McKayla Girardin, Car Insurance Writer
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No, a car is not automatically totaled if it has frame damage because whether a car is totaled depends on the actual cost to repair the vehicle compared to how much the vehicle was worth. Insurance adjusters ultimately decide whether a car is worth repairing or a total loss depending on state laws and the specific damage.
When a Car With Frame Damage Is Considered Totaled
- A car is more likely to be considered totaled after it has frame damage if the vehicle was not worth much before the accident, or if it is a type of vehicle that is typically very expensive to repair, like luxury or electric vehicles.
- Older vehicles are more likely to be declared a total loss because of their diminished value.
- A car with frame damage may be considered totaled if the cost to repair the vehicle is more than a certain percentage of the vehicle’s actual cash value. Most states, including New York and Texas, use a percentage to determine total loss, and the most common percentage is 75%.
- Other states, like California and Pennsylvania, use a total loss formula to decide if a car with frame damage is totaled. The formula is a comparison of the vehicle’s actual cash value to the sum of its repair costs and salvage value.
- Your insurance company and your insurance adjuster, following state laws and guidelines, will decide if the vehicle is totaled based on an investigation.
To learn more, check out WalletHub’s guides to totaled cars and state total loss thresholds.
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