Is My Car Totaled?

After the accident and you have composed yourself, the first thing that a person naturally does is check their vehicle. They like to access the damage and at most times, overreact by saying their vehicle is totalled. In most cases, that may not be the case without having an adjuster give an accurate amount for repair costs. 

The YouTube channel CaliberCollision gives all insight on how to determine if your vehicle has been totalled in an accident. We highly recommended you take a look at it and get the full dept of how insurance companies tell you the final results after an accident. You get the inside scoop of the formula they use for totalled vehicles! But if you don’t want to watch the video, take a read on the transcript below.

Brad Tucker: If you’ve been involved in a more severe accident, one of the first things that you may wonder is how does the insurance company determine whether or not my car is a total loss? For some cars, it’s pretty obvious and you can tell as soon as you look at them but most of the time that’s not the case. Insurance company uses a formula to determine whether or not your car is repairable. Basically, what they do is they look at the fair market value of your automobile, and then they subtract the salvage value which is what they can sell the car for in its wrecked condition at auction.

The difference between those two numbers is the amount of money that they will spend to repair your car. If the amount of the repair exceeds that then they will write you a check for the fair market value of the automobile and take the car to auction. There are a couple of ways that you can get a handle on how much that amount might be but it’s hard to find salvage values and so more often you can use a percentage of the vehicle’s fair market value as at least a rough guide.

Generally speaking, insurance companies will total the car when the repair cost exceeds 65 to 70% of the vehicle’s fair market value. A good way to try to find out what the fair market value of your car is to take a look at NADA’s website nada.com or Kelley Blue Book’s website kbb.com and take a look at the spread between trade-in and private party sale values. Usually, an average of those numbers will give you at least a working idea. The actual fair market value is determined by a report called a CCC. Total Loss Valuation Report. That is a very thorough report that the insurance company commissions to determine the fair market value of your car.

If your car is a total loss you are entitled to a copy of that loss valuation report. It’s a really good idea to get that from the insurance company. You may be surprised in many cases our customers find that they’re getting a check for more than they thought their car was worth but like with anything else the more you know the better decisions you can make and the better you’ll feel about them.