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What Does it Take to Total a Car?

Picture this:  You’ve been involved in a fender bender and now your insurance company is telling you that your car is totaled.  You’re dumbfounded how such minimal damage to the naked eye can lead to a total loss claim.  Nowadays, minor body damage can hide major mechanical and electronic issues, resulting in more repair costs, which in turn equals more totaled cars.

By definition, a “totaled car” is a vehicle which is considered to be a total loss after an accident. This typically means that it is damaged to the extent that it is not worth the money to repair it.

When a vehicle is in an accident, insurance companies calculate the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of your vehicle to help determine if it should be totaled or not.  On average, your vehicle depreciates 20% the first year and an additional 10% subsequent years (for the first five years).  Throw in vehicle damage caused by your accident and normal wear and tear and your car may be worth less than you actually think.

Insurance companies base their ACV on the following things:

  • Type of Vehicle – Your type and make of car can greatly enhance or lower the value of your total loss car. High-end and classic cars will be treated differently than average cars because they depreciate in value differently.
  • Age of Vehicle – The value of your car is easily determined by its age and mileage. Various agencies can provide an accurate estimate of the value of your vehicle based on its age and/or mileage.
  • Condition – If the condition of your vehicle after the accident is considered below an average vehicle the same age, the total loss sum may be lowered.
  • Contributory Negligence – If the insurance company suspects you may have been at fault of the accident, they are likely to reduce the total loss value.
  • Salvage Value – This encompasses the resale value of your car’s salvageable parts and metal.

If your vehicle’s cost of repair and salvage value exceeds the vehicle’s determined ACV, it is typically declared a total loss by insurance companies.  Say your vehicle (right before the wreck) is valued at $10,000 and needs over $7,000 worth of auto body repair shop work done.  To your insurer, financially, this is not worth it and will generally be labeled as a “total loss car” (totaled).  Usually, the cutoff is 70-75% the total value of your car.

Now vs. Then

Although damage caused by an accident may not look very significant from an appearance perspective, the damage may be internal.  New cars are filled with lots of bells and whistles and technology is expensive to repair.  Modern safety features, such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Supplemental Restraint Systems (SRS), have done wonders to keep drivers and passengers safer and more secure.  But with that added security comes a price hike compared to vehicles of years past – especially when it comes to auto body repair shop costs.  Cars are designed now to collapse around us, saving us rather than protecting the vehicle itself.  This plays a large role in why more cars are deemed “total losses” now compared to years ago.

Bumpers Etc. – Your Trusted Auto Body Repair Shop

Don’t fret when it comes to finding a trustworthy car body repair shop in Lancaster County.  Bumpers Etc. Auto Body & Collision is a unique, independently family-owned and operated auto body shop in Ephrata, PA.  If you’ve been in an accident and are in need of an auto body repair shop, Bumpers Etc. is the place to call!  Our goal is to serve you with a streamlined process that you can count on and assist you with your insurance claim, towing, or any rental car needs you may have.

Cars today are made smarter and are built to protect us.  With that being said, newer cars depreciate quickly and can be costly to repair.  If you’re in need of vehicle repairs due to an accident and are working with your insurance agency, trust Bumpers Etc. with your car needs.

We offer a Virtual Estimator to help you easily receive a free preliminary repair consultation and/or estimate for repairs and a variety of auto collision services.

Contact us today at (717) 738-0334 – we look forward to hearing from you soon!