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Auto Insurance Claims/Does paying a replacement car to a totaled car by the different car insurance automatically cover the previous damages caused by a different car accident ?


QUESTION: My car was damaged in the car accident. The at fault car insurance wanted me to have it repaired and they would directly pay the body shop. Before the car gets repaired, it was hit again and has been totaled. The second car accident insurance has sent me a check to pay for a replacement car.

Does paying a replacement car to my totaled car by the second car accident insurance automatically cover the previous damages caused by the previous different car accident? Does the first car accident insurance still need to pay for the damages caused by their insured after the car has been totaled and paid for the replacement car by the different car insurance company due to another car accident? Can you tell me how I should deal with this situation? Thank you.

ANSWER: Here is how it works. . .

1st accident. . . . They owe for the damage they caused regardless of the second accident.

2nd accident. . . . They owe you for the value of your car AT THE TIME that they damaged it.

So here's a little more wordy explanation. . .

If at the time of the second accident, your car was still damaged from the first accident, then the people who hit you and totaled it don't owe for the damage that was already there.  If they pay you like a total loss and don't deduct for the damage that was already there, then they paid too much.  If they figure it out, they can ask you for a refund, and you'd have to pay it back and then go to the people from the first accident and get them to pay you for the damages they caused (if they had not already).

I hope that makes sense.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Your answer makes sense. The second car accident insurance has already walked away after sent me a check to pay for the totaled car market value but the first car accident insurance still await the car to get repaired so that they can directly pay the auto body shop. Should I tell the first car accident insurance the car is totaled; the repair has become impossible and then demand for the payment to the damages caused by their insured or they can refuse to pay for the damages because the car has already been paid for the market value by the different insurance company?

ANSWER: You are not required to fix your car, so if you can get the first company to just pay you and tell them you are not repairing yet, you would be good.  Of course, if you were paid for the full value by the second carrier, they could come back and say you got paid twice.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for reply. Is there a way to know the totaled car has been paid full value or not?

Ask the company that paid for the total loss to give you their total loss breakdown paperwork and it should tell whether they deducted any for existing damages.  If you can get them to provide you the paperwork on the total loss, I am happy to help review so you understand.  

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Justin Petty


Challenge me! I promise that I will provide you with the most honest answer I can muster, and I will base it on nearly 20 years of complex claims experience. My strength is shooting it straight and seeing through BS. I do not bluff and I can tell when somebody is. I've handled claims in almost every State in the U.S. and adjusted claims and consulted attorneys and CEO's on recovery and special claims tactics for over a decade. I am the founder and President of Petty Details, LLC. We provide the highest quality claim services to insurance companies, attorneys and individuals all exactly in the same way, by paying attention to the details and doing the right thing.


Nearly 20 years of combined claim company management, litigation, all lines adjusting, claim auditing, damage assessment, subrogation, small claims, tort recovery, collection, skip-tracing, tactical investigations, and contribution claim recovery experience across the United States of America.

NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) (Auto Insurance Expert) Diminished Value Appraisers Group (LinkedIn)

10 years experience in writing and developing technical claims correspondence for litigation and unique scenarios at insurance companies and as a consultant to attorneys assisting with legal briefs and research. 42 published articles relating to auto insurance and claims. Self Published e-books entitled "How Much is My Injury Worth" and "Diminished Value - How Do I Get Paid?".

School of hard knocks, 3 years college, NO DEGREE, years of real world experience running a claims service company and adjusting claims for carriers. Speaks English and Spanish, Limited Portuguese & Italian.

Awards and Honors
Platinum Author ( All Lines Adjuster (TX, 1998 - 2008) TX Public Adjuster (2009 - 2011)

Past/Present Clients
State Farm Insurance, Endeavor GA, MileMeter Ins., American Recreational Markets, Gainsco Ins. Co., Safeway Ins., Home State County Mutual Insurance, Old American County Mutual Insurance, FCCI, Farm Bureau, Liberty Mutual, and Pronto General Agency, LTD just to name a few! On top of insurance companies and attorneys, I have personally helped thousands of accident victims with the difficult and stressful process of navigating their claim to a successful resolution.

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