What To Expect When Insurance Takes Your Car to Copart After a Total Loss

Getting the call that your vehicle is being declared a total loss by your insurance company can be an emotional and confusing experience. On top of processing that your car is damaged beyond repair, you now have to navigate the claims process.

One question that often comes up is why do insurance companies take totaled vehicles to Copart? What happens when your car gets towed away to be handled and stored at their facility?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain:

  • What is Copart and Their Role in Insurance Claims
  • Why Insurance Companies Use Copart
  • What To Expect When Your Car is Towed to Copart
  • Retrieving Personal Items from Your Totaled Car
  • Can You Buy Back Your Totaled Car from Copart?
  • Dealing With a Car Being Towed Far Away to Copart
  • Understanding Your Rights in the Claims Process
  • Next Steps After Your Car is Towed to Copart

Gaining clarity on the Copart process will help you know what to anticipate during this disruption and make the best decisions regarding your total loss claim.

What is Copart and Their Role in Insurance Claims?

Copart is a national auto auction company that works with insurance companies to handle total loss vehicles. They provide services like:

  • Towing and storing totaled vehicles from wherever they are located to Copart facilities.

  • Conducting appraisals and evaluations on totaled vehicles to determine repair costs and value assessments.

  • Managing the auction sale process for insurance companies to sell totaled cars to licensed buyers, such as dismantlers, rebuilders, and salvage yards.

  • Providing secure storage yards to keep cars free of charge to insurance companies.

So in essence, Copart acts as a third-party administrator to assist with handling, evaluating, and disposing of total loss vehicles on behalf of insurance providers.

Why Insurance Companies Use Copart

There are a few key reasons why most insurance companies choose to work with Copart for total loss vehicles:

  • National reach – With over 200 storage yards across the U.S., Copart can handle towing cars long distances to the nearest facility.

  • Efficient process – Copart coordinates directly with insurers to quickly pick up, assess, and auction totaled vehicles in bulk.

  • Free secure storage – Copart does not charge fees to insurance companies to store totaled cars in their yards during claims processing.

  • Maximized salvage value – Selling cars via their SalvageMatrix online auction generates higher returns than what insurers could get on their own.

  • Regulatory expertise – Copart handles all the paperwork, title transfers, and documentation required when disposing of total loss vehicles.

So it makes the claims process smoother and more cost-effective for insurance companies to outsource the storage, appraisal, and sale of totaled cars to Copart versus managing it in-house.

What To Expect When Your Car is Towed to Copart

Here’s a general overview of the typical process when your insurance company declares your car a total loss and turns it over to Copart:

  • Insurance inspection – The insurer will first assess damage and value to officially deem your car a total loss.

  • Settlement offer – The insurance company will present a total loss settlement offer based on your vehicle’s actual cash value minus deductible.

  • Towing coordination – The insurer will arrange with Copart to have your car picked up and towed to the nearest yard, usually within 1-2 days.

  • Copart inspection – Copart will thoroughly evaluate your car to verify the total loss status and determine its salvage value.

  • Settlement docs – You will complete required paperwork to transfer ownership of the car to the insurance company.

  • Auction listing – Once settled, Copart will photograph your car and list it in their online salvage vehicle auction system.

  • Sale to buyer – Licensed buyers browse and bid on Copart auction listings until a car is sold.

  • Transfer to buyer – Sold cars are released to buyers who are responsible for towing it away from Copart’s yard.

So expect your totaled car to be safely stored at Copart throughout the claims adjustment process before being resold via their salvage auction platform.

Retrieving Personal Items from Your Totaled Car

Once your car is taken to Copart, you will no longer have access to it or any personal belongings left inside. To avoid losing items:

  • Take inventory ASAP – Create a list of any property in your car that you want to retrieve.

  • Contact insurer promptly – Call your claims adjuster as soon as possible to request grabbing personal possessions.

  • Remove before tow – This is the only way to guarantee getting your items back. Don’t count on access after.

  • Ask about exceptions – In rare cases, an insurer may allow you to coordinate a supervised visit at Copart to remove essentials like medication.

  • Submit receipts – Keep receipts for any personal items unable to be recovered that you need to replace and ask about reimbursement.

