Your Vehicle is Totaled

A typical assessment these days is to declare a car totaled if the cost of repair equals approximately 75 percent of its pre-accident fair market value (FMV). In that case, the car would be written off as a total loss and a check would be issued for the supposed fair market value before the accident. Your choices of a remedy may include any of the following:

  • Take a cash payout, if you do not owe more than the FMV of your vehicle.
  • Arrange to buy back your vehicle from the insurance company after it is totaled, a process that includes re-registering the vehicle to show in its record that it had once been declared a total loss. Learn more at Buying Your Vehicle Back. Go to BUYING YOUR VEHICLE BACK
  • Arrange for repairs using non-OEM, used or less expensive parts.

In the latter case, your vehicle will be repaired with your authorization to use non-OEM or used parts, or whatever less expensive repairs will reduce the repair bill below the FMV. Some people would prefer to have their car returned to them, even if they have to pay a little in addition to the check from the insurance company. These days the amount they would get for their used car might not bring safe and reliable transportation unless they were willing to pay something additional, and they may not want to be strapped with monthly payments.