Total Loss Car Appraisals: Balancing Science and Sensibility

Total Loss Car Appraisals: Balancing Science and Sensibility

Mar 28, 2024

The aftermath of a wreck is a trying time, and dealing with your insurance company can make it even harder. 

If you have been in an accident in which the insurance company declared your car a total loss, even though it could be repaired, it can hurt; cars can have sentimental value as well as monetary. Maybe it was a precious anniversary gift, a classic that belonged to your dad, or the first car you ever bought brand new. If it can be repaired, you might be thinking, that’s what I want to do!

You may want your vehicle repaired, but the hard truth is the only thing insurers look at is their bottom line. If the estimated cost of repairs is more than the car’s value, they’re going to declare it a total loss. It doesn’t matter if the car is completely reparable. They’ll give you a check and send it to the junkyard.

Don’t Take Total Loss Sitting Down!

Just because a vehicle has been totaled by the insurance company doesn’t mean you don’t have any choice in the matter, however.

In most states, you have the right to keep possession of a vehicle that’s been deemed a total loss by your insurance company, you just won’t get as much in the settlement. The insurance company will subtract your deductible, of course, plus the car’s salvage value–the figure the insurance company could have gotten by selling it to a salvage yard.

There’s also the possibility of proving that your car was worth more before the accident than the insurance company says. Regardless of whether or not you accept that your car is a total loss, you want to get the most out of the settlement that you can. This is where an auto appraiser can come in handy.

Enlist the Help of a Licensed Auto Appraiser

Here’s how a licensed appraiser can possibly help change a total loss declaration: if you think your car was worth more pre-accident than the insurance company says, an appraisal report can help you prove it. 

An insurance company is going to use a generic formula to provide a market value for your vehicle based on its pre-accident condition. The calculation takes into account such things as make, model, and mileage. It does not figure in a vehicle’s impeccable maintenance history, special option packages, flawless paint job, or other assets that make a car worth more. 

As a result, cars are often undervalued. A car that has been significantly undervalued may not have to be totaled as long as it’s worth more than the repair estimate.

A professional auto appraiser takes into account all the unique qualities of your vehicle and how well you took care of it—all the things the generic formula doesn’t include in calculating car value. 

Auto Mediator uses real sales data, information from auction reports, dealer-only programs, and diagnostic tools. We go over every vehicle with attention to detail, testing every system, and evaluating a vehicle’s worth based on technology paired with industry knowledge born of long experience.

When you get our final vehicle appraisal report, you have a figure that you can trust and one your insurance company will have trouble disputing.

Auto Mediator Understands 

At Auto Mediator, we understand the value you place on your car and the loss you feel if your insurer declares it totaled. We want to help you get a fair settlement. 

We have helped clients recover thousands of dollars more than their insurance companies offered. If you want to dispute your insurance company’s assessment, call us.