How Much Will Insurance Pay for My Totaled Car?


The feeling of helplessness from the unknown is never fun. You worry about things beyond your control, lose sleep and add to your gray hair. That’s precisely what happens when you total a car and an insurance company is involved.

Your car has quite likely met its demise. It may have been in an accident, taken an unexpected dip in a pool or floodwaters, or gotten a little extra toasty because of a wiring malfunction. You can tell at a glance that repairs aren’t going to be cheap, or they may not be possible at all.

Your adjuster is helpful to a degree but you don’t get any answers until they’ve decided what to do with your smashed-up car. And once they determine it’s a total loss vehicle, you’ll have to come to an agreement on its value. But just how much will that be?

What's My Car’s Value

When Is a Car Considered Totaled?

When Is a Car Considered Totaled?According to Geico, a leading insurance provider in the US, there are three factors in determining a total loss car:

  • when damage is so severe that the car can’t be repaired safely.

  • when the cost of the repairs is more than the vehicle is worth.

  • when vehicle damage is so severe that state regulations dictate that it must be considered a total loss car.

All insurance providers have specific criteria and formulas to determine when to consider a car totaled. It may vary a little from one company to the next but minimally.

As well, you MUST have insurance for total loss. If your insurance coverage has lapsed or you’ve chosen a policy that limits your claim amount, you may be stuck with a vehicle that won’t be repaired or declared a total loss.

If Airbags Deploy, Is My Car Totaled?

It doesn’t take a major accident for airbags to deploy, although it’s almost a guarantee that they will deploy in a major smashup. Just because your airbags have blown doesn’t automatically make your vehicle a total loss. It’s just one factor, but an expensive one that can jack up the claim total for any collision.

If your airbags deploy, it will definitely get a closer look from your adjuster. Between airbag system repairs, collision repairs, and other factors like rental car costs, it could mean your claim is marginal or a total loss. However, if you drive a newer vehicle or an expensive car, the repair cost is less likely to be near your car’s value.

How Much Insurance Pays for a Totaled Car

There’s no clear-cut formula you can use to determine your totaled car value. Because every vehicle’s condition is different, you won’t get a concrete number until you’ve hashed it out with your adjuster. And even then, it’s often up for discussion at least a little. You can, however, get insight into how that number is achieved.

  • Actual Cash Value is determined. That’s the resale price for your vehicle if it hadn’t been totaled. The insurance company will look at recent listings and sales for similar vehicles in your area.

  • Pre-accident condition is considered. Your car’s mileage, options and trim level, and any pre-accident damage is weighed into the equation.

  • Your deductible is… well, deducted. The insurance deductible you chose for your insurance policy is held back from the payout amount for your claim.

If your car is totaled how much does insurance pay? They pay the difference between your vehicle’s pre-accident appraised value and your deductible.

How Does GAP Insurance Work After a Car is Totaled?

So, your car is a total loss, but you had the foresight to buy GAP insurance. GAP insurance takes care of the disparity between what your car is worth and what you owe on it for your lease or finance agreement. Sadly, you won’t see any of this money, because its purpose is to pay back your lienholder so you aren’t left holding the bag. It’ll go directly to the lender you chose for your vehicle.

You only need GAP insurance if you owe more than your vehicle is worth. Once your loan amount is less than your car’s value, GAP insurance is of no help anymore.

If your car has been totaled, we can help you get the most from it. In many cases, you can settle your total loss claim, then buy back your totaled car at salvage value. CarBrain will make you a guaranteed offer for your total loss car. When you accept our offer, we’ll come pick up your vehicle and put cash in your hand on the spot.

Get Your Guaranteed Offer

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