Q: My car was a total loss. Can the insurance make me keep my car or do they have to take the car?
A: As much as I hate giving this answer, the answer is that it depends. Don’t shoot the messenger!
If it is your insurance company, then they will take the car and send it to a salvage yard. They are not required to do this, but they do it as a customer service. I know, it is hard to believe that insurance companies have customer service. But, they try sometimes!
However, if it is the other person’s insurance, called a third party claim, then they can deduct the salvage value and make you keep it. Yes, you could get stuck with a car that is a total loss. However, the insurance company has to tell you where they got the salvage quote from, how much it is for, and if you cannot sell it for that price, they owe you the difference. If the car is a newer car or a higher value car, they will take it. If it is an older car or a lower value car, then they will tell you to keep it.
So, the answer is truly that it depends. However, if your car is a total loss, you should always ask the insurance company to take the car. It is one less step for you and a good adjuster will try to make it easier for you, whether it is your own insurance company trying to provide customer service or the other person’s insurance, hoping to get you to see them in a good light.