My Vehicle is a Total Loss,
But I Want to Keep my Vehicle, What Can I do?
Sometimes a person may wish to keep their vehicle even if it’s a total loss or “salvaged.” You can let the insurance company know that you wish to retain your vehicle. You will probably not be able to retain it and the full fair market value of the vehicle, but it should be pretty close. This applies to a situation where there is no “loan” on the vehicle and you own it outright.
The short formula would be:
The amount you would have received for your vehicle, minus the salvaged value.
For the full Insurance Code that applies to California regarding keeping your vehicle when it’s a total loss, see the code section below or visit: http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/130-laws-regs-hearings/05-CCR/fair-claims-regs.cfm#settlements
Section 2695.8. Additional Standards Applicable to Automobile Insurance
(A) If the insured chooses to retain the loss vehicle or if the third party claimant retains the loss vehicle, the cash settlement amount shall include the sales tax associated with the cost of a comparable automobile, discounted by the amount of sales tax attributed to the salvage value of the loss vehicle. The cash settlement amount shall also include all fees incident to transfer of the claimant's vehicle to salvage status. The salvage value may be deducted from the settlement amount and shall be determined by the amount for which a salvage pool or a licensed salvage dealer, wholesale motor vehicle auction or dismantler will purchase the salvage. If requested by the claimant, the insurer shall provide the name, address and telephone number of the salvage dealer, salvage pool, motor vehicle auction or dismantler who will purchase the salvage. The insurer shall disclose in writing to the claimant that notice of the salvage retention by the claimant must be provided to the Department of Motor Vehicles and that this notice may affect the loss vehicle's future resale and/or insured value. The disclosure must also inform the claimant of his or her right to seek a refund of the unused license fees from the Department of Motor Vehicles.