How to Buy a New Car After Your Car Is Totaled

by Shanan Miller

If your car has been recently determined a total loss, you can begin shopping for a new one. Before shopping, confirm the payoff amount of a loan or the time when you can expect to receive your check.

Considerations

If your car has been totaled, you'll need to find out the next steps for vehicle payoff, or when you can expect a check for your loss if you plan to use it for money down. If you still have an outstanding loan, it will prove hard to get a preapproval until that loan shows as paid on your credit report. Ask for a letter of intent from the insurance company, stating the amount to be paid out and to whom. Or find out when you'll have the cash to put toward another purchase to plan your shopping and purchase time.

Warning

If you had a loan on your vehicle and the value as determined by your insurance company was less than the bank payoff amount, you may experience difficulties closing your old loan. You are responsible for paying the difference in value to your lender. Until the difference is paid off, you can find it hard to finance another vehicle.

Time Frame

If the insurance check for a totaled car is coming directly to you, the process generally takes two weeks. Your insurance company may require you to sign and mail back paperwork. Some insurance companies electronically deposit the money to your bank account. It can take months before a loan is paid off by the insurance company. Banks have their own procedures and departments, making the loan payoff process a lengthy one. Call often to ensure that your account is being handled as quickly as possible.

About the Author

Shanan Miller covers automotive and insurance topics for various websites, blogs and dealerships. She has extensive automotive experience, including auction, insurance, finance, service and management positions. Miller has worked for dealer sales events around the United States and now stays local as a sales and leasing consultant for a dealership.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera lights on image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com