Totaled Vehicle: What Does This Mean?

Coping with the aftermath of a collision is difficult no matter what level of damage a vehicle has sustained. This stress can increase significantly when a vehicle is declared a total loss by an insurance company. Although this is a fairly common situation, it’s important to know what it means for a vehicle to be totaled. It’s also vital to know what follow up steps to take should you find yourself in this type of situation. So, what does ‘totaled’ even mean? Read on to find out.

Totaled—What Does It Mean?

In general, a vehicle is considered to be totaled after an insurance assessment. If the adjuster finds the cost of repair to be higher than the actual cash value of the vehicle, it’s totaled. Basically, if the repairs cost more than it would be to buy another one, it’s a total loss. In the year 2000, roughly 9 percent of all vehicles involved in a collision were totaled. This number has almost doubled over the last 17 years.

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Mesa Collision Repair

There are times that the vehicle’s ACV is higher than the amount we could fix your vehicle for and your insurance will still choose to call it a loss. For example, if your vehicle is worth 5k and the repairs will cost 4k, the insurance company may choose to total it anyway.

Vehicles with structural damage such as a bent frame are often totaled even though they seem fine. Those that have been stolen and then recovered are often considered a loss as well. Ones that have survived a natural disaster might also be considered a total loss even if it seems the cars could be easily repaired.

What Happens to My Vehicle Once Its Totaled

In the state of Arizona, there are a couple of things that can happen to a totaled vehicle according to the DMV. The most common is that the insurance company takes ownership of the salvage vehicle as part of the total settlement. The owner may receive a new car (if their vehicle was practically brand new). But more commonly, the insurance company will send a payout. You receive your check and the whole ordeal is over. Or is it?

Sometimes, an owner may take a partial settlement and choose to keep their totaled car or truck. Then, the owner can rebuild it and keep it. Or they might choose to sell the vehicle without rebuilding it. Just remember that the new buyer must be informed that the vehicle has been declared totaled. Keeping a totaled vehicle is common with vehicles that hold sentimental value. Also, in cases where the owner feels he or she can repair fairly easily regardless of what the insurance company says. But there are risks to this choice.

Rebuilt vehicles are still required to meet safety standards. All reconstructed cars or trucks MUST pass an inspection before the Arizona DOT will issue a rebuilt title or register it. This makes it so important to choose a qualified auto body shop. One that will make sure repairs will be able to pass the test.  Although we can’t make the insurance adjuster’s decision on totaling the car or not, we can make the repairs for you if that is what you choose.

If you are involved in a collision and choose to repair your vehicle, give Orlando Auto Body the opportunity to make the process as smooth as possible by calling 480-418-4737 for an estimate.