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What Will Insurance Pay For A Totaled Car?

What Will Insurance Pay For A Totaled Car?

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Insurance coverage and claim processes can vary depending on the specific insurance policy and company.

When a car is deemed “totaled” or a total loss, it means that the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds its actual cash value (ACV) or a predetermined percentage of the ACV set by the insurance company. In Ohio, this threshold is typically set at 75% of the ACV.

Actual Cash Value (ACV) Settlement

The calculation of a totaled car value is typically based on the vehicle’s Actual Cash Value (ACV) at the time of the accident. The ACV represents the fair market value of the car just before the accident occurred. Insurance companies use various factors to determine the ACV:

  • Pre-Accident Condition: The insurance adjuster will consider the condition of the vehicle before the accident, including factors like mileage, maintenance history, any previous damage or repairs, and overall wear and tear.
  • Age and Mileage: The age of the car and the number of miles it has been driven are important factors in determining its value. Generally, older vehicles with higher mileage have a lower ACV.
  • Comparable Vehicle Prices: Insurance companies may analyze the prices of similar vehicles in your local market to determine the ACV. They often use tools like vehicle valuation databases, market research, or professional appraisals to assess the value accurately.
  • Depreciation: Cars depreciate over time, so the insurance company will factor in the depreciation rate to determine the ACV. Typically, the older the car, the higher the depreciation.
  • Optional Equipment and Upgrades: The insurance adjuster will consider any optional features, upgrades, or modifications that may have increased the value of the vehicle. However, the insurance company might not fully compensate you for these extras unless you have specific additional coverage.
  • Local Market Factors: Regional variations in car prices, demand, and availability can influence the ACV. The insurance company will consider these local market factors when assessing the value.


You will need to pay your deductible before the insurance company provides any reimbursement. For example, if your deductible is $500 and the ACV settlement is $10,000, you would receive $9,500 after deducting the $500 deductible.

Salvage Value

In many cases, the insurance company will deduct the salvage value of the totaled vehicle from the ACV settlement. Salvage value refers to the value of the damaged vehicle’s parts or its potential for repair and resale. The insurance company may offer you the option to buy back the salvage vehicle if you wish to keep it.

Optional Coverages

If you have optional coverages like gap insurance, it may help cover the difference between the ACV settlement and any outstanding loan or lease balance you may have on the vehicle.

What Happens to a Totaled Car?

What happens to a totaled car can vary based on several factors, including local regulations and the specific circumstances of the situation.

Some possible scenarios for totaled cars include:

  • Salvage Title: In many cases, the insurance company takes ownership of the totaled car and issues a salvage title for it. A salvage title indicates that the vehicle has been significantly damaged or deemed a total loss. It allows the car to be sold as salvage to buyers who may wish to repair it or use it for parts.
  • Auction or Sale: Insurance companies often sell totaled cars at salvage auctions or to salvage yards. Buyers at these auctions may include individuals, auto repair shops, or scrapyards. The highest bidder or buyer typically takes possession of the vehicle.
  • Buyback Option: In some cases, the insurance company may provide the option for the policyholder to buy back the totaled car at its salvage value. If you choose this option, you can keep the vehicle, but the salvage title will remain, and the car may require significant repairs to be roadworthy again.
  • Parting Out: If the vehicle has valuable parts that are in good condition, it may be dismantled and sold piecemeal. Salvage yards or individual buyers might purchase these parts for use in other vehicles.
  • Scrap or Recycling: If the car is extensively damaged and not suitable for repairs or parting out, it may be sold to a scrapyard for recycling. The vehicle is typically crushed and used for materials such as metal.

It’s essential to review your specific insurance policy and contact your insurance provider for accurate information regarding your coverage, deductibles, and settlement process. They will be able to provide you with detailed information based on your policy terms.

If you have more questions, you can reach out to our Cleveland car accident lawyers today!

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