The insurance company totaled your car after the accident, but the money they’re offering won’t even come close to what you originally paid. As unfair as it may seem, you’re still on the hook for everything remaining on your loan, no matter how much your insurance is willing to chip in.

A brand-new car could be worth half its original price after just four years. Throw in a long-term loan, and you could quickly get upside-down on your vehicle. Unfortunately, the insurance company only cares about what your car was worth, not what you still owe on it. But there are a few things to remember through this frustrating situation.

Finding value

You aren’t without recourse when the numbers don’t match up, and there are a few things to keep in mind when navigating the claims process:

  • Refute the loss: You can argue that your car isn’t beyond saving, but you’ll have to prove it to them. If you can convince your provider that it may cost less to fix it rather than scrapping it, you might be able to stick to repairs instead of shopping for a new car.
  • Double-check value: If the car is totaled, make sure the offer is correct by double-checking the make, trim and options on your vehicle with what they used to find their value. Even when you make sure they have accounted for the sunroof and power windows, the amount could still come up short of what you owe.
  • Mind the gap: Gap insurance is likely the only way the insurance company will come to your rescue if your compensation doesn’t make ends meet. Unfortunately, this is usually an optional addition to your policy, so you’ll need to check to see if you’re covered.
  • Keep up payments: While you’re filing claims, you’ll still need to keep up with your payments. Your lender probably won’t care about your efforts to get the amount covered and you’re still legally responsible for posting that check every month.

You need a vehicle, and unexpectedly losing one that you still owe on can be a huge setback. Make sure you understand the obstacles you could face and you could be better prepared to handle the fallout.