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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. If you have your vehicle loan with State Farm Bank, ask about Payoff Protector®footnote [1] as it is included with your loan.  Payoff Protector is not an insurance product, and is subject to the terms, conditions, and restrictions of the Payoff Protector provision in the State Farm Bank® Promissory Note and Security Agreement. No additional signatures are required for Payoff Protector. Agents do not receive compensation for Payoff Protector because it is automatically provided on all State Farm Bank vehicle loans.

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.

return to reference[1] Payoff Protector is not an insurance product. Subject to the terms, conditions, and restrictions of the Payoff Protector provision in your State Farm Bank Promissory Note and Security Agreement. If your vehicle is determined to be a total loss before the loan is paid off, State Farm Bank will cancel the difference between the insurance payout and the unpaid principal balance due on the loan. Certain restrictions apply. For example, your loan must be in good standing.

State Farm Bank, F.S.B., Bloomington, Illinois ("Bank"), is a Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. NMLS ID 139716. The other products offered by affiliate companies of State Farm Bank are not FDIC insured, not a State Farm Bank obligation or guaranteed by State Farm Bank, and may be subject to investment risk, including possible loss of principal invested. The Bank encourages any interested individual(s) to submit an application for any product(s) offered by the Bank. We also encourage you to obtain information regarding the Bank's underwriting standards for each type of credit or service offered by visiting® or by contacting the Bank at 877-SF4-BANK (877-734-2265). If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or do not use your voice to communicate, you may contact us via 711 or other relay services. To apply for a Bank product, you may also see your participating State Farm® agent.

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