There are basically two types of total loss categories:

Financial Total Loss

Total Loss ClaimsMost insurance companies will declare a car, light truck, or SUV to be a total loss when the preliminary cost of repairs reaches some pre-determined percentage of the vehicle's value. Generally, the percentage used is anywhere from 70% to 80%. A total loss is declared when it is determined that it is in the insurance company's best financial interest to declare the vehicle a total loss. This percentage is an insurance industry practice and in most cases is not related to a state law. There are only a few states that require a vehicle be declared a total loss when a certain threshold is met. Most states allow an insurer to repair a vehicle all the way up to 100% of the vehicles value. Another way insurance companies calculate if a vehicle should be totaled is to determine what they could sell the salvage for and then subtract that figure from the value of the vehicle. If the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds that figure then the vehicle is a total loss.

However, insurance companies tend to only look at the preliminary estimate and generally do not take into account the likelihood of hidden damage and other expenses. These items include the cost of a rental car and the diminished value of the vehicle after the repairs are completed. By adding the cost of repairs, rental expense and diminished value, most vehicles should be totaled when the repairs are at about 50% of the vehicle's value. We can provide preliminary documentation to help you to get your vehicle totaled. This process starts with our claim consultation. Select the claim consultation box below to begin.

Structural Total Loss

A structural total loss occurs when the structural damage to the vehicle is so severe that it is uncertain if a quality repair can be completed regardless of the cost of repairs or the percentage those repairs represent to the value of the vehicle. Structural total losses are very rare. With unibody construction it is possible for even a significantly damaged vehicle to be repaired. Most insurance companies and many body shops feel that almost any damage can be repaired. However even with unibody construction, even the most experienced body repair technician utilizing the latest in equipment does not have the ability to re-manufacture the vehicle. The are always signs of the repairs and potential issues that can arise down the road. The bottom line is; if the damage to your vehicle makes you think that the vehicle should be totaled, in most cases, you're probably right.


Total Loss Consultation

Our consultation service will allow us to confirm that your situation is appropriate for our preliminary documentation service. 

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Total Loss Services

We offer two services for vehicles that have already been declared a total loss, including Market Search and Total Loss Appraisal

Total Loss Appraisal