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How Insurance Companies Determine a Total Loss

Here at Koester Automotive and Collision Center, we work with insurance providers every day to determine if a vehicle can be properly repaired. In some cases, a car has to be totaled. This means that the insurance company has determined that the car will not be repaired. Below we explain in detail what totaled means and how insurance companies arrive at the decision to total a car.

What Does Totaled Mean?

In the insurance world, the term totaled is the shortened form of total loss. An insurance company will deem  your vehicle a total loss when the cost of repairing the damages on a car exceeds the value of the car. Once a vehicle has been declared a total loss they will issue the owner a check for the value of the car.

How Do Insurance Companies Arrive at This Decision?

The cost of damages is not the sole factor in determining whether or not a car is totaled. There are other factors taken into  consideration. The number one consideration is the safety of the driver, the passengers in the car, and the safety of all other drivers on the road. For this reason, insurance companies assess all factors, including damage costs, the safety of the vehicle, and other possible damages that are not easily recognizable upon first glance.

When a car comes into our shop, it is our responsibility to assess the entire damage of the vehicle and report to the insurance company how much it will cost to restore the car both inside and out. The insurance company then assesses the car’s value and makes a final decision.

Appraising Your Vehicle

Although it would seem that an insurance company would write a check for the value of the car after the accidents, quite the opposite is true. The appraiser has to assess the value of the car before the accident. This is known as the actual cash value. The final amount written to you is determined after any deductions are taken out. Deductions can include car rental, towing, storage, and any salvage yard fees. Your best option is to allow the vehicle to go into the salvage yard. You do not want to claim it and continue ownership.


We Work with Insurance Companies

At Koester Automotive and Collision Center, Our goal is to restore your vehicle to its original showroom glory as quickly as possible. To expedite the collision repair process, we work directly with the insurance companies for you. We understand that car accidents are stressful and our staff is dedicated to making this time as painless as possible. Remember, in the unfortunate event of an accident, Koester has you covered!

Koester Automotive and Collision Center is a full-service auto repair shop providing expert automobile services for foreign & domestic cars


Proudly Serving Sherman Oaks, Encino, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Valley Village, Sun Valley, the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas!

15315 Dickens St. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403- (818) 986-7376 –