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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 29818
Experience:  Lawyer
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We are making payments on a 2006 Hyundi Sonata. It received

Customer Question

We are making payments on a 2006 Hyundi Sonata. It received extensive hail damage on Oct. 21. Hartford insurance company has deamed it a total loss. The lender Santander Consumer USA is saying that we can't keep the car and keep making payments on it. After insurance pays there part there is around $1500 dollars left on the loan. We have never been late on payments. The car runs fine. Is this correct that we have to turn in the car? Thank you, ***** *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Leila,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

When a car is totaled, that means the insurance company notifies the Connecticut DMV and the vehicle is marked as salvage. You get a new title that says "salvage" on it, and it's illegal to drive the vehicle on Connecticut roads. The registration is cancelled. So, if they've determined that the car is a total loss, yes, you have to turn it in. You may want to check to see if you have gap insurance, either with your policy or on your loan - that would mean you wouldn't have to pay the remaining $1,500 due on the loan. You can also try to negotiate a higher payment based on the Kelly Blue Book value of your car before the loss. You don't have to accept the insurance company's first offer. Maybe you can help close the gap a little, if you don't have insurance.

Also, your insurance contract usually gives the insurance company the right to declare a vehicle a total loss and that means they're buying the car from you (so you'd have to hand it over). You can try talking to a supervisor - they may be able to show you where the policy says you've agreed to this. Ask them if there's any way to cash out the damage and have the car repaired yourself so you can keep driving it - but you'll want to verify the total cost of repairs before you do that. It could be more than the value of the car.

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