Is Your Car Totaled? How Insurance Determines This and What to Do Next

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Car accidents can ruin your day. If you were involved in a crash where your vehicle is extremely damaged, your insurance company may declare it “totaled.” You may ask: what does “total” even mean, and what should I do when this happens? Well, in short, it means that the cost to repair your car is greater than the actual value. When this happens, an insurance company will not pay to fix the car, but rather settle on a fair value that will compensate you.

As this process takes place, what should you do? There are key supplementary safeguards that may make a huge impact, one being rental car coverage. However, you’ll need this active before an accident occurs. It is very convenient in a situation where your car is either wrecked and needs to be repaired or if it’s considered totalled and you are without a vehicle to get you around.

This is an overview of when a vehicle is classified as “totaled” and what to do next.

When Does Insurance Total Your Car?

When the entire cost of damages is close or surpasses the car’s worth, this is when it is considered “totaled”. When repair costs plus the salvage value of a vehicle is more than the cash worth, this is when an insurance company usually deems it “totaled”.

Determining this isn’t always an easy task.  The salvage value after a loss is a portion of the deciding factor, while it’s salvage value is calculated with the damage costs and other variables that are difficult to assess.

So, what variables are considered in determining whether or not your vehicle is totaled? An appraiser calculates the cost of repairs to see if the amount is more than the value of the vehicle on the market, factoring in the cost of replacement components, labor costs and the salvage value.

What value is used by an insurance company when they declare your automobile totaled? When your automobile is deemed totaled, an insurance company will certainly use the vehicle’s actual cash value to evaluate what the vehicle is valued at. It’s not as simple as just that though, as various elements can impact this number.

Is the Car Considered a Total Loss If the Airbags Deploy?

No, not always. The presence of airbags being deployed doesn’t imply a complete loss. However, it will depend on the cost of airbag replacements, as to whether it will end up a complete loss.

A lot of factors surrounding the status of a vehicle comes down to the vehicle’s value, in relation to other costs like the total cost for repairs, the cost to have it towed, labor and more.

When it’s all said and done, an insurance company adjuster has to complete a full evaluation before determining if the car was totalled.

Determining Value

Actual Cash Value: Your car’s real monetary value may be calculated by assessing your car’s condition, which is based on the age, the make and model, how much mileage is on it, and how well-kept it is.

Salvage Value: This number is determined by estimating the total worth of the salvageable components, such as the tires, engine, the seats, car panels and electronics. Anything that can be resold is used to determine this value. Obviously, if this number is less than the actual cash value, the car is a complete loss.

Repair costs: This is self-explanatory. An insurance adjuster will determine if the cost of fixing the car is more or less than the actual cash value.

Obtain Legal Counsel

While there are a variety of factors to consider if your vehicle is totaled, you can enlist help to correspond with your insurance company or someone else to resolve the problem. Help comes in the form of a car accident lawyer. They have dealt with almost any situation surrounding car accidents, so you can receive important insight as to how you should handle conversations with insurance to either fix your vehicle or receive a payout to purchase a new one.

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