"You were very thorough in checking for damage and explained all the work that needed done." - Roger Denton
As a general rule, it is the cost of repairs that will determine whether your vehicle is a total loss, not whether it can be properly repaired. Exactly what formula is used to make this decision will depend on the insurance company responsible for payment.
Who decides if the vehicle is a total?
This decision is made by the insurance company, not the body shop. Our expertise is in writing estimates and performing repairs caused by the collision. We will furnish the insurance company with the most accurate and complete information possible before any repair work is started. They will then make the final decision as to whether it is financially practical to proceed with the repairs or not.
At what dollar amount is the vehicle considered a total?
Again, it is important to remember that all insurance companies use a slightly different formula, however, a rule of thumb is that if the final bill is expected to reach 75% to 80% of the vehicles value prior to the loss, the insurance company will decide against having it repaired. The expected cost of a rental car that is provided to you may also be a factor in the decision.
How is the vehicle value determined?
There are several computerized services available that track the amount vehicles sell for. These services compare your car or truck to others that have recently sold in this market area. Mileage, condition and options are all taken into consideration. Tax, title, and license costs are also part of the valuation formula.
What happens after the vehicle is totaled?
Essentially, the insurance company buys the vehicle from you at a fair market value minus any deductible that may apply. They will then sell it (most times to a recycling company) to recover part of the expenses they incurred in the claim settlement. This reduces the overall amount of the loss to the insurance company and their policy holders.
What if you want to keep the totaled vehicle?
Although this is your right, we very rarely recommend that this be done. Not only will your insurance settlement be reduced if you do this, the State of Arizona will permanently note this on the title to your vehicle which will severely affect the potential re-sale value later on. After repairs are completed, you will need to take the vehicle to a state inspection office before it can be licensed for use again.