Collisions, floods, theft—they can all leave you with a salvaged car, or what the insurance business calls a total loss. You can’t legally drive a salvaged car (even if it still starts!), but the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has a few ways for you to deal with it.
What Is a Salvaged Car in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, a salvaged car is one that’s so damaged it would cost more to repair than the car’s worth immediately before the damage occurred (i.e. its fair market value). Generally, your insurance provider determines whether your car is a salvage, also referred to as a “total loss.”
Total Loss Settlements
When your car becomes severely damaged, typically your first step is to file a total loss claim with your insurance company. If your company determines the car is indeed a total loss, you’ll choose between accepting a:
- Full settlement, in which: