What Happens When the Insurance Company Deems Your Wrecked Car a Total Loss?

In Ohio, a total loss occurs where the cost to repair the damaged car is equal to or higher than the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the car. When a car is deemed a total loss by the insurance company, they are required to either replace the car with a comparable one or pay the ACV of the car.

ACV is a legal term of art that basically means the fair market value of the car before the accident. In other words, the ACV of the car is the amount of money that an individual would be willing to pay or receive for the car. Further, ACV does not consider the amount of money that you owe on the car. So, you may be required to pay the difference between what the insurance company gives you for the car and the amount that you owe (this can be alleviated if you have gap insurance which exists to cover this difference in the event of a total loss).

In Ohio, ACV can be calculated in a few ways. First, ACV can be the average cost of two or more comparable cars (make, model, year, and condition) available in your area within the past 90 days. Second, it can be the average of two or more quotations from local dealers if no cars were actually available on the market. And finally, ACV can be determined by using a pricing service that has information about car prices in the local market (e.g.: Kelly Blue Book).=

If you disagree with the insurance company about the ACV of your wrecked vehicle, there is little you can do to get them to increase their offer. You can attempt to offer your own evidence of your car’s value (like past sales of comparable cars in the area) that shows it has a higher value than what they claim, but this is challenging to do and may not be fruitful.

Additionally, if you have made enhancements to the vehicle that you believe increased the value of the car, you will have to offer evidence that the enhancements did raise the value of the car. This evidence could take myriad forms, like receipts showing the amount of money that you put into the vehicle or evidence of past sales of similarly enhanced vehicles. While it is true that an insurance adjuster may increase their offer after being presented with evidence that an enhancement raised the value of the car, it is unlikely.

Finally, you may also demand an appraisal of the car, if this is done, there is a chance that the appraisal will result in a slightly higher settlement offer, but the cost of the appraisal may not be worth the slight increase in the offer.

If you are involved in a car collision caused by the negligence of another driver, let McCarthy Law Office guide you through the process of maximizing your recovery, both for the property damage and for your pain and suffering.