How do insurance companies decide if a car is a total loss? And is it worth keeping a totaled car?

Answered by Home Insurance, Car Insurance Expert Savannah on February 22, 2021

My 2011 Honda Accord Coupe suffered some serious damage when it hit a deer and I'm hoping it won't be totaled. How do insurance companies decide if a car is a total loss? And is it worth keeping a totaled car?

expert avatar

Savannah

Home Insurance, Car Insurance Expert

I’m sorry to hear about your situation. When you’re involved in an accident, an adjuster is assigned to your case. When the adjuster comes to look at the car, they typically already know the value of the vehicle based on a similar system that Kelley Blue Book uses. If the cost to repair the car is more than the value of the car, they will deem it to be a total loss.

When your car is deemed to be a total loss but you decide to get it fixed, you’ll typically get a salvage title on the car, which means its repair costs have exceeded the value of the vehicle. A salvage title can cause your auto insurance rates to go higher, and it can also make it harder to get insurance, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to keep a totaled car.


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