What is a total loss?

A vehicle may be considered a total loss after experiencing serious damage. When the cost of repairing the car is higher than the actual cash value of the vehicle, it is decided a total loss. Actual cash value refers to the value of the vehicle with its age and natural wear and tear in mind. 

When is a total loss car covered?

You make an insurance claims for a total loss vehicle if:

Is it a total loss or not?

Once you file the claim, an adjuster will inspect your vehicle, determining the damages and the estimated repair cost. At this point, your car may be declared a total loss. Each state has its own laws for when a vehicle can be considered a total loss. It's often when repairs exceed 75% of the vehicle's value. 

What if your car is declared a total loss?

After your car is declared a total loss, your insurance company will take your car and alert the DMV that your car has been totaled. If you’d like, you may ask your insurance company if you can keep the vehicle if it’s a vintage vehicle worth collecting or if you’d like to sell the parts, but you’ll receive less payment. According to Geico, not all states allow the automobile owner to keep the totaled vehicle, so it’s best to look into the steps you would need to take to see if it’s worth jumping through any hoops.

What if you don’t believe it is a total loss?

If you disagree with the insurance adjuster’s decision on your vehicle, you have the right to negotiate the car’s worth. To do this, you will need to submit documentation supporting the notion that your car is worth more than the adjuster is suggesting. In particular, modifications you have made to your vehicle are the main cause of a negotiation with an adjuster.