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When Is A Car Totaled?

Most car crashes involve damage to the body of the vehicle. Depending on the severity of the crash, the level of damage may vary. When is a car totaled? What does it mean when a car is totaled?

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Car Damage Estimate

In many cases, a car crash will cause minor damage. However, in more severe crashes your vehicle may end up “totaled.” What factors determine when a car is totaled? First, your vehicle will need a damage estimate.

Cost Of Repairs

Anyone that’s taken their car to a mechanic knows vehicle repairs aren’t cheap. This is especially true for paint and body repairs. Even a small amount of damage can lead to huge repair bills. In situations like this, it is not financially wise to get the car repaired because you will spend more money than what the vehicle is worth. But, this is the same reason why people have collision and/or comprehensive insurance coverage.

Determining When A Car Is Totaled

Different states have different methods in determining whether or not a car is totaled. Pennsylvania uses a “total loss formula” that takes certain factors into consideration to determine whether or not a car is totaled.

Total Loss Formula 

Pennsylvania is one of 22 states that use a formula to determine whether or not a car is a total loss. The total loss formula takes the price of repairs as well as the scrap value of the car into consideration. If the price of repairs and scrap value is greater than or equal to the value of the vehicle in question, it is to be considered totaled.

Repairs After A Crash

However, if the repairs are cheaper than the total value of the crashed vehicle, insurance will likely opt to repair it. It is important to remember this all depends on the insurance coverage available.

Insurance Can Total Your Car

Although the total loss formula may not consider your car totaled, your insurance company may. The insurance company will determine whether it wants to consider the car totaled or not, despite what the total loss formula says. 

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Cars More Likely To Be Totaled

Certain vehicles are more likely to be considered totaled after a crash. Since most cars depreciate in value over time, older cars are considered to be totaled very often after accidents. This is true even if the damage is not too severe.

Older Cars

Even if an older car is in great shape before an accident, the value is already low. Therefore, even minimal damage to an older vehicle may exceed the value of the vehicle. Generally, any time a vehicle has a low value before any damage occurs, it will be considered totaled quicker. This goes for pre-owned cars as well as smaller model cars.

Expensive Cars

Expensive cars are also expensive to repair. After a crash, it’s possible the repairs might be more expensive than the available coverage. In this situation, insurance may pay out the limits on the policy and leave you to figure out what to do.

Classic Cars

Classic cars usually require specialty repair parts and service. Classic car repairs can be pricey. Insurance could decide to total a classic car if the repairs exceed a certain amount.

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How Do I Know If My Car Was Totaled?

You will likely not be able to determine whether or not your car was totaled simply by looking at it. Following a crash, you should always consult your insurance company for the next steps.

Insurance Decides To Total Your Car

As stated before, your insurance company will have the final say on whether your vehicle is totaled or not. If your insurance company deems your car as totaled, there isn’t much you can do to fight the decision. 

If You Don’t Have Coverage

If you don’t have the right insurance coverage, you might be on the hook for all the repairs. Of course, if another driver is at fault you can file a claim against their insurance.

Contact A Lawyer If You Have Questions

Every scenario is going to differ, and it is important to get help from a professional. Talk to a lawyer for free advice in your situation. Many times, it doesn’t help you to pay a lawyer to help you with this kind of claim. But, a good lawyer can give you free advice to help you handle a vehicle damage claim on your own.

Haggerty & Silverman in Lancaster County

An experienced lawyer on your side can help you get the best results from insurance your insurance claim. At Haggerty & Silverman, we care about you and are here to protect your rights.

Free Car Accident Consultation

If you or a loved one have been in a car accident, talk to a trusted attorney at Haggerty & Silverman today. Contact us to schedule your free consultation. Call or text us at 717-397-3200.