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Totally Wrecked: How to Determine If Your Car is a Total Loss

If your car has been involved in an accident, there are procedures that you need to follow when submitting an insurance claim. One of the first things that the insurance company will need to know is if the vehicle has been totaled. If the amount necessary for repairs is higher than the car’s actual value, the insurance company will not cover it. If this is the case, you may want to simply sell and turn your junk car for cash.

How do you know if your car is considered totaled? While there’s no single formula for determining if a car is still repairable or not, insurance companies may declare a vehicle is totaled if:

It’s impossible to restore it to its original working condition

Apart from the obvious physical damage, there are other things to take into account before declaring a car as totaled. If you can’t drive the car to the repair shop because it won’t start or because the parts are severely damaged, chances are that it is totaled. Attempting to restore it to its previous condition would be impractical. If the damage is so severe that the car can’t be repaired safely, the insurer will consider it a total loss.

It has been burned severely or has been submerged in water for a long time

Cars that burst into flames completely after an accident are considered totaled. This is also the case for flood-damaged vehicles. Water can seriously mess up a car’s mechanical and electrical system. In fact, damage due to water is one common reason why people junk or sell their cars. Fortunately, there are companies that pay cash for junk cars as insurance companies won’t cover fire and water-damaged vehicles.

The market value does not match the cost of repair

In the end, it’s up to the insurance company to determine whether your car is totaled or not. It’s the job of the insurer to check if the repairs will cost more than the replacement value of the vehicle. This value is based on the age and condition of the car prior to the accident.

Getting a car declared a total loss is a nightmare for any car owner. If your car is totaled, you still have other options, though. Think about taking it to companies that buy junk cars. Considering the vehicle’s condition, at least you’ll still get something out of it.