Q: I was in an accident, I wasn’t injured but my insurer said my vehicle was “totaled”.  What does that mean?

A: “Totaled” means an insurer determines that a vehicle’s repair costs exceed its retail value.

Q: How does my insurance company calculate this?

A: Your insurer should document that it obtained its “totaled” estimate from averaged retail sales survey of comparable vehicles.  Most insurers cite to a regional survey that normally puts a lower value on the vehicle as a “fair market value” when compared to the NADA Used Car Guide.  This creates a source of conflict between the insurance carrier and claimant.

Q: If I accept the “totaled” value, who keeps the vehicle?

A: Your insurer will probably keep it and transfer it to a recycler for “salvage” value.

Q: Can I keep my “totaled” vehicle and get it repaired? 

A:  Yes, it’s still your property.  However, the insurer will probably pay you only its “salvage” value.  So, in addition to paying repair costs, you may have to deal with other issues such as remaining vehicle payments, liens against the vehicle from the accident, and reinsuring a vehicle with only a “totaled” value.

If you have any questions concerning an accident you have been involved in, contact Cincinnati Automobile Accident Attorney, Scott Mullins.