You’ve gotten into an accident, and your insurance company gives you the ominous news that your car is totaled. What does this mean, and how did your insurer come to that conclusion? Discover the answers to these important questions and what your options are if your vehicle is declared a total loss.
What’s a Totaled Car?
When most people envision a totaled vehicle, a flipped car with its belly up or a nearly unrecognizable vehicle tend to come to mind. For the most part, this isn’t the case for vehicles that are declared a total loss. Totaled simply means that the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle is greater than your vehicle’s actual worth. To determine if this is the case for your vehicle, you need to have it inspected by a car professional.
Have Your Car Evaluated
An appraiser from your insurance company is usually the go-to person to evaluate your vehicle to determine whether it’s totaled. Their first step is to determine your vehicle’s actual cash value. That is, how much your vehicle was worth before the accident.
They then adjust this value based on your vehicle’s specifications, such as whether it has any dents, warps, leaks, or rust and how many miles are on your vehicle. They also take into consideration whether you’ve made any enhancements to your car and how well you’ve taken care of it.
One of the best ways you can ensure that the value of your car is properly calculated is to keep records and receipts of any modifications or repairs you’ve made. If you recently replaced the transmission or serpentine belt, for example, this could potentially increase your car’s worth.
If your insurance company evaluates your vehicle and gives an amount that you believe may be incorrect, you’re free to have someone else evaluate your vehicle. Most insurance companies have technicians on contract, so you could choose to have one of them inspect your vehicle. You can also choose to have your own mechanic evaluate your vehicle if you trust their judgement.
How to Know if Your Car Is Totaled
After having your vehicle evaluated, you know your car is totaled if the inspectors agree that the cost of repairing or replacing your car exceeds your car’s actual worth. In other words, the amount of money your insurance pays for your totaled vehicle minus their profit from selling it to a salvager needs to be less than the amount of money your insurer would pay to have your car repaired.
If your car is totaled, you still have the option of keeping your car rather than handing it over to your insurer. They still pay the amount of its actual cash value, they just subtract whatever profit they would’ve made by selling it to a salvager. If you do choose to keep your car, be sure to follow your state’s specific laws regarding salvage vehicles.
CarTek Collision is your local full service automobile repair center, proudly serving the Eagle Rock, Pasadena, Glendale and Los Angeles, community. Contact us today if your vehicle needs repairs or if you need your vehicle evaluated by one of our car experts.
How to Determine if Your Car Is Totaled