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When you total a leased vehicle, you will find out that many insurance companies, such as Esurance, Erie Insurance, Auto-Owners, Westfield Insurance, Farmers, and Cincinnati Insurance Cos. do not reimburse you for your total loss unless you are fortunate enough to have gap cover. According to recent consumer allegations, policyholders are being left with large amounts owing to their leasing companies, causing major financial strain.

The Total Loss Formula in California is Cost of Repairs + Salvage Value ≥ Actual Cash Value.

If the sum of the repair costs and the salvage value is more than or equal to the ACV, your car is deemed a total loss.

Hidden costs when you total a leased car could cause serious financial problems

Damaging a leased car can result in high charges. You should contact your provider as soon as possible for a list of their approved garages before having the repairs done yourself. If you have an incident that causes damage to the rental car, you will need damage protection. Many credit cards do provide secondary damage protection. This means that it only kicks in after the primary coverage limit has been reached.

If your car is totaled, you will still be required to make normal lease payments until the claim is settled. Also, just like for a loan, if the market value of the vehicle is less than the amount owed on the lease contract, you will still need to pay the difference unless you have gap insurance. Fortunately, many lease agreements require gap insurance with any lease, so you’ll likely be saved from owing any extra cash yourself.

Many hidden fees may not be covered in your policy such as license fees, sales tax, and other applicable taxes.

On top of all the inconvenience, costs, and possible injuries, your insurance premium will most likely increase once your vehicle has been totaled. Additionally, your car will decrease in value as people will demand a significant discount when purchasing a vehicle that has been involved in an accident and repaired. This is known as “diminished value”.

Most people don’t realize this, but you are not obliged to accept the settlement figure for your motor vehicle. You may negotiate with the insurance company to find a figure that is suitable for you and them. Sometimes, insurance companies may not have all the required information to determine an accurate settlement figure.

Hire Shamis and Gentile, P.A. to handle your total loss of a leased vehicle

This minefield of possible problems associated with insurance means that you really should hire a law firm like Shamis and Gentile, P.A. to handle your total loss of a leased vehicle. 

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