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When Is A Car Totaled?

2 Heavily damaged SUVs involved in a side impact collision

While the first priority of car accident victims should be their health and any physical injuries that they may have sustained, the toll that collisions can take on the vehicles themselves should not be overlooked. Often, the cost of repairing or replacing a vehicle that was damaged in an accident can be recouped from the driver’s PIP insurance provider, unless the damage exceeds the limits of the policy. In these cases, a driver may need to seek elsewhere for compensation, including with the driver who actually caused the accident. In either case, a car’s damage could be so severe that the insurer pronounces it totaled, meaning that the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle is more than the vehicle is actually worth. If your own vehicle was totaled in a crash and you have questions about how that will affect your recovery, please reach out to our experienced Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorneys today.

When is a Vehicle Deemed a Total Loss?

When an insurance company decides that it is economically unfeasible to pay to have a car replaced after a crash, it will deem that vehicle a total loss. In Florida, insurers can make this determination when the cost of repairs is greater than 80 percent of a vehicle’s actual cash value based on its fair market value. When assessing the latter, insurers typically look to a few specific factors, including:

  • The vehicle’s age;
  • The vehicle’s make and model;
  • The vehicle’s mileage at the time of the accident;
  • The cosmetic condition of the vehicle prior to the crash;
  • Whether the vehicle was involved in a prior accident or sustained damage; and
  • How the vehicle has been maintained.

Once these factors have been applied, an insurer will come up with a vehicle’s value. If the cost of repairing the damage to that car exceeds 80 percent of that number, then an insurer can deem it a total loss. If, for instance, the fair market value of a vehicle is determined to be $10,000, but the cost of repairing the damage would be $8,500, then the insurer could declare the vehicle a total loss.

What to do Next

Those whose vehicles have been totaled in an accident have a few different options, one of which is to reach a settlement with the insurer for an amount equal to the vehicle’s cash value. By accepting this kind of offer, the vehicle’s owner will receive a check in exchange for the salvage title to the car. This amount, however, will not be what the owner paid for the car, but for what the car was worth right before the accident. Alternatively, an owner could negotiate with the insurer and agree to accept a check for less than the actual cash value in exchange for retaining possession of the car. It’s important to note, however, that driving a totaled car can increase insurance rates and limit the conditions under which it can later be sold.

Call or Contact Us Online Today

At Boone & Davis we help our clients maximize what they receive from their insurers after a car accident. Please call us at 954-566-9919 for a free evaluation of your own case.



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