5) Under what circumstances may an insurer declare my vehicle a total loss?
The insurance company repairing your vehicle may declare it a total loss if the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds a certain percentage of the total value of the vehicle. If your own insurer is paying for the repairs, your policy will set out that percentage and explain the circumstances when the vehicle may be “totaled”.
If someone else’s insurer is paying for the repairs, you should ask the adjuster how it determines your vehicle to be a total as you won’t be privy to the terms of the policy. Ask the adjuster what is their: 1. assumed post- crash vehicle value; 2. Assumed cost of repair; 3. Percentage the cost of repair to total value in order for them to declare a total loss (usually 70, 80 or 90%).
TIP: Then (and this is the important part) check the values they assume and their math.Considering hiring an appraiser to contest valuation if needed and when costs justify. Ask the insurer for written justification explanation of the values the insurer assumes.