Four Questions About A Total Loss Vehicle Appraisal

Was your car involved in an accident that involved significant damage, and you're told that you need to have a total loss appraisal performed? If so, you likely have a few questions about what this means. 

Who Performs A Total Loss Appraisal?

It is common for a total loss appraisal to be performed by either an independent contractor or somebody from your auto insurance company. They will be looking at the extent of the damage to your vehicle and determining if the costs to repair the vehicle exceed the vehicle's worth. If the cost to repair a vehicle exceeds its value, then the vehicle is considered a total loss.

How Is A Total Loss Appraisal Performed?

Several metrics are used to perform a total loss appraisal. It starts by determining the car's current value by looking at market data. They will use the year, make, and model of the vehicle and combine that with the total mileage and condition at the time of the accident. A value is then set for the vehicle's worth. 

An estimate is then performed to determine the total cost of repairs. This includes the labor of having a professional perform the repair, the parts that are needed to return the car to its original state, and other expenses associated with the repair. 

For example, there may be disposal fees for old parts that need to be salvaged that should be included in the estimate. However, if you have rental car coverage, the cost of that rental car during the duration of the repair will not be factored into the total repair costs. This is because that is a separate expense that you are paying for and unrelated to the repair. 

What Happens If A Vehicle Is Determined A Total Loss?

If your car is determined to be a total loss, then you will be given a settlement that is based on the car's value before the accident. You can then use this money toward purchasing a new vehicle that has a similar value to your old vehicle or exceeds its value. It is totally up to you to decide what you want to do.

What Happens If You Lease The Vehicle or Have A Loan? 

If you're currently leasing a vehicle that is deemed a total loss, then you would need to settle with the leasing company about how much you will pay them for the vehicle. There may also be options to transfer the remaining duration of the lease to a new vehicle at the same time.

If you have an existing loan on a vehicle you were set to own, then that settlement money would go toward paying off the loan. You would need to negotiate with your lender about what would happen with any remaining balance on the loan.

Contact a total loss appraiser for more information.