If your vehicle has been deemed totaled by the insurance company, you need to be an informed consumer. A vehicle is considered a total loss if the insurance company determines that the total cost to repair your car to pre-accident condition is more than a certain percentage of car’s retail value. Insurers set their own allowable percentage, within state-mandated guidelines (typically around 60 to 75 percent), and use their own formulas to determine a car’s value and estimated repair costs.
Here are a few additional points you should know about when and why a car is declared totaled, and precautions you can take ahead of time to lessen the impact:
- Make sure the insurance appraisal includes the value of all extra features and aftermarket accessories, like heated seats, custom wheels or an upgraded audio system.
- Be prepared to show documentation of any major repairs or upgrades you made that might boost the car’s value — say you recently replaced the engine or bought new tires.
- Make sure the insurer’s totaled car value includes estimated sales tax to replace the car, as well as registration and title costs, since you wouldn’t have incurred these costs if you didn’t need to replace the car.
Here is a list of links to help you find an accurate value for your vehicle. Remember that insurance companies also take vehicle mileage into consideration.
Click on any logo to link to website