Important Things to Know About Total Loss Vehicles
What does “total loss” mean?
When the cost of repairing a vehicle exceeds a certain percentage of its actual cash value, it is usually deemed a total loss. In addition to comparing the cost of repairs with a car’s value, we consider whether repairs to your vehicle can be completed safely.
How is my “actual cash value” calculated?
Determining your vehicle’s actual cash value requires two steps. First, we consider several factors such as year, make, model, options, mileage and condition. Then we compare your car to similar vehicles in the market and adjust its value up or down according to differences. We follow your state’s guidelines throughout the evaluation process, and use an independent
What is the next step?
Once we inspect your vehicle, a claim representative will contact you within 48 hours to discuss the vehicle evaluation and total loss process with you. If you don’t plan to keep the vehicle, this is when you must agree to move it to a storage free location; you’ll also need to find your title and all keys.
Your claim representative will provide any paperwork required by Farmers or the state to conclude the settlement. When your vehicle has been deemed a total loss, you should also contact your local agent to discuss continuing coverage.
What if I am still making payments on my vehicle?
It’s a good idea to advise your financial institution that your vehicle has been declared a total loss and that your insurance company will make contact to obtain information about the loan. Your financial institution has the right of first payment before any payment is made to you. Remember that you may owe more than your vehicle’s actual cash value. And please be sure to remain current on regularly scheduled payments until the loan’s balance is cleared.
Can I keep my car?
Depending on state-specific statutes, you may be able to keep your vehicle in a process known as “owner retained salvage.” If you choose this option, we adjust your vehicle’s actual cash value by its salvage price to determine a settlement amount. You may have to report your vehicle to your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as salvaged, and in some cases, certain body shops will not repair a vehicle that has been declared a total loss. Keep in mind that you may not be able to carry first-party collision coverage on the vehicle; it is a good idea to consult with your Farmers agent about these auto coverage issues.
If you have any other questions, contact your Claim Representative.