How Do I Know if My Car is Totaled?

We know that being in an accident can be stressful all on its own. With dealing with insurance companies, to seeking treatment for your injuries. One of the common questions we are asked is, “what should I do if my car is totaled?” If your car is totaled in an accident that can put additional pressure on you. and knowing whether or not your car has been totaled and what your next steps are, is incredibly important. Below, we help answer your questions and more.

How Do I Know if My Car is Totaled?

A car that is totaled means that it was determined a total loss after an accident. This means, that damage to the car exceeds the cost of the car. for example, if your car is worth $10,000 but needs $8,000 worth of work, it is labeled as a total loss. the general cut-off for determining whether or not a car is totaled is 70%-75% of the total value of the car. the car is considered totaled except for any parts that may be salvaged. and whatever the value of the scrap metal is.

Having a car that is a total loss is not always a bad thing in an accident. Sometimes it may be better that your car was totaled than have to pay for the repairs to the car.

The total loss of a car is recognized as a car that would cost more to repair than it is actually worth. Usually when your car is a total loss, the car insurance companies will refuse to pay for the repairs. This is because they will end up losing more money than if they pay you out for the total loss of the car. the insurance company will give you the money that will match the actual worth of the car. Their goal is to give you the money so you can buy a new car.


The purpose for determining that your car is a total loss is two-fold. in the long run, it works for you and for the insurance company. It benefits you because you are able to recover the money you would have lost otherwise . the insurance company saves money by paying you out, instead of paying for the repairs. for the example that was previously used, the insurance company saves $2,000 by determining that your car is totaled.

How the Insurance Company Determines Total Loss

Knowing the process that the insurance company goes through in order to determine whether or not your car is a total loss, will be helpful when determining your next steps.

  • Car Type: One of the first things an insurance adjuster will take note of is the kind of car you have. Most high-end cars are treated differently than the average car – this is because high-end cars are worth more. This is also because high-end and average cars depreciate in value differently. This will play a key part in determining the overall value of your car.
  • Age of the Car: The next thing that insurance adjusters will look at is the age of your car. the value of the car will depend upon the age. It is very easy to determine the value of the car and the damages. Depending on the type of car and how old the car is.
  • Condition of the Car: Insurance adjusters will take into account the condition the car was in when it was involved in the accident. They will consider things like if the condition of the car is below what the average car of the same age is, then the average sum you will recover will be lowered.

Reasons Your Car is a Total Loss

Dealing with car insurance after an accident can be stressful; especially if you are dealing with a car that has been totaled. Knowing what to expect when you speak to your insurance adjuster is a key to less stress. Below, are a few reasons as to why your insurance company would consider your car a total loss:

  1. Your car cannot be safely repaired.
    • if your car has too much damage and a mechanic cannot repair your car, it is a total loss.
  2. The laws in your state have decided that it is totaled due to the cost of the damage.
    • this is because it would cost more to fix than the car is worth.
  3. The car’s value is less than the repairs.
    • with age and general wear and tear, your car may be a total loss if the repairs exceed the value of the car.

How Insurance Companies Determine Losses

For an insurance company to determine whether or not your car is a total loss, they will have an adjuster investigate. They will then make an estimate based on the damages done to the car. an adjuster will find similar models for sale in the area you live. They will then take the total loss estimated, compare it with the cost of similar cars, cross check it with the Kelley Blue Book value and then will determine the Actual Cash Value of your car. You can always ask the adjuster for the details of the estimate. to be sure, if you feel that your car is worth more, you can try to find a better match.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney Today!

If you own your car and settle your claim, the insurance company should send payment within a couple of days. If you lease your car or owe the bank money, it may take longer to determine the amount you receive. for instance, if you are leasing, the amount you owe will go to the lender and you get the rest. If the insurance company gives you a temporary rental, ask the adjuster how long you will be able to keep the car.

Remember to always speak to an experience personal injury lawyer before speaking with an insurance adjuster. an lawyer with experience knows how to handle the insurance companies.

If you have been injured in an accident and need representation, please to not hesitate to contact our office. Consultations are free!