Skip to Main Content

Start Of Main Content

What happens if your car is totaled?

Learn what goes into the decision and what your options are.

Man on phone call. Car wreck in background.

If your car has been damaged and the potential repair costs exceed the value of the car, it is considered a total loss. Here are answers to common questions that spring up when your vehicle has been declared totaled.

Why was my vehicle totaled?

After a loss (for example, a collision, vehicle fire or flood damage), there are a few reasons your vehicle may be declared a total loss. Often, the repairs are estimated to cost more than what the vehicle is worth — vehicle worth being the actual cash value determined by its year, make, model and major options, as well as mileage and overall condition. (Though the damage may not look bad, the repair can cost much more than you’d think.)

Other reasons for totaling a vehicle include when the damage makes the car irreparably unsafe or if your state’s regulations require it for your vehicle’s damage severity.

How much will I get?

You’ll receive the determined actual cash value of the vehicle, minus the deductible you chose when insuring it, as well as any applicable state taxes and/or fees.

What if I’m still paying off the vehicle?

You’ll be responsible for satisfying your loan agreement whether or not the money you receive covers it all. This is why you might consider GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance, so called because it covers the gap between what you owe on the vehicle and its current market value.

What if I want to keep my vehicle?

Talk to your auto insurance company or, if you have State Farm auto insurance, speak with your agent or claim representative to see whether state regulations allow you to keep your vehicle and, if so, what your reduced payment amount would be.

What do I need to do if I decide to surrender it?

First, clear out the car and remove personal items and paperwork. If possible, clear your information from the navigation and mobile phone systems, and take off the license plates. Round up all copies of the key and the title. Then, contact your State Farm agent for further instructions and to schedule vehicle pickup.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.



Also Important

Car Totaled or Stolen? All Coverage Doesn't Pay Equally

Car Totaled or Stolen? All Coverage Doesn't Pay Equally

GAP insurance is an extra expense when you buy and finance a car. But do you need it? Find out in this article.

Mobile Help and Quick Tips for After an Auto Accident

Mobile Help and Quick Tips for After an Auto Accident

Tech help for after an auto accident.

Related Articles

What to Know When You Need Car Repairs

What to Know When You Need Car Repairs

Learn how to find a reliable mechanic and how to determine what jobs you need done.

What to Do After a Hit and Run

What to Do After a Hit and Run

Hit and run accidents can be stressful. Know what to do — and what not to do — if you find yourself in this situation.

How to Deal with Parking Lot Accidents

How to Deal with Parking Lot Accidents

It's only a common fender bender, but all parties involved should know what to do.