Whenever a car is damaged in an accident, the insurance company has to analyze the damage and the value of the car to determine whether it is worth repairing or it should be declared totaled. Here are three cases in which your car is likely to be declared totaled:
Your Car Cannot Be Repaired Safely
Just because your car can be repaired, doesn't mean that it will be safe after the repair. Some car damages cannot be repaired safely, and even buyers of used are wary of them. For example, a flood damaged car can be repaired so that it almost looks new, but the flashy looks may hide dangerous problems underneath. A hidden engine damage can easily put you, your passengers and other road users at risk. Auto insurance companies know this, which is why they will not repair a car that is considered too risky to repair; instead, such a car will be totaled and the owner offered compensation for replacement.
Repair Costs Nearly Equals, Equals or Exceeds Value of the Car
Your car may not be worth repairing if the cost of the repairs equals or exceeds the value of the car. If that is the case, then the insurance company will declare your cat totaled and then compensate you for its value. Here are some of the reasons a repair cost may be high enough to equal or exceed the car's value:
- The damage is extensive
- The car is old
- The car wasn't properly maintained
- An expensive replacement is required
- The repair is complex and requires specialized expertise
For example, it can cost as much as $4,000 to fix or replace a damaged transmission. That might not make sense for an old car that is worth roughly the same amount.
The Law Requires the Car to Be Totaled
The decision to declare a car totaled isn't entirely in the hands of auto insurance companies. State laws also determine whether a car must be totaled. These laws have been enacted to protect the public from dangerous cars on the road; cars with extensive damages are deemed to be too dangerous to operate even after repairs. State insurance laws determine the level of damage that propels a car into the totaled category; it can even be as low 50% in some cases.
If your car is totaled, the insurance company, like Dallmer Adjusters Inc , will claim it and issue you a check for the value of the car just before it was damaged in the crash. Expect to negotiate with the insurance adjuster to arrive at an agreeable (to both of you) value.