When an auto insurer declares your vehicle a total loss, you might lose some hair because of the hassle, but you shouldn't lose your shirt. Auto insurers are responsible for paying the actual cash value or market value of your vehicle so you can replace it with a similar one, but that's only half the story. In Georgia, they are also responsible to pay for the "hidden" costs that come with purchasing a new vehicle, such as sales tax, title, and vehicle registration. The amount payable on taxes, license fees, and transfer fees shall be limited to the amount that would have been paid on the totaled, insured vehicle at the time of settlement.


Twenty-nine states require auto insurers to pay for the sales tax after you replace your crashed vehicle with a new or used one (see list at right). However, that doesn't necessarily mean insurers in those states are going to offer to pay sales tax up front, nor does it mean insurers in states that don't require those reimbursements will refuse to pay. That's why it's important to ask the insurer to reimburse you, even if the state in which you live does not require it.