A car is considered a total loss in Missouri when the cost of repairs plus the salvage value is at least 80% of the vehicle’s actual cash value. Actual cash value refers to how much the car was worth immediately before the damage, while the salvage value is the car’s worth in its damaged state.
When a car is totaled according to the Missouri totaled car law, the policyholder will receive the car’s actual cash value from the insurance company if the loss was covered. Insurance companies in Missouri are usually not required to pay for applicable taxes and title costs if the policyholder purchases a replacement vehicle. However, it's worth asking your insurer anyway, since some companies will reimburse you or include these expenses in the total loss payout even though it's not mandatory.
Missouri Total Loss Threshold
The Missouri total loss law is also called a total loss threshold. Threshold systems account for the fact that damage is often more extensive than it appears. For instance, the threshold of 80% assumes that a car with that much damage is likely to have even more problems that won’t be visible until a mechanic starts repairing the car.
Missouri Total Loss Law Example
- Pre-crash value: $15,000
- Cost of repairs: $3,000
- Salvage value: $8,000
- Sum of salvage value plus repair cost: $11,000 (less than $12,000, which is 80% of the pre-crash value)
- Result: car is not declared a total loss
In this example, the driver’s car is not totaled according to Missouri law because the sum of its repair cost plus its salvage value is less than 80% of its pre-crash value, or actual cash value (ACV).
It’s also worth noting that the vehicle used in this example probably cost more than $15,000 when it was originally purchased. The ACV is meant to reflect the car’s worth in its depreciated state, not the cost of replacing the vehicle. If you want a higher payout in the event of a total loss, you should look into optional coverage add-ons like new car replacement or gap insurance.
For more information on what it means for you if your car is totaled, check out WalletHub’s totaled car guide.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines
. This question was posted by WalletHub. Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.