Totaled Car – What You Should Know and What to Do

When you get into a car accident, there’s a 12 to 14 percent of your car getting totaled, based on CCC Information Services. This high likelihood is enough reason for you to understand some things about total car loss.

Total loss: Repair Costs less Deductibles < Market Value of Car (Before the Crash)

Total Loss Formula – Different insurance companies have different methods of determining of a car is a total loss or a write off. You have to understand these methods carefully. Ask an agent to carefully explain how they came up with the formula for a total loss.

Payment Details – The settlement pay from an insurance company should be based on the market value of your vehicle before the crash. Market value normally includes data from online car sites and actual transaction records. Deductibles include costs related salvaging and disposal of the car.


Payment Time – It normally takes one to two months before receiving payment. It all depends on how much damage is involved.

Totaled Car Options – You actually have five options with a total car. One, you take the check from your insurance firm and start shopping for another car. Two, you keep the car and have it fixed (just make sure repairs costs are practical). Three, you keep the car and don’t fix it (keep using it because although it looks bad, it still works). Four, keep the car and dispose of parts. Fifth, donate the car (and let recipient make money out of it).


Car Appraisal – You can ask a trustworthy appraiser for the real value of your car. You can also use appraisal tools, which are available online. Third, you can look up price  listings of similar cars in both online and print ads.

It’s ideal to research the value of your totaled car before considering offer from insurance company. Remember that the market value of your vehicle refers to its valuation before the accident. If your insurance company is low-balling you, you have the right not to accept their offer or contest it.

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