What Makes a Car Totaled

when is a car a total lossThe most common response I see quoted online for the question, "what makes a car totaled", is when the cost to repair the damage equals 75% or more of the actual cash value of the car.

This is very misleading because this percentage is different in some states. While some insurance companies do use the 75% rule not all of them do. Some will use a higher percentage and others a lower percentage. In addition, in some states the percentage used to determine if a car is totaled is controlled by state regulation.

To further complicate the question, some auto insurance companies rely on the Total Loss Formula which is an Actual Cash Value appraisal completed by an auto appraiser.

Here is a list of the states and their corresponding Total Loss Threshold




How to get the highest car claim payout Learn more here.

Rules can change, so do not rely on the above information and call your insurance provider to confirm what they consider a total loss and how it is calculated.

The more you know about what makes a car totaled the better prepared you will be to handle and negotiate your auto insurance claim.
This video gives a couple good tips with the exception of KBB which is great for finding out the general vehicle value. However in my opinion, it is not the best source to determine the actual cash value for total loss vehicles. I find it typically reports vehicle values below retail or the replacement value of most vehicles.

Want to know more about how to get the highest claim payout? Click here.


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