How to Know if My Car is a Total Loss After an Accident

Published on Jun 12, 2019 at 3:43 pm in Car Accidents.

If you’ve been in a car accident and are working with your insurance company to get your vehicle repaired, you may come to find it has been totaled. Every state has its own threshold for total loss. If your crash happened in Mississippi, it’s important to understand the state’s policies and how it could affect your vehicle repairs or replacement. Typically, if your vehicle is a total loss your insurer won’t pay for repairs. Instead, they’ll need to determine how much your vehicle is worth. For this, there is a total loss formula. Prior to understanding how that formula works, however, you’ll want to recognize common signs that your vehicle may be totaled.

Signs Your Car May Be Totaled

Ultimately, your insurance adjuster will determine if your vehicle is a total loss. They will take into consideration the amount of damage, the age, and the value in relation to the cost of repair. Prior to getting the final word, you may be able to predict what they’ll say if you notice any the following:

  • You cannot drive the car because it won’t start, or parts of the vehicle are bent in a way that obstructs the driver’s view.
  • There are excessive fluids leaking from the car.
  • The Kelley Blue Book places a low value on your vehicle’s prior condition.
  • An auto body specialist estimates the repair costs are higher than the Kelley Blue Book value.

Depending on your circumstances, your insurance company could say something different from what you’re expecting in regard to your vehicle’s fate. If, however, they determine it is a total loss, it’s probably because it cannot be safely repaired, the repairs would cost more than the car’s worth, or the state laws require your insurer to label it as a total loss because of the amount of damage.

Determining the Value of Your Vehicle

Prior to determining how much money you should receive for your totaled vehicle, your insurance company will need to determine how much your car is worth. To do so, they will make note of your mileage, the car’s age, the condition of the body, interior, and tires, and any additional parts or equipment you’ve added that increase the total value.

Your adjuster may find similar models that are for sale near you and use that as your total loss estimate. This is referred to as the actual cash value (ACV) of your car. In addition to receiving the ACV, you are also eligible for the cost of the sales tax, title, and registration in Mississippi.

If you feel your vehicle is worth more than what your insurance company estimates, you can explain why or find a car for sale that is a better match to your vehicle than what your insurer found.

Insurance Companies and the Total Loss Formula

While some states assigned specific threshold values when it comes to determining if a car is a total loss, Mississippi is not one of those states. Instead, they use a total loss formula (TLF). This determines the cost of repairs in addition to the scrap value of the vehicle. If that number equals or exceeds the ACV, your car will be totaled. If, however, the number is lower, your insurer may choose to repair your vehicle. The formula varies by insurance company, which means one insurer might total a vehicle when a different company would repair it. It’s important to understand your insurance policy and what formula your adjust will use.

What to Expect After Your Total Loss Is Calculated

If it’s determined by your insurance company that your car is a total loss after an accident, you will need to remove the license plate and your personal items, give the keys to your claims adjuster, and inform your lender in the event your car was loaned or leased. After some time, you will receive the money that was calculated from the TLF. You can use this money to purchase a new vehicle.

If you’re having trouble negotiating with your insurance company and you’re concerned you’re being offered less than you deserve for your totaled vehicle, we can review your claim, determine how much your vehicle is worthy, and figure out what you should be rightfully offered. While we’re handling the negotiations, you can focus on your recovery and start thinking about what steps to take to get a new vehicle as soon as possible. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with us today.

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