To total a car, it takes damage that costs more than 75% of the vehicle’s actual cash value to repair, depending on the state. In some states, a car is considered totaled if the cost of repairs exceeds the car’s pre-accident value, but other states have a lower bar for declaring a car a total-loss.
Some states, like California and Pennsylvania, use a formula to determine if a car is totaled. The specific formula varies by state, but typically if the total cost to repair the vehicle, plus the amount of money the car would be worth as salvage, is equal to or more than the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV), it is declared a total loss.
Other states determine if a car is totaled based on a percentage threshold.
How Much Damage to Total a Car by State
Some states dictate that a vehicle is totaled if the repair cost is only a certain percentage of the car’s value because damage is often more extensive than it initially appears. By declaring a vehicle totaled if repairs cost 75% of the vehicle’s value, for example, it ensures that if even more repairs are needed, as they often are, the car is still totaled and taken off the road.
To learn more, check out WalletHub’s guide to totaled cars.
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