What Does It Mean if a Car Is “Totaled” In a Crash?

During a car accident, it is common to sustain damages such as physical injuries, emotional trauma, and property loss. Vehicle damage is especially common, ranging from minor scratches and scrapes to extensive structural and mechanical deformities. A car accident lawyer in Atlanta may be able to help if you suffer injuries or your vehicle is wrecked in a collision.

A totaled car has sustained so much damage from an accident that it’s deemed economically unviable to repair. In essence, when the repair costs surpass the vehicle’s current market value, the car is considered totaled. If you have the appropriate insurance coverage—or if someone else was responsible for the collision—you may recover compensation to pay for the cost of a new vehicle.

Does Your Own Insurance Cover Totaled Vehicles?

Motor vehicles are expensive but often necessary forms of transportation. When you lose your car after an accident, you can struggle to get to work, take your children to school, or perform daily tasks. Fortunately, there are options for compensation available through your own insurance coverage.

If you hold any of the following policies, you could recover compensation to pay for a totaled car:

  • Comprehensive Coverage: This type of coverage protects your vehicle against unforeseen events that are beyond your control, such as natural disasters, theft, or vandalism. If your car is damaged due to a fire or flood, or even if it’s stolen and later found to be irreparably damaged, comprehensive insurance can compensate you for the vehicle’s current market value, after accounting for any deductible you might owe.
  • Collision Coverage: If your car is involved in a collision—whether it’s with another vehicle, a lamp post, or even a tree—collision coverage can help pay for vehicle damage. This type of policy is designed to cover the cost of repairs or, if the vehicle is totaled, to pay out its current value. Collision coverage applies regardless of whether or not you were at fault in the accident.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: There are instances where you might find yourself in an accident with a driver who either has no insurance or insufficient insurance to cover the damage that he or she has caused. In these cases, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can help. It offers protection by covering the costs associated with the damage to your car if the other driver can’t, up to your policy’s limits.

How Is a Vehicle’s Value Calculated?

To determine a vehicle’s value, insurance companies assess its actual cash value (ACV). The ACV is the vehicle’s current market worth minus any depreciation. This is calculated based on factors such as the vehicle’s age, condition, mileage, and comparable selling prices for similar vehicles in the local market. After determining the ACV, the insurance company will subtract any deductible, if applicable, to calculate the amount of compensation that it will pay to the policyholder.

What Happens If Another Driver Is Responsible for the Accident?

Georgia is a fault-based car accident state, meaning that the driver responsible for a collision is liable for any damages caused—including the cost of a totaled vehicle. If another driver totals your car, his or her property damage liability insurance should cover the ACV of your vehicle.

Georgia’s fault laws can be intricate, and proving liability can be a challenge. To protect your right to fair compensation, it is wise to consult with a car accident lawyer who can advocate for your best interests. After your accident, schedule a free legal consultation to learn more about your path to justice.