What Does It Mean When Your Car Is Totaled?

If you're someone who takes pride in caring for their personal possessions, then you also probably do everything you can to look after your car. After all, this is not only a significant investment but an essential item, providing you with transport on a day-to-day basis. It's important to remember, however, that no matter how much effort you put into maintaining your car, certain types of accidents and collisions can cause significant damage to your vehicle, perhaps even rendering it unusable. Should this unfortunate event ever happen to you, then it's important that you understand whether or not your car is in fact, totaled. Let's take a look at what it takes for a car to be considered totaled and the type of insurance coverage that you may be eligible for.

What does "totaled" mean?

Ultimately, a "totaled" car is one that has gone through such serious damage that the car is actually not worth fixing due to the enormous cost. Most experts on the matter would agree that a car can be considered totaled if the cost of the repairs on the vehicle exceeds the value of the vehicle itself. Still, this rule varies by state, with Alabama stating that a car is totaled when repairs cost at least 75% of its value. According to CarsDirect, insurance companies often agree with this assessment, stating that a car is totaled when repairs start to cost within the range of 70% to 75% of the car's value. The question remains — how do insurers determine a car's value for the purpose of this assessment?

Calculating a car's value

Firstly, the make and model of the car will be taken into account. Not only will insurers consider the retail value of the car, but also the rate at which it is expected to depreciate as higher-end and classic cars depreciate at a different rate than entry-level vehicles. At this stage, the age of the vehicle and its mileage will also be taken into account as this will help to determine the car's value depreciation. The condition of the car is also an important consideration, so make sure to take care of your ride as much as possible. Once the value of the vehicle is determined, the insurance company will also look at a factor called contributory negligence, meaning how much you are to blame for the accident. The more liability you have the lower the amount for which the insurance company will be willing to insure you. Now, it's important to discuss how to proceed if you are in an accident.

What to do if you're in an accident

If you find yourself in a collision, the first step would be to reach out to your insurance agent so that an insurance claim can be filed. From there, your insurer will go through the process of valuing your car and determining whether or not your car is indeed totaled. If safety features, such as airbags, were deployed during the crash, your insurer will take into account the cost of replacing such items. No matter what types of expenses are involved, the determination of whether or not the car has been totaled still comes down to the numerical amount of the damages. But what happens if the event that caused damage to your car was not a car accident at all, and you weren't even in your car?

What happens if the damage is caused while you're not in your car?

Sometimes, the damage that is caused to our vehicles can occur even when we're not driving. From falling trees to irresponsible drivers who bump our parked cars in the parking lot, sometimes the damage that happens to our cars is outside of our control. So long as you have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, you should be reimbursed for the damages in instances such as these.