If the accident is your fault and your car costs more to repair than what it’s worth or can’t be repaired, your insurance company pays you the value of the vehicle (minus any deductible) if you have the right coverages. If you were deemed not at fault, you can choose to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
A “total loss” in car insurance is a term insurers use when the cost to repair your car is more than the value of the vehicle. Your insurance company will typically complete an inspection of the damaged vehicle before officially declaring it a total loss.
When assessing your vehicle, most insurers factor in the condition and structure of your car in addition to any state laws. In some states, a vehicle is automatically deemed to be a total loss if the cost to repair it exceeds a certain percentage of the vehicle’s worth.
If another driver is at fault in the accident, their insurance pays you the value of your totaled vehicle with the at-fault driver’s property damage liability coverage. If your vehicle is damaged in any way or you were hit by a driver without insurance, the coverages below can protect against a totaled vehicle on YOUR insurance policy:
Assuming you’re covered, your insurer will send a payment to your lender for the actual cash value of the car, minus any deductible. Make sure you give your lender’s contact information and the account number to your agent or insurance company. If your car is totaled and you still owe on it but the accident was not your fault, contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company with your lender information.
To maintain your good credit, you should to continue to make your loan or lease payments until the insurance company issues payment to your lender. If you don’t have insurance or don’t have enough coverage, you’re on the hook for the balance left on your vehicle even though the car is no longer drivable.
Keep in mind, new car owners may be most susceptible to the situation above. Newer vehicles typically depreciate as soon as you drive the vehicle home from the dealership.
How to file an insurance claim if your car is totaled
If you’re involved in an auto accident, regardless of fault, and your car is damaged, immediately notify your agent or insurance company. At Progressive, we’re available 24/7 to report a claim over the phone or online. Remember, it’s up to the insurance adjuster to determine whether your car is totaled or if it can be repaired.
Filing a claim at Progressive
Call us at 800-776-4737 and a claims representative will walk you through the claim process. You can also file a claim by logging into your policy or using the Progressive app.
If you’re not a Progressive customer, you can track an existing claim online.
How can I get a new car after a total loss?
Before financing a new car after a total loss, check if you owe a balance on your totaled vehicle. While your insurance company may have issued payment to your lender, the amount may not have been enough to cover the full balance, especially if you don’t have gap insurance. In those instances, your lender might be able to consolidate what you owe into a new car loan.
Once you’ve purchased a new car, remember to contact your insurance company with the vehicle information so you’re properly covered.
Progressive offers a car shopping service to help with your new vehicle purchase.
Will my insurance company provide a rental car?
At Progressive, if you have rental car reimbursement on your policy, you’re covered for the cost of a rental vehicle for up to 30 days. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company is handling your claim, ask the claims representative if you’re eligible for a rental car.
What happens to the totaled vehicle?
The car’s title is transferred to the insurance company handling the claim and they dispose of the salvaged vehicle.