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How to Negotiate Totaled Car Value? Is It Totaled?     

How to Negotiate Totaled Car Value? Is It Totaled?     

You probably got into a major car accident, and your insurance company refused to perform any repair is because repair costs are very high, and it's not worth it. Well, is your vehicle totaled? If yes, is there a way to negotiate the price? 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

This article serves as a detailed guide to help you answer how to negotiate totaled car value. We will explain the exact meaning of a totaled vehicle to make sure that your vehicle is totaled in the first place. Once you confirm that, we provide some recommendations based on our expert opinion on negotiating totaled car value.  

Why would your insurance company consider your car as totaled? 


When you hear the term a totaled vehicle, the first thing that could come to your mind is a completely damaged car due to a car accident.

However, that's not how insurance companies make the decision. Insurance companies think of money as the 1st and highest priority. They evaluate the situation by comparing the amount of money needed for repair versus your vehicle's value.

Once this money needed for a pair exceeds 75% or more of your vehicle's value, they will most likely not repair the vehicle and might consider it as totaled.

For instance, assume that your vehicle is worth only $700.00, and it got some damages in an accident that requires about $1000 on the repair. It doesn't make sense for any insurance company to pay for these repairs, and instead, they will write off and consider your vehicle as totaled. 

How writing off your car helps insurance companies?

Interest companies think about money as the highest priority by writing off your vehicle, not using a trick or something. It simply at this decision that makes sense. It doesn't make sense to spend high repairs on a not worth vehicle. Here are more specific reasons why would insurance company write off your car: 

  • Saving money 


The first and most important reason behind your insurer riding off your vehicle is money. If your car requires $5000 to repair and only worth $3500, your company will declare it as a total loss better than spending this money on the repair.

By declaring this vehicle as a total loss, they save about $1500!

Keep in mind that insurance companies are smart, and they will still make some money out of your vehicle even if it's totaled. They can sell it to junkyards or scrap yards as well. 

  • Saving time 


When your insurance company declared that your vehicle is a total loss in most scenarios, they don't want to wait for lengthy repairs. Neither you nor the insurance company would want to wait months before your vehicle gets repaired and running.

Therefore, by writing in this vehicle off and considering it as totaled, you can get a faster payment without needing to wait for a long time. 

How do insurance companies determine the final payout for your totaled vehicle? 


It is important to understand how insurance companies, with your final payoff for your totaled vehicle, are very important in negotiating its value.

There are certain factors considered in the evaluation process, including

  • Your vehicle's model


Your insurance company will not pay the same for every single model, even if they are all totaled. Depending on your vehicle's demand in your area, you might be able to get a higher price for some models than the others.

Therefore, familiarize yourself with the most popular and highest demanded vehicles in your area so you can have a point to negotiate with your insurance company

  • Your vehicle's age


The insurance company will also consider your vehicle's age, and the older your car, the more it can lose its value. Vehicles depreciate over time, and they might lose about 46% of their value in the first five years.

Thus, before deciding whether the offer was fair or not, it's very important to be realistic with yourself and understand your vehicle's current value considering its age. 

  • Your vehicle's mileage 

As a driver, you understand that your vehicle's mileage is a major factor in evaluating its overall price, even if it's in great condition.

Imagine if the vehicle is totaled, how could its mileage affect its value? Thus, if your vehicle has a lot of mileage, don't be surprised to receive a lower offer than relatively newer vehicles. 

  • Your vehicle's condition 


While your vehicle might get involved in a major accident and caused significant problems, your insurance company will also consider your vehicle's condition before the accident. They will take into consideration every single problem they are aware of, even if they're negligible.

Thus, the more you know about your car, the more you can expect how much cash you could get out of your Totaled vehicle. 

  • The way you got involved in the accident 


While this can't be decided and detected easily, your insurance company will consider whether it was your fault for the accident or not. 

For instance, if you were parking at another vehicle, just got into your car, and caused this meter accident, there is a high chance that you could get a full replacement for your vehicle's value.

On the other hand, if it was your fault, you will be paid less depending on how severe the car accident. 

  • Your insurance policy 


What if your accident was major or not and whether your vehicle is totaled or not, the type of insurance policy you have determines how much cash and money you can make out of your car?

Therefore, to get some idea about how much you could get paid for your totaled vehicle, review your company's policy and check and do your calculations to determine how much you will be paid because it differs significantly from driver to driver. 

How long should I wait before I get paid for my totaled vehicle? 


Well, getting a clear and exact number can be hard here because the timeline it takes to get your totaled vehicle payment differs from one insurance company to another.


There will be some waiting time until you get the agreement settled, ranging from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Keep in mind that this timeline might be much longer, up to a couple of months, if some people were injured in the car accident.

As automotive experts, we recommend that you take your time before accepting the deal. Insurance companies might provide you with an early deal that could not be as high as waiting for a long time until things are completed. 

Your vehicle is totaled! What are the next steps? 


If you confirmed with the insurance company that your vehicle is declared as totaled, there are several steps you need to be careful about and take care of them, including:

  • Review your vehicles insurance policy

At this point, you need to sit with the insurance agent and review the policy. It's very important to ask as many questions as you need at this point. Check with the agents how to file the claim properly and get things resolved as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Familiarize yourself with what are all the consequences and how they are going to evaluate the payout that you will be receiving.

It won't hurt to check with them about their timeline and expect to get paid for your vehicle.

There will be a certain protocol that you have to follow, check with the agent, and ask him what paperwork is needed and how to get started immediately.

  • Gather information about your pre-accident vehicle value 


As we mentioned earlier, your insurance company will consider your pre-accident vehicle value in the evaluation process to decide how much they will pay you.

Therefore, it's important to do your homework and due diligence by evaluating your free accident vehicle value. There are tons of resources available online to help you with a rough estimate and value range for your vehicle, depending on its type and condition. 

  • Understand your rights as a totaled vehicle owner 


Any interested company must follow the state's regulations. Thus, spend some time reviewing your rights as a total vehicle owner by visiting your States Department of insurance website or location.

Your state's website will have detailed information related to insurance companies' responsibilities and drivers' rights.

Never allow your insurance company to take advantage of you and understand your rights to have a point. 



When it comes to negotiating the price of a totaled vehicle, you need to confirm whether your vehicle is considered totaled or not in the first place.

Once you confirmed that you have a totaled vehicle, you need to understand what goes into the evaluation process of your final payout.

This article provided you with all the details and considerations that insurance companies account for when coming up with your total vehicle's value.

It also provided you with important tips to follow if you ended up with a totaled vehicle anytime.