What Makes a Car Totaled After a Wreck?

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Tips

When most people picture a totaled car, they picture a car crunched like an accordion or a car that is in pieces all over the road. While a car in this condition is undoubtedly totaled, a car that appears to have minor damage may also be declared totaled as well.

How is that possible?

Well, whether or not your car is totaled has a lot to do with the value of your car. Basically, if it will cost the insurance company more to repair your car than it would to replace it, then they will declare your car a total loss. A lot of times a car can look like there is no way it could be totaled, but when repairs start to take place, unseen damage can be found in the engine that can quickly make the repair costs add up. In most cases, if the repairs equal 70-75% of the car’s value, it will be declared a total loss. Even if your car has a high value, it may still be considered totaled if the damage that occurred cannot be repaired to a safe state. In fact, some states even require that a car be totaled if the amount of repairs reaches a certain threshold.

Sweet, so then the insurance company will replace my car?

If only it were that easy. Insurance companies are actually only required to pay you the actual cash value of the car, which they get to determine. They will look at what similar cars are selling for in your area, as well as sources like Kelley Blue Book. But if your car has unusually high mileage or any pre-existing damage, you can expect your settlement amount to be even less. Whether this is good or bad for you depends on your financial status with the car. If the car is paid off and you were considering getting a new car anyway, getting your car totaled can be a blessing in disguise. However, if you still owe on your car, the insurance company will only pay what they consider the actual value of the car, not the amount you owe. Yes, that means you may have to keep making car payments on a car that is no longer drivable.

Do I have any other options?

ctually, yes. If for financial or sentimental reasons you would rather keep your car, then that is an option as well. Insurance companies sell totaled cars to salvage companies, so they may as well sell it to you instead. In that case, the insurance company will deduct an agreed upon salvage amount from your settlement payment. However, keeping a totaled car is risky business. After all, it was declared totaled for a reason.

|

Customer Reviews

Defensivedriving.com has a ShopperApproved rating of 4.7 based on 101335 ratings and reviews.

Miguel United States
Excellent
Samantha
pretty quick and easy
Grayson
easy to navigate
Angel
Great and fast
Carter
Easy to understand and a very quick process to get started
Lorenzo
Easy, Efficient.
Danny
So easy
Danijela
Love it.
Mya
site is user friendly and easy to navigate
Jessica TX, United States
great!
Robert
very easy to get started and fully explained.
Jacob
Easy to do.
Roberto
Great experience.
RAIMONE TX, United States
EASY TO USE
Ivette
Easy, fast and to the point!!!
Malinda
Easy to navigate
Agustina
Quick and easy process
James United States
Quick & Easy!
John TX, United States
same as last time. Great.
Howell
Intuitive
Elta
quick and easy
Selena
Quick and easy
Adam
It was great!
Randal
Easy to get registared
Frank
Fast
See all reviews on shopperApproved.com
Why DefensiveDriving.com
  • 20 Years in Business
  • Over 2 Million Customers Served
  • Highest Possible Better Business Bureau Rating
  • Award Winning Course