Buying a car is a huge first step down the road to independence. 

Windows down, music playing, wind through your hair… Who can forget that magical first drive? 

Unfortunately, sometimes our dreams crash into reality – quite literally. If your car has been totaled in an accident, or your car’s got a blown engine, or you just can’t figure out why your car won’t run anymore, it may be time to let the poor thing go. 

But there are still ways to recoup at least some of the value of your auto investment, and we’ve put together a quick guide to help you review your options. 

Get the Insurance Money for Your Totaled Car

After your accident, your insurer or at-fault driver’s insurer will tell you what your car’s “actual cash value” is. If the actual cash value of the car is less than the amount of money it would take to fix it, the insurer will total the car.

Once the insurer determines the value, they will pay you that amount, minus your deductible if the claim is against your own policy. 

If you still have a car loan, you must pay it off with that money. A gap insurance policy can really come in handy here.

Donate Your Totaled Car

Donation services will tow your car for free, and your car will be sold for parts. You won’t receive any cash if you donate a used car. 

However, the DMV shares a great point: “You can deduct the fair market value of the car if the charity gives the car away or uses it for charitable purposes. If the charity sells the car, you can deduct the amount and get a break on your taxes.” 

Getting a break on your taxes can feel just as good as having money in your pocket. You definitely won’t be complaining about receiving a tax deduction for your car’s depreciated value come tax time.

Sell Your Totaled Car

There are plenty of cash for junk car companies who will buy your totaled car from you no matter the condition it’s in. Many of these companies will pay you for your totaled car in cash and pick up your car for free. 

If you just want to get rid of the car so it’s not sitting around your property being an eyesore, selling your totaled car to a junk company is a quick, convenient way to make some cash.

Getting Rid of Your Totaled Car Doesn’t Have to Hurt

According to the National Safety Council, the cost of deaths, injuries and property damage due to motor vehicles was $432 billion. As Forbes states, these costs include “losses in wages and productivity, medical expenses, property damage, employer costs and administrative expenses.”

You don’t have to take financial losses like this lying down. Use the knowledge above to get some of your own back and recover money from your totaled car.