Everything to Know About a Totaled Vehicle

Posted in Car accidents on July 20, 2022

If you get involved in a serious car accident, your vehicle may be totaled. This refers to a vehicle that is declared a total loss by a car insurance company, meaning it would cost more than the vehicle is worth to pay for the necessary repairs. If you were recently involved in a crash that totaled your car, here’s everything that you need to know about the insurance claims process ahead.

What Does a Totaled Vehicle Mean?

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The insurance definition of a totaled car in Nebraska is when the cost of repairs plus the salvage value is 75 percent or more of the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV). In other words, if the price to repair a wrecked or damaged vehicle after a car accident exceeds 75 percent of the actual current value of the car, it will be deemed a “total loss.” This total loss threshold varies from state to state.

What Is Actual Cash Value?

To determine if a vehicle has been totaled, a car insurance company will typically work with a third-party vendor that analyzes vehicle data to determine its actual cash value. It will send the insurance claims adjuster in charge of the case out to inspect the vehicle damage in person and collect an estimate of the repair costs from a mechanic, as well. If the car is declared a total loss based on Nebraska’s 75-percent threshold, the insurance carrier will be responsible for reimbursing the claimant for the actual cash value of the vehicle.

Actual cash value is the value at which the damaged or destroyed vehicle could be sold today, in its current condition. It equals what the owner could reasonably expect to get for it if it were for sale right now. It is generally calculated by taking the cost to replace the car, then subtracting the depreciation caused by crash damage. A car insurance company will use the ACV to determine if a vehicle is worth repairing.

What Happens After Your Vehicle Is Totaled

When a vehicle gets totaled in a car accident in Nebraska, state law leaves what to do with the vehicle up to the owner. According to Nebraska Revised Statute 60-173, the owner can elect to keep the salvage vehicle, if desired. The owner can sell it for parts to a salvage yard, pay to repair the vehicle and continue to use it once it’s roadworthy, donate the car to charity, or apply for a salvage branded certificate of title to retire the car. The owner can also surrender the title to the car insurance company.

Who Pays to Replace a Totaled Car?

Nebraska is an at-fault or “tort-based” car insurance state. This means that the party that caused the crash is responsible for paying for the car accident. Based on this law, who pays for your totaled vehicle depends on who caused the crash. If the other driver is to blame, his or her car insurance will cover the costs of replacing your totaled vehicle. Otherwise, you may need to rely on your own insurance for coverage. Several types of insurance can potentially be used to pay for a totaled car, including:

  • Collision insurance
  • Comprehensive insurance
  • Property damage liability insurance
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance
  • GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance

When an insurance company totals a car and offers a total loss settlement, it will pay the actual cash value of the vehicle as it was before the car accident. This will be less than you originally paid for the car, as the insurance company will factor in depreciation, wear and tear, mileage, and any previous accidents. You can then use this money to purchase a new vehicle that is similar to the totaled car. You may be able to dispute the value of your total loss settlement with help from an attorney if you believe it is unfair.

For more information about an insurance claim involving a totaled vehicle, contact a car accident lawyer in Omaha for assistance.