What’s a Totaled Car or Total Loss Vehicle?

Car in a total loss accident

After getting into a car accident, things can get confusing. There are quite a few steps you need to take, and there’s a lot of info you’ll need to process. That includes having to learn some insurance lingo you might not be familiar with. If your car has suffered some extreme damage in an accident, you might be hearing the phrase, “total loss vehicle”.

But what does that even mean?

You might be more familiar with saying a car in a bad accident was “totaled”. This is just the layman’s term for the exact same thing.


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Most insurance companies will label a car as a “total loss” when the cost to repair the vehicle would be more than its actual cash value. They also might be required by specific state laws to classify it as a total loss if the car wouldn’t be safe to operate even if it was fixed.

The main thing that insurance companies take into consideration when declaring a vehicle a “total loss” is the value of the car.

To the untrained eye, some cars may look like they could easily be repaired and road ready after an accident. But, if it would cost more to fix the damage than the car is worth, your claims adjuster will most likely declare your vehicle a “total loss”.

Other reasons your car might get labeled a “total loss” after an accident are being underinsured or only having liability insurance coverage. Being underinsured means that your deductible wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of the repairs. If you only have liability insurance coverage, your policy only covers damage that you do to other people or property. Your own car isn’t covered under this type of policy, so any repairs needed to your car would come completely out of pocket.

With “total loss” vehicles, you’ll also need to know what your state’s laws are.

Each state typically outlines what percentage of a car’s value can be considered if it should be repaired versus a “total loss”. Luckily for you, your insurance adjuster will be well trained in this and will walk you through the next steps to take.

If you’ve recently been in an accident and have retained your “total loss” vehicle,give us a call at 1-800-227-2893! CashForCars.com buys vehicles in all conditions, and you can rest assured that we’ll give you a competitive price for your vehicle.

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