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When Is a Car Considered Totaled? 

when is a car considered totaled? - An image of a woman taking a picture of a damaged car from a car accident.

If you’re involved in a major car accident, your vehicle will probably need significant repairs. In many instances, car insurance companies declare that vehicles are totaled. 

Determining when a car is totaled and what it means for drivers are a common source of confusion. Here’s an overview of when cars are considered totaled and what to do if you find yourself in this situation. 

To learn more or get an affordable car insurance quote, contact GoAuto Insurance

What Is a Totaled Car? 

After an accident, your car insurance company will consider your car totaled if: 

  • The cost to repair the vehicle exceeds the value of the car at the time of the crash; 
  • The insurance company determines the car would still be unsafe to drive even after repairs; or
  • State laws require that the insurance company declare the car totaled.

The most common reason for declaring a car totaled is that the repairs cost more than the car is worth. For example, if your car is worth $10,000 and it costs $15,000 to repair, your auto insurance company will consider it totaled. 

In addition, some states have laws governing when a car is considered totaled. If the damage to the car exceeds the state’s total loss threshold, the car is declared totaled. 

What Happens After Your Car Is Totaled? 

When car insurance companies declare a car totaled, they’ll reimburse you for the actual cash value of the car. This is the amount the car was worth at the time of the accident. 

The actual cash value of your car will include a decrease in value for depreciation. This means the actual cash value will be less than you paid for the vehicle, even if you haven’t had it for a long time. 

If your car is considered totaled, you should: 

  • Clean out all personal belongings, 
  • Locate the title to your car,
  • Check your rental car coverage and reserve a rental car, 
  • Begin searching for a replacement car. 

Once your claim has been processed, you’ll get a payment for the cash value of your vehicle. If your car is financed, the car insurance company will send that payment to your lender. 

If the amount you owe exceeds the car’s value, the difference will be made up by the at-fault party’s insurance company or your gap insurance. If neither applies, you’ll be responsible for paying the balance of the loan. 

What Type of Insurance Pays for a Totaled Car? 

The type of car insurance policy used when a car is totaled depends on the facts of each accident. Here’s an overview of some common circumstances and the policy used in each. 

  • In most states, if another driver was responsible for the accident, their property damage liability coverage will pay for the loss of your car. 
  • If your accident was caused by events out of our control, comprehensive coverage will cover your loss. For example, comprehensive coverage is used if your car is totaled due to weather, a tree limb, or theft. 
  • After a collision with a vehicle or a stationary object, your collision insurance will cover the loss. 
  • If you carry uninsured motorist coverage, this will reimburse you for a certain amount of your loss after an accident caused by an uninsured motorist. These policies usually will not cover the total loss of your car but will reimburse you up to your auto policy limit. 

Contact GoAuto Insurance to Learn More 

For more questions, contact GoAuto Insurance. We can discuss coverage options, explain how different policies will protect you, and set up personalized coverage for you. 

Our team works directly with customers to offer affordable car insurance. Plus, we’re always available to answer questions or explain auto insurance policies. We understand that drivers need to be protected and understand the coverage they have. 

Contact us today to learn more or to get a free car insurance quote

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