• By: Graham Sutliff
  • Published: September 2021
how to tell if your car is totaled

Cars are classified as totaled when they are considered a “total loss” after they are damaged by an unexpected event, such as a car accident. Specifically, insurance companies determine a car to be totaled when the cost to repair the vehicle plus its salvage value is less than the cash value of the car. To calculate this value, an insurance company will normally have an appraiser estimate the cost of repairs along with the car’s worth. If their repair estimate is more than the car’s cash value, it will typically be deemed totaled.

If you have been involved in an accident where your car may be totaled, it’s important to seek legal representation to ensure you receive a fair appraisal and resulting settlement. Working with an expert accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you are not manipulated by your insurance company. Here is some important information to know on what it means to have a totaled vehicle.

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How to Tell If Your Car is Totaled After a Texas Car Crash

A totaled car is any car that is considered to be a “total loss,” meaning it is typically better to receive cash for the car than have it fixed. By definition, a totaled car is recognized as a car that would cost more to repair than the value of the vehicle. For example, if your car is worth $8,000 and the cost of repairs is $10,000, your vehicle would be considered totaled. In these scenarios, insurance companies will not repair the car and instead provide you with money that reflects the vehicle’s worth.

This definition is designed to benefit both the insurance company and owner of the car. The car owner is able to recover the money they would otherwise lose and the insurance company saves money in the process. The process of determining whether your car is totaled usually takes a couple of days. If the insurance company decides your car is totaled, they will give you a check for the value of your car.

How the Insurance Company Determines Your Car’s Value

There are several factors your insurance company takes into account when determining the value of your car, which can cause their estimate for your car’s value to be different than yours. Some of the factors an insurance company will consider when determining a vehicle’s value include:

  • The age of the car. Cars depreciate over time, meaning depending on how long you’ve owned your car, it will have lost some amount of value.
  • The type of car. Different kinds of cars depreciate at different rates and certain kinds of cars will retain their value longer than others.
  • What condition the car is in. Your insurance company will also consider the condition your vehicle was in before it was in the accident. If your car was in worse condition compared to the average condition of a car of the same model and year, they will likely value it at a lower price.
  • Your negligence. If the insurance company finds you were partly to blame for the accident, they are likely to factor your contributory negligence into the value of your car.

These are just a couple of the common factors insurance companies take into account when determining the value of your vehicle. If you suspect your car may be totaled, it’s helpful to work with Houston car accident lawyers who can protect you from manipulative tactics used by many insurance companies.

Contact the Lawyers at Sutliff & Stout

Getting into a car accident is a stressful experience—especially if your car is totaled in the process. Working with a Houston car accident lawyer is the best way to minimize stress during the claims process. At Sutliff & Stout, we understand the stress of navigating the aftermath of a car accident and are dedicated to taking a personalized approach to every case. Our firm has been recognized as one of the top 3 personal injury law firms in Houston and our team has helped thousands of individuals with their car accident claims.

If you are looking to discuss your car accident case with a personal injury lawyer, the team at Sutliff & Stout is here to help. Call us today at (713) 405-1263 or contact us online to discuss your injury or car accident claim.

 

About the Author

Graham Sutliff is a founding partner at Sutliff & Stout, Injury & Accident Law Firm. Among other awards and certifications, he is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and has been recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Super Lawyer for the past decade. In 2019 alone, Graham recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients who were injured by others. To learn more about Graham, click here.

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