How Do You Know When Your Car is a Total Loss?

How Do You Know When Your Car is a Total Loss?

Concerned about the value of your vehicle after it was involved in an accident? It is possible that the car is totaled if the cost of making the repairs is greater than the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV). (As a general rule, insurance companies may refuse to cover autobody repairs that cost more than fifty percent to eighty percent of your vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) if they apply a formula called a total loss formula.)

However, this raises yet another question: at what point is a vehicle regarded to be a total loss? Let’s take a look at some of the most typical symptoms your automobile is totaled after being involved in an accident. It’s estimated that about one quarter of all car accidents will result in a total loss.
Auto Service Center in the Heart of Kansas City

 Fluids Leaking

Any damage to a fluid system or tank may result in a salvage claim; however, the severity of the damage as well as the type of fluid that was impacted will determine the specifics of the claim. For example, a broken oil pan and pump system is significantly more serious than a cracked windshield wiper fluid reservoir.

The following are some of the more important fluids for vehicles:

Antifreeze Brake Coolant
Oil for the engine or the motor
Transmission with power steering System
Washer for the windscreen
It is essential to keep in mind that taking your vehicle to a nearby auto body shop is required in the event that it is leaking an excessive amount of fluid. There is a good chance that a number of different reservoirs and systems have been harmed, and in many cases, the damage is irreparable.

Significant damage to the vehicle’s front end

When you were rear-ended at a stop sign, the damage to your vehicle is less likely to be catastrophic; but, the driver who hit you from behind is in for a world of “salvage title” suffering.

A vehicle’s engine compartment and the areas immediately surrounding it are home to approximately 80 percent of the vehicle’s most important parts. When crumple zones (also known as crush zones) are activated, which happens when a frontal or head-on collision occurs at a moderate speed of just 30 miles per hour, this is typically when internal damage to engines, steering systems, gearboxes, and other components occurs.

Frame that is either bowed or severely damaged

Repairing extensive damage to the structure of your vehicle is going to set you back a lot of money. After a collision, if you observe any of the following symptoms of damage to your vehicle’s frame, it’s a fair bet that your insurance company will declare your vehicle a total loss:

In plain view twisted
Fractures on the various frame components
Broken suspension system
Sounds of moving metal on moving metal can be heard.
Extremely out of alignment tires
At first look, bent frames don’t necessarily appear to be an issue. Wheels that don’t track straight, tires that aren’t aligned properly, and replacement parts that don’t fit properly are all possible signs of a broken frame; however, these issues could also be caused by other, less significant issues. It’s possible that you won’t know the full amount of the damage until it’s been looked at in the shop.

The Vehicle Is Unable to Start

After being in an accident, the absence of a functional engine is often a very concerning symptom. This could signify anything from major damage to the engine to a belt that has become loose, but if there is any apparent structural or mechanical damage, it is most likely the former.

 There is something blocking your view.

Components of an automobile that have become twisted or damaged to the point where they obscure the view of the driver could be problematic. Damage that is more serious, and therefore more expensive to repair, is the cause of bowed fenders and grilles, hoods that won’t close, and any interior element that has found a new home on the exterior of the vehicle.

 The Airbags Have Been Deployed

An auto collision that triggers the deployment of an airbag can be too expensive for an insurance company to pay, although this is not always the case. This is due in part to the fact that the cost of the airbag replacement service as well as the airbags themselves can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. It is possible that replacing the airbags in an older vehicle will be financially impossible, particularly if there is any body damage that needs to be repaired; nevertheless, the policies of each auto insurance company will be different.

Is it a Fire or a Flood?

Your car is not considered totaled until it is determined so by your insurance company. On the other hand, if an accident caused your vehicle to catch fire, it is virtually certain that the insurance company will write it off as a total loss. It is safe to assume that the vehicle will have either flood damage or water damage if it was completely submerged in water.

 The Age of Your Vehicle

Age is the most important factor in everything. The current, undamaged asking price of your vehicle will serve as the basis for calculating its ACV. If your vehicle is seven to ten years old or more and has a significant number of miles on the odometer, then the majority of its value has already been lost due to depreciation. Any autobody repairs that are considered moderate or large will likely have costs that are too high for insurance to pay.

There are many reasons why purchasing a new or certified pre-owned vehicle is a smart investment, but this is one of the most important ones. It is less likely that your automobile will be a total loss in the event of an accident if you have collision insurance. Only 2% of new vehicles (those with a lifespan of four years or less) are considered total losses, in contrast to almost 13% of vehicles with a lifespan of eight years or more.

Based on the Percentage of Total Loss Threshold in Your State

How do insurance adjusters decide whether or not a vehicle is a total loss? To determine what constitutes a total loss for an automobile, the regulations of each state are different. These laws are used by insurers to determine when the cost of repairing a vehicle would be greater than the cost of purchasing a replacement vehicle.

The Total Loss Threshold in the state of Kansas is established at 75%, which indicates that the cost of collision repairs cannot exceed 75% of the vehicle’s current honest market value.

The Total Loss Threshold in the state of Missouri is set at 80%.

Insurers in some jurisdictions, like as Illinois, are allowed to compute amounts by following a total loss method to determine the salvage value of a car. After doing so, they compare this value to the cost of repairing the vehicle. If the cost of repairing the car’s body is more expensive than its salvage value, the vehicle will be considered a total loss.

Do you want to know what the minimum amount of damage to a vehicle that constitutes a total loss is in your state? Simply click here.

What to Do in the Event That Your Car Is Completely Destroyed

So, what happens if the insurance company decides that your car is a total loss? In order to get your claim handled and get back on the road, you will need to go through the essential stages in the proper order.

File your claim
Request an adjuster to take a look at the damage.
Call for a tow to the closest reliable car body shop and ask for an estimate from the staff there.
Get a rental vehicle
Gather all of your documentation, including the title to the vehicle, receipts for aftermarket accessories, and past bills for repairs, among other things.
You should be aware of the current fair market value or actual cash value of your automobile.
If necessary, get in touch with your lending institution (and don’t forget to purchase GAP insurance!).
You should negotiate claims if the assessed ACV or market value of your vehicle is too low. You should also collect your items from the salvaged vehicle.
Employ a lawyer in the event that laws were breached, and pay any further hospital expenditures that result.
Look into buying a brand-new or somewhat new car.
In addition, you have the option of keeping your vehicle, although this is not something that is typically encouraged. Unless the automobile in question is an extremely rare, high-end, or valuable model, the value of a vehicle that is titled as “salvage” is next to nothing. Talk to your insurance agent if you want additional information about the choices you have.

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