It’s a floor pan and if bent it would be somewhat labor intensive to mate it back up to another good door. I could do something like this myself so my outlook on it is different compared to someone who is unable to do panel/door swaps and body bending exercises.

The only way you would get 5k trade is if the dealer is (no surprise there) playing those hokey number games on the price of the car you choose to buy. 2k maybe if they are playing less of a game… They will not fix this for resell. They will look at it as wholesale junk and sell it as such to a wholesaler who pays regular visits and who will cobble something together to be able to unload it on someone.

It doesn’t appear that you’ve gone to a body shop for a repair estimate yet. You can’t make any decisions without that information.

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If it’s with $5000 now in a private sale and the insurer says it’s totaled, That means they won’t put upwards of $5000 into it. If you sell it to a dealer as a trade, they still have to fix it to sell it. It would surely cost more than $2000 to fix it, even for a dealer, based on the insurance valuation. If I were the dealer, I’d decline the trade or increase the cost of your next car by whatever they give you for the trade. In short, it’s worth next to nothing to the dealer.

Totaled != junk.

Totaled just means the amount to repair the vehicle is more then it’s worth or a percentage of what it’s worth. That percentage depends on where you live and your insurance company.

As others have said…check with your insurance company. I’ve personally done it twice, but not in a very long time. If the car is drivable and can pass inspection as is you can collect the insurance money and not even get it fixed - “If you don’t have a loan on the vehicle. Banks usually have clauses that if vehicle is in an accident then you need to get it fixed.”

Sure if you want to drive it for a couple more years but are you sure you aren’t passing up a glorious opportunity to get a new car? You are more likely to get a better price from insurance than trading so on a car this old and this many miles, why not take the plunge now? Why wait two years and pass up the opportunity?

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No dealer will buy that car in it’s current condition.

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Thanks everyone, I will do to the insurance agent pointed body shop to get estimate for repairing. Will report here the results.

Thanks everyone! I will be going to the insurance pointed Bodyshop to get an estimate next Monday. I will update here then.

I got $500 trade in for my 03 trailblazer, rear ended and trailer hitch hosed along with CEL that was a $1200 dollar repair from a mechanic who works at the same dealership and does work on the side. As far as them buying it one story, never heard of any dealer refusing a trade in.