When Will A Insurance Company Total Your Car


In the event of an auto accident, a totaled car is one that the insurance company has deemed has suffering such severe damage that it is not worth repairing. Having your car totaled can be a stressful experience, but there are certain things you can do to make sure you are properly insured and compensated. The information provided here can help you understand why and when an insurance company will total your car so that you can make an informed decision.

What Type of Damage Will Total Your Car

The most common types of damage that can total a car are collision, fire, theft, and flooding. Collision coverage is required by most states, and will provide compensation for damages caused by a car accident. Fire coverage is typically optional and will cover any damages caused by a fire, while theft coverage will protect you against loss due to theft or vandalism. Flooding is typically covered by a separate policy and can provide additional compensation if your car is damaged in a flood.

In addition to these common types of damage, there can also be other considerations that affect whether or not an insurance company will total a car. Age, condition, and the type of vehicle can all factor into the decision. Generally, if a car has been totaled, it means that the repair costs would exceed the value of the car. In some cases, however, an insurance company may also total a car if the cost of repairs is too expensive relative to the value of the car.

When Will an Insurance Company Total Your Car

In most cases, an insurance company will total your car if the cost of repairs is more than the actual cash value (ACV) of the car. The ACV is the amount of money the car is worth at the time the damage occurred—this can be different from the original purchase price. The ACV is calculated by taking into account the make, model, year, mileage, and condition of the car at the time of the accident. In some cases, an insurance company may also total a car if the cost of repairs is too expensive relative to the value of the car.

In some jurisdictions, the insurance company must total a car if the damage exceeds 75% of the car’s ACV. In these cases, the insurance company is required to offer a settlement based on the car’s ACV in lieu of repairs. This is known as a total loss settlement. The total loss settlement is designed to help the insured pay for a new car if their car is totaled.

What To Do if Your Car is Totaled

If your car is totaled, the first thing to do is to contact your insurance company to determine their policies and regulations regarding total loss claims. Your insurance company will provide you with the procedures for filing a total loss claim and the information you need to provide to get the process started. It is important to read through all the paperwork and make sure you understand the terms of the settlement before you file the claim.

Before filing a claim, make sure you have all the necessary documentation such as repair estimates, bills, and proof of ownership. Once the claim is submitted, it is up to the insurance company to determine the ACV of the car and the compensation you will receive. Generally, the insurer will provide a check for the total loss settlement within 30 days.

What Happens if Your Car is Not Totaled

If the damage to your car is determined to be repairable, the insurance company will provide compensation up to the ACV of the car. Depending on the extent of the damage, the insurance company may require you to have the car repaired at a designated repair shop or pay for the repairs out of pocket. If you choose to have the car repaired, the repairs must be completed to the insurer’s specifications in order for the claim to be approved.

In some cases, the insurance company may offer to pay for the repairs but require you to use the repair shop of their choice. Before deciding on a repair shop, make sure to check with your insurer for their guidelines and determine the extent of the damage to your car. It is also important to note that the insurer may not pay more than the ACV of the car.

Additional Coverage

If your car is totaled but you still need to have it repaired, you may consider purchasing additional coverage to help cover the costs of repairs. Collision coverage, which is required by most states, is often an additional feature of a standard auto insurance policy. This type of coverage will provide compensation for any damage to your car caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. Comprehensive coverage is also an option and provides coverage for fire and theft, as well as other non-collision related damages.

In addition to these standard options, there are also other types of coverage that can be purchased to provide extra protection. Gap insurance, for example, is designed to cover the gap between the ACV of your car and the amount you owe on your car loan. This type of coverage is beneficial if you have an older car that has depreciated in value over time.

When to Total a Car vs. Repair it

When deciding whether or not to total a car, it is important to consider the cost of repairs, the age and condition of the car, and the extent of the damage. If the cost of repairs is more than the ACV of the car, it may be in your best interests to accept the total loss settlement from the insurer and purchase a new car. However, if the damage is not too extensive and the car is valued at less than 75% of its ACV, it may make sense to have the car repaired. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to total a car is a personal one, so it is important to weigh all of your options before making a final decision.

Safety and Preventative Measures

Car insurance can help minimize the financial impact of a totaled vehicle, but there are steps you can take to prevent accidents altogether. Regular maintenance and periodic safety inspections can help ensure that your vehicle is running properly and reduce the risk of accidents. Additionally, driving defensively, obeying traffic laws, and staying alert can help reduce the chances of being involved in an accident.

It is also important to be aware of bad weather conditions and poor road surfaces, and plan accordingly. Following these safety precautions can help reduce the risk of an accident and minimize any potential damages that may occur. Additionally, having adequate auto insurance coverage can help provide protection in the event an accident does occur.

Appraising Value

Receiving a total loss settlement can be difficult to accept, but an insurer’s appraisal of a vehicle’s current value can help you make an informed decision about total losses. This is because an insurer works with an appraiser who is trained to look at your vehicle objectively and determine what its actual current value is. The appraiser will consider a number of factors including the make, model, age, mileage, and condition of the car to assess the value. Receiving an appraisal can help ease the process of determining whether or not to total a car.


Ultimately, the decision of when to total a car is a personal one. Having adequate insurance coverage and understanding the ACV of your car can help you make an informed decision about whether or not to repair or total the car. Working with an appraiser to understand the value of the damaged vehicle can also help make the decision process easier. With the information provided here, you can determine when an insurance company will total your car and get the most value out of your insurance policy.

Marjorie Turcios is a seasoned leader and management expert with over 25 years of experience. She has held various leadership positions in private industry, government, and education. She is an advocate for creating win-win solutions and has worked to create successful, lasting change in corporations and organizations. Marjorie is an award-winning author of several books on leadership, mentoring and coaching, and effective communication skills. Her passion is to help others discover their potential and reach new heights in their professional life through her writings. Marjorie resides in Dallas, Texas where she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to different places around the world, and speaking at conferences about her areas of expertise.

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