Typical Advice for a Total Loss Insurance Claim

A total loss insurance claim is a claim made by a policy holder when the amount of loss is complete. Total loss occurs in the case of car insurance where the repair or body shop deems that the car is too expensive to fix or repair. This results in the insurance policy owner receiving an amount that is equal to the fair market value of the insurance.

Total Loss Insurance

Total loss insurance claims result from the insured becoming involved in an accident that destroys or significantly damages the car. The process for making a total loss claim involves the insured having the vehicle taken to a repair shop that is authorized by the insurance company. It is important to use the insurance company’s recommended auto repair or body shop in order to speed up the claim process.  

Repair Shop Determination of Total Loss

The repair shop makes a determination, under the guidelines set by the insurance company, as to whether or not the vehicle is a total loss. This is done after an extensive look is performed of the vehicle and the extent of damage that occurred. Once the auto repair shop evaluates the cost of repairing the vehicle to make it safe to drive, they will make the determination of whether total loss has occurred.

Car Must Be Restored to Safe Driving Conditions

As the policy owner, you should insist that if the repair shop wants to proceed with a repair attempt that the resulting repair restores the vehicle to a safe driving condition. A repair shop that is unscrupulous may attempt the repair because of the money involved in doing so however it may not make the vehicle drivable. Insisting that the vehicle meets state and federal safety requirements will ensure that you will be able to drive the car without fear of death or injury.

Obtain a Second Opinion

It is always a good idea to go to multiple repair shops that are certified by the insurance company. This will give you alternative opinions and protect your interests against a repair shop that may insist on repairs that will not bring the vehicle to an acceptable safety standard. Using a shop that is part of the insurance company’s approved listing of repair shops allows you to show the diversity of opinions regarding repair options and help you assist the insurance company in deriving an opinion to deem the damage to the car a total loss.