Defining 'Totaled'

Hear the word "totaled" and maybe you picture a twisted hunk of metal on the side of the road. In reality, though, total loss vehicles don't always match that picture. It's really all about potential repair costs. An insurance adjuster or examiner determines whether a vehicle is a total loss by comparing the cost to repair the vehicle compared to the car's actual cash value. Generally, if the cost to repair the vehicle is greater than the car's actual cash value the car is considered a total loss, or "totaled."

Disabled vehicle following a terrible accident

Making a Claim

After you've taken care of everything at the scene of the accident, you'll need to file a claim. For step-by-step instructions, you can read our How to File an Auto Claim article.

With 24/7 claims support, hundreds of local drive-in centers, and one of the country's largest teams of claims professionals, Allstate is here to make the claim process as easy and convenient as possible.

If you're already an Allstate customer, you can start your claim online, call us 24/7 at 1-800-ALLSTATE
(1-800-255-7828) or contact your local Allstate agent.

Determining Value

Your insurance company will need to determine its Actual Cash Value (ACV) at the time of the accident. Insurance companies use a number of factors to figure your car's ACV including its age, condition, mileage and resale value, plus the selling price of similar vehicles in your area.

Receiving Reimbursement

If you own your vehicle, your insurance company typically issues you a check for the Actual Cash Value (ACV) minus your deductible.

But if you're leasing or your car is financed, the payment may go directly to the leasing or finance company. If you're leasing, you never actually own the car. And if you took out a loan to buy your car, you may not really "own" much of the car yet—some of the ACV may go to the lien holder (the person or institution who issued your loan).

Check Your Coverage

There's no way around it—totaling a car is scary, stressful, and a major inconvenience. But spending a few minutes under the hood of your insurance policy now may help out later. For instance, find out if your policy covers the cost of rental car while you're between rides.

New Car, New Coverage

With your old car out of commission, chances are you're already looking for a new one. Why not take a closer look at your auto insurance too? To see how much you could be saving with Allstate, get a free, no-obligation quote. Are you in good hands?

Published: June 2011

*This information was obtained by the Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority at The availability, qualifications and amounts of these coverages and discounts may vary from state to state. In addition, other terms, conditions and exclusions not described above may apply, and total savings may vary depending on the coverages purchased. In some states, we may offer coverages and discounts that are not listed here. For more information regarding your eligibility for certain coverages and savings opportunities, please contact your Allstate agent.

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