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When Is A Vehicle Totaled | Madison Car Accident Attorneys

What Determines When A Vehicle Is Totaled?

After the shock of a car accident wears off and injuries are taken care of, most vehicle owners start to wonder how much damage their car sustained. Foremost in their mind is usually whether or not the vehicle is totaled. When a vehicle is totaled, it is considered to be a “total loss” by the vehicle insurer. Sometimes, drivers know immediately that the vehicle has been totaled – the damage is that severe. But in other cases, a driver may be surprised to learn that their car has been declared a total loss by their insurance company. Let’s take a look at how this can happen.

How A Vehicle Is Declared A Total Loss

In general, insurance companies compare the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of a vehicle with the cost of repairs to determine if a vehicle is a total loss or not. If the cost of repairs exceeds the ACV of the vehicle, a total loss is likely. However, this simple comparison isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. Different insurers use different criteria and sources to determine ACVs and each state has its own set of regulations as well. In Wisconsin, the Total Loss Threshold is 30% and 7 years. If the vehicle is less than 7 years old and the cost to repair it would be more than 30% of its fair market value, the vehicle will likely be declared totaled. As you can guess, estimating vehicle damages can be a very subjective process, which is where insurer discrepancies arise. Sometimes, whether or not a vehicle is totaled after a car accident comes down to the individual vehicle appraiser.

What To Expect When Your Vehicle Is Totaled

If the insurance company declares the vehicle a total loss, you will receive a payment from them equal to the amount of the Actual Cash Value of the vehicle. The ACV is what your car was worth before the car accident, not afterward. You’ll have to pay your deductible, but after that has been subtracted the rest of the funds are yours. Some insurers will replace cars that are less than three months old with a new vehicle, but that varies from insurer to insurer. For a better understanding of your specific insurer’s policies, you can contact their customer service department. They are required by law to provide you with such information if you request it.

If you have been involved in a car accident and are having trouble with your insurance company, contact the car accident attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices for help. Call 608-256-8356 or email Info@EisenbergLaw.org to arrange a free consultation.


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The Information Contained In This Site Is Not Intended To Provide Legal Advice. Please Consult An Attorney To Discuss The Facts Of Your Individual Situation. Eisenberg Law Office, S.C. 308 E. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703 USA (608) 256-8356