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What Does It Mean When Your Car Has Been Totaled?


Did you just get into a car accident and you learned that your car has been totaled? If so, you may be wondering what this means.

At Cash for Cars 24 we know that it can be confusing dealing with insurance agencies after you’ve been in a car accident, that’s why in this article will break down the meaning of the word “totaled” so that you have an understanding of what happens after your car has received this designation by your insurance company.


Car totaled

So, Your Car Was “Totaled”, What Does That Really Mean?

To keep things simple, the word “totaled” or “total loss vehicle” essentially means that your car, or the vehicle that you were driving, should not be repaired because the cost to repair the vehicle would essentially be more than the actual value of the car.

Many states also classify cars as total losses following car accidents so that if the car should somehow be sold, the future owner of the vehicle knows that the car would not be safe to operate.

Car insurance agencies determine if a vehicle is a total loss by first calculating the value of the car, once they know this number they will then determine how much money will be required to fix the car. If the amount of money required to fix the car is more than what the car is worth then the vehicle will be classified as a “total loss”.

Some of the other reasons your car can be labeled a total loss following an automobile accident include if you were underinsured, or you only have liability only car insurance coverage.

When you’re underinsured your car insurance deductible will not cover the cost of the repairs to your vehicle; this is especially true if you have liability only insurance coverage because your policy may only cover repairs or damages to other cars that were involved in the accident while your car will not be covered and you may be faced with having to pay for repairs to your vehicle out of pocket


car totaled

About Totaled Vehicles

Except in extreme circumstances, a vehicle that has been written off will not be completely worthless. This is because such a vehicle will usually still contain salvageable used parts, or at a bare minimum will still have value as scrap metal. All that is required for a vehicle to be a write-off is that it would cost more to return to marketable condition than the market value it would then have. So, a vehicle of low value may even be written off when fully roadworthy, for example, due to damage to paintwork or upholstery.

A severely damaged automobile with repair costs greatly exceeding its value.

In many jurisdictions, a vehicle designated as a total loss is sold by insurance companies to the general public, auto dealers, auto brokers, or auto wreckers. The metrics insurance companies use to make the decision include the cost of the repairs needed plus the value of the remaining parts, added to the cost of reimbursing the driver for a rental while the car in question is repaired. [citation needed] If this figure exceeds the value of the car after it is repaired, the vehicle is deemed a total loss. In most jurisdictions, a decision by an insurer to write off a vehicle results in vehicle title branding, marking the car as “salvage” or (if repaired and respected under subsequent ownership) “rebuilt”. If the vehicle is not severely damaged, however, it can be restored to its original condition. After a government approved inspection, the vehicle can be put back on the road. The inspection process may not attempt to assess the quality of the repairs. This function will be relegated to a professional mechanic or inspector. However, if the vehicle is severely damaged as per standards set by state or provincial governments, the vehicle is dismantled by an auto wrecker and is sold as parts or scrapped.

Once a vehicle has been written off and repaired the vehicle may still lose value. Diminished value is the reduction in a vehicle’s market value occurring after a vehicle is wrecked and repaired, otherwise called accelerated depreciation. To collect diminished value after a car accident, insurance companies usually ask for a diminished value report.

In Canada, this is more commonly called accelerated depreciation; how a person goes about reclaiming those losses in either country is a different process. In some US states, insurance companies acknowledge the diminished value and provide this coverage direct to their consumers. In Canada, in order to recuperate the lost value after an accident, a person needs to retain legal counsel and order an acceleration depreciation report on their car for the court’s use.

Source – Wikipedia

State Laws Vary Regarding Total Loss Vehicles

Depending on your state, your vehicle may not be declared to be a total loss because, the definition of total loss varies from state-to-state so, before dwelling on the words “total loss” it’s important for you to first wait for word from your insurance adjuster because your car may not be declared to be a total loss like you think it may be.


What Happens When a Car Is Totaled?

After your car insurance company has determined that your car can be classified as a total loss, depending upon the amount of car insurance that you have, your car insurance company will pay you the fair market value for your vehicle.

Once you’ve been paid for your vehicle, your auto insurance company will then schedule a salvage yard to come and pick up your car and take it away for processing based on the regulations for your state.

This step is important because, it’s not ideal for a totaled car to return to market once it’s been repaired because, if a salvage title has been “washed”, an unsuspecting buyer may purchase the vehicle without any knowledge of the vehicles prior history.

“Washing” a car title is something that does occur in today’s Automotive Market because, there may be unscrupulous buyers out there who are able to fix up a totaled car with aftermarket parts and then sell it for a quick buck, especially if the car has been moved to another state because, the owner of the totaled car can apply for a new title in the new state, essentially “washing” the title of any history related to the car being totaled.

Sell Your Totaled Car to

So, your car was recently totaled and you are left with a shiny hunk of rubble which once was your favorite daily driver vehicle. The big question is what do you do next? Do you have your car shipped off to a junkyard or do you attempt to strip the viable parts off your car and sell them for cash yourself?

The answer is you should sell your car to Cash for Cars 24 because, we buy all makes and models of vehicles regardless of condition so even if your car was 100% totaled and it’s no longer recognizable as a car, we will still buy it because every vehicle is worth money regardless if it’s been totaled or not.

Why is your total car still worth money? The answer lies in its recycling value. Each car on the road today is made up of steel, aluminum and other precious metals or materials which can be sold and or recycled.

Don’t settle for the price that your car insurance company is offering you for your totaled vehicle without calling Cash for Cars 24. We will pay you the highest price possible for your car so you can walk away from your totaled car with some money in your pocket rather than no money.

When you combine the recycling value with the remaining viable parts that your car has to offer, this means that you still can get paid money for what your car is really worth. To learn more contact Cash for Cars 24 today by calling us at (888) 913-5816 or click here to connect with us online.