Is My Car A Total Loss?
Naturally, this is one of the first things our customers are concerned about after an accident, and most of the time it isn’t clear right away. The insurance company uses a formula to determine if your car is repairable. Essentially, they take the fair market value of your car and subtract the salvage value, which is what they could sell the car for in its wrecked condition at auction. The difference between those two numbers is the amount of money that they will spend to repair your car. If the amount of the repair exceeds that, then the insurance company will write you a check for the fair market value of the car and take it to auction.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find these values on your own, but oftentimes you can use a percentage of the vehicle’s fair market value as a rough guide. Generally speaking, insurance companies will total a car if the repair cost exceeds 65-70% of the vehicle’s fair market value. You can find an estimated fair market value of your car by going to nada.com or Kelly Blue Book’s website, kbb.com. You can take a look at the spread between trade-in and private party sale values, and usually averaging those numbers will at least give you a working idea.
The actual fair market value is determined by a CCC Total Loss Valuation report, which is a thorough report that the insurance company commissions. If it determines that your car is a total loss, you are entitled to a copy of the Total Loss Valuation report. You might be surprised; in many cases our customers receive a check for more than they thought their car was worth.