  • Check paperwork – Review paperwork for clauses about personal property removal – some insurers may deny liability for belongings left in a totaled vehicle.

Can You Buy Back Your Totaled Car from Copart?

In some cases, you may want the option to buy back your totaled car from the insurance company instead of letting them sell it at auction. Here is what you need to know:

  • Not a given – Insures have discretion on allowing buybacks so it’s not guaranteed. Factors like car value, severity of damage, and liability risk come into play.

  • Buyback price – If approved, expect to pay the full total loss settlement amount the insurer originally offered you. This effectively buys back the car’s salvaged title.

  • Added fees – You’ll also have to cover any towing, storage, and title transfer fees incurred after the insurer takes possession of the car.

  • Repair investment – Evaluate if the buyback price plus needed repairs exceed the cost of replacing your totaled car altogether.

  • Ask quickly – Don’t wait to inquire about a buyback option – it’s easier to request this before the insurer transfers the title and investment in repairs becomes prohibitive.

Dealing With a Car Being Towed Far Away to Copart

One common frustration is when an insurance company has your car towed a long distance away to the nearest Copart facility. Here are some tips to handle this:

  • Verify tow distance – Confirm the mileage to the Copart destination before the tow truck shows up so you understand the distance.

  • Request closer option – If it’s excessive (over 100 miles), politely ask your insurer if there are any closer approved storage yards.

  • Consider requesting buyback – If you want to avoid the car being too far away to reasonably retrieve personal items, inquire about buying it back.

  • Weigh total value – Does the high tow mileage materially change the total loss settlement value you’d receive? If so, discuss a fair offset with your adjuster.

  • File complaint – If you feel the tow distance imposes undue hardship, file a complaint with your State Department of Insurance regarding the insurer’s practices.

Though inconvenient, keep in mind the insurer is acting in their business interests, not yours. You have to advocate for your rights as a policyholder.

Understanding Your Rights in the Claims Process

Here are a few key rights to remember if your car is taken to Copart after being totaled:

  • Take your time – Don’t feel pressured to accept a settlement offer. Negotiate if you believe the value is unfair.

  • Receive clear explanations – Your insurer must explain in detail why your car is deemed a total loss, how value is determined, and the Copart process.

  • Access to your policy – Request a copy of your policy so you can understand the insurer’s rights, especially around retaining your totaled vehicle.

  • Appraisal if you disagree – In most states you can demand an independent appraisal of your car’s value if you don’t agree with the insurer’s settlement amount.

  • File complaints – Every state has a Department of Insurance you can contact if you believe you are being treated unfairly by your insurer during the claims process.

Don’t assume insurance companies have unlimited power when it comes to handling your car after it’s totaled. Make sure you exercise your rights as a policyholder to protect your interests.

Next Steps After Your Car is Towed to Copart

If you find yourself in the situation where your car is declared a total loss and towed away to Copart, here are the next steps to take:

  • Remove any personal property before the tow or submit receipts for reimbursement.

  • Carefully review your total loss settlement offer and negotiate if it seems unfair.

  • Consider if you want to request buying back your totaled car from the insurer.

  • Complete and return all required settlement paperwork to transfer title to the insurer.

  • If tow

Totaled Vehicle? Total Loss Car? Negotiating Insurance Payout. Insurance Low Balls Total Loss (2020)


What does Copart do for insurance companies?

Copart specializes in the resale and remarketing of salvage title vehicles for a variety of Sellers, including insurance companies, rental car companies, local municipalities, financial institutions and charities.

Why would my insurance company send me a certified letter?

By sending these notices via Certified Mail, insurers ensure that they have proof that the policyholder has received notice of the cancellation. Insurers may also use Certified Mail to send legal notices to policyholders.

What is the penalty for not paying Copart?

If the lot is not paid in full within 8 calendar days (including the day of sale), the vehicle will be relisted. The Relist Fee will be 10% of the final sale price with a minimum of $600. If you have a deposit on file, the relist fee will be taken out of your existing deposit.

Can you get a refund from Copart membership?

How do I get a deposit refund if I paid through wire transfer? Copart will return the Premier Member security deposit upon the Member’s request if all invoices and charges have been paid in full; however, the Member’s account will then be downgraded to Basic Membership.

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