Total Loss

A common term tossed around by many insurance companies following an accident is “totaled,” or “total loss.” They mean the same thing, which is essentially that the car is not worth the cost of repairs it will need to return it to a safe, drivable condition. However, it’s best not to jump to conclusions about your vehicle until an expert auto body technician is able to provide a comprehensive estimate, as there are several misconceptions about what totals a car. If you have any questions about your car following a wreck, talk to the pros at Finney Auto Body in Fairfield.

What does it mean if a car is totaled?

In most cases, a car is considered a total loss by an insurance company if the cost of repairs is higher than 75% of the value of the vehicle. For example, if a car that has been involved in a wreck is worth $10,000 and it is determined by the insurance adjuster to need $7,500 worth of repairs, an insurance company will likely claim it as totaled or a total loss.

If a car is totaled, the owner will generally receive a payment from their insurance company for the actual cash value of the car, minus any applicable deductible. The actual value is dependent on the vehicle’s age and condition. If the vehicle is totaled, following payment to the owner, it will often end up in a junkyard, sold for scrap or parts, or sold to a vehicle auction reseller.

Is my car totaled if the frame is bent or the airbags deployed?

Many people are under the impression that if their vehicle’s frame is bent or the airbags are deployed in an accident that the car will be considered a total loss. This isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, in most circumstances where the vehicle is relatively new, it won’t be totaled. However, the insurance adjuster will need to conduct a full assessment of the vehicle to determine if fixing the frame or replacing the airbags will exceed the cash value of the vehicle.

Complete Collision Repair

If you have been involved in a car accident and are looking for professional auto body repair in southeast Iowa, call Finney Auto Body. For over 40 years, we’ve been taking the dents out of accidents and helping people get back on the road following wrecks – big and small. Our local collision repair shop is staffed by knowledgeable technicians dedicated to helping you.


If you have any questions about total loss, or to schedule an estimate for auto body repair, please give us a call at 641-472-6468.