Total LossNobody likes to imagine being involved in an auto accident, but unfortunately, auto accidents happen all the time. Driving home from work, you got distracted and failed to see the line of traffic stopped in front of you. Traveling at 60 mph, you didn’t even have time to apply brakes and plow into the car in front of you, damaging that vehicle and causing extensive damages to your car. While you may feel certain your car is totaled, you have no identifying way of knowing the extent of the damages. Find out the steps to determine whether your car is a total loss.

Defining an Automobile Total Loss 

Just because you think your car is totaled, does not necessarily mean that it is by inspection alone. In order for a car to be deemed a total loss, several aspects must be considered before making that declaration. A car is typically considered a “total loss” if the cost to repair your car, plus the salvage value, exceeds its ACV.

Estimate of Damages

First of all, a thorough inspection must be done on your car for repairs/damages and an estimate written to detail cost of repairs along with labor to perform the repairs. Also, the auto insurance adjuster or the body repair shop will consider any potential hidden damages that may not be prevalent until the repairs have begun.

ACV (Actual Cash Value)

Actual cash value is determinable by knowing the value of your car prior to the accident less any depreciation. Inspecting your make, model, year, and condition of your car and then submitting the information to an industry-leading database can establish this value. From that, a fairly accurate valuation is presented and used in conjunction with some quotes from local dealerships with cars that are most like yours, prior to the accident.


Salvage is determined by the value of your car AFTER the accident, without any repairs being done and you will typically hear this term once/if your car is determined to be a total loss from your Florida insurance company.

Once all the necessary considerations of your car (estimate for repairs, ACV, and salvage) have been established and acknowledged, your insurance carrier will contact you with the information and from there you will offered alternatives as to how you wish to proceed.

Settlement Time 

Assuming your car is a total loss established by your Florida auto insurance carrier, you can then proceed to settlement. You can take the recognized ACV value of your car, less any applicable deductible that may apply OR you can retain the salvage (the car “as is” with no repairs) less any deductible that may apply.

Let Us Assist You

Being involved in an auto accident is never easy and can come with emotional distress, but if you are prepared by knowing how your Florida insurance company handles the situation of a total loss, you will be better equipped to handle the situation. If you are involved in an auto accident, contact us at Ideal Insurance at 941-921-2102 and let us assist you. We can answer any questions you may have regarding your afforded coverage under your Florida auto insurance policy or any recommended steps forthcoming.