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When is a Car Considered Totaled?

When it comes to car accidents, the term “totaled” is commonly used to describe a vehicle’s damage – but you might be wondering what that actually means. The truth is, it doesn’t take much to total a car, and a vehicle doesn’t have to be an undriveable wreck to be considered totaled. 

The term “totaled” is used by insurance companies to describe a total loss to a vehicle. That means it’s not worth spending the money to repair it. The threshold for what constitutes a totaled car varies from state to state. In South Carolina, a car is usually considered totaled if the cost to repair it is greater than or equal to 75% of its actual cash value (ACV). 

The ACV is determined by assessing the car’s value just before the crash occurred. Most insurers work with a third-party vendor which determines the ACV by using aggregated vehicle data. 

The vendor will research how much used cars like yours are going for in your area, considering the make, model, year, and mileage of the vehicle, as well as depreciation, wear and tear, and previous accidents. It’s a good idea to also conduct this research yourself. If you disagree with the assessment of your car’s value, you can usually go through an appeals process with the insurance company. 

Once the assessment is made, the insurance company will send an adjuster to examine the damage and estimate the repair costs. If the damage meets or exceeds the 75% threshold set by South Carolina, then the car is usually considered totaled by the insurance company.

If a car is determined to be totaled, the insurance company will reimburse the owner of the vehicle for the ACV, minus any deductible. The owner can then use that money to purchase a new vehicle. 

If the owner prefers, they can keep the salvaged vehicle. However, the value of the salvaged vehicle must be deducted from the ACV when the insurance company issues its payout. In these cases, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles requires the insurer to obtain the title from the owner and send it to them. The Department will then reissue a salvage title to the vehicle owner. 

Collisions happen every day in South Carolina, and vehicles aren’t the only victims of damage. Auto accidents can leave drivers and passengers seriously injured, leading to catastrophic consequences. When these injuries are caused by someone else’s recklessness or negligence on the road, it is wise to contact a personal injury lawyer. 

Personal injury attorneys are highly skilled at fighting for victims of South Carolina car accidents, and they know how to build a strong case which will strengthen your chances of receiving fair compensation for current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, and/or punitive damages. 

Speak to a South Carolina car accident lawyer now

McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates has been representing South Carolina auto accident victims for more than four decades, and our car accident lawyers fight hard for their clients. We offer free case evaluations, and would be happy to speak with you about your case.

We have offices across the Midlands of South Carolina, in AikenCamden, Columbia, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, and Sumter

Give McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates a call today at 803-653-6189. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.®