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Will My Car Be Totaled After An Accident?

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After an auto collision, you might be wondering whether you car will end up totaled. Here is some information on how that works, and what the implications are.

When Is a Car Totaled?

A vehicle is considered totaled when the cost to repair it is higher than 50% of the car's market value. The totaling process is determined by the insurance adjuster who will take a look and document your car's damage and value.

What Happens with a Totaled car?

If your car gets totaled, the insurance company sends you a check for the value of your car. They must determine the value of a comparable car in your area.

The Salvage Issue, and Keeping a Totaled Car

You can keep a car after it is totaled. However, be aware that a car that has been totaled will need to be reported to the DMV by the insurance company. It may reduce the value of the vehicle significantly, making it hard to sell your car in the future.

When You Don't Like the Insurance Adjuster's Result

There are reasons that you would want a car to be totaled, and reasons that you wouldn't. So when your car is close to the line and you wish the result had been on the other side of the line, there are things you will want to look into.

If your car was not considered totaled when you were hoping for that result, take the vehicle to a collision repair shop or an auto repair center, such as Fenza's Auto Body Inc., right away. There may be other damages that the insurance adjuster did not catch. If the mechanic finds additional body damage or suspension problems, they can take it up with the insurance company and try to have the insurance claim adjusted. They may also argue that the auto work requested cannot be done for the amount of money the insurance company offered; perhaps there are some complications that would make it more expensive or time-consuming to fix, or perhaps the market value of the parts and labor in your area would make it hard to fix the car for that price.

On the other hand, if you don't want to have your car totaled, shop around for estimates and try to find a collision repair shop that can do the work for less than the insurance adjuster claimed. In either scenario, getting multiple estimates is the best way to support your claims.