What Should I Do If I’ve Totaled My Car In Oregon?

Getting into a car accident can be scary, regardless of the severity. Even if there are no injuries involved, the aftermath of an accident can be complicated. Many people are told that their cars are totaled after an accident. Understanding what it means to “total” a car and what you can do about it can be confusing. Here, we will discuss what you can do if the insurance carrier says your car is totaled.

What Should I Do If I've Totaled My Car In Oregon?

What does it mean when a car is totaled?

When a vehicle has been “totaled,” this can mean it is a “structural total loss” or a “financial total loss.” A vehicle that is a structural total loss is no longer safe to be driven, which is reasonable to understand. However, many people are confused when a vehicle is considered a financial total loss but is still driveable or repairable.

When people hear the word “totaled,” they often picture a vehicle that is mangled beyond repair. However, a vehicle will be considered totaled when the damage it sustained in a car accident comes close to or exceeds the total value it appraises for. This definition means that being “totaled” revolves around the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle in question and can lead to varying levels of severity before the vehicle is considered totaled.

For example, a vehicle with an ACV of $70,000 would have to sustain a tremendous amount of damage before it is considered totaled. However, a vehicle with an ACV of $7,000 would need to sustain much less damage in order to be considered totaled.

What you can do if your car is totaled

Insurance companies are notorious for undervaluing vehicles that they consider totaled because they will do everything in their power to lower a settlement made in the aftermath of a crash. In Oregon, you have the right to dispute an insurance company’s offer if you feel they have not properly appraised your vehicle. In most cases, an insurance company is going to offer much less than your vehicle is worth initially.

In this state, there is a formula that the insurance company uses to determine whether your vehicle is repairable or should be considered totaled. This formula is:

  • Salvage Value + The Cost to Repair > Actual Cash Value

When a vehicle is declared a total loss, the insurance company is required to supply you with the appraisal report for your vehicle. If you disagree with the way they calculated the value of your vehicle, you have an option to hire an independent auto appraiser to conduct your own assessment. Your job will be to show that your vehicle is worth more than what the insurance carrier is offering. Some insurance policies contain an “appraisal clause.” If you have this clause in your policy, use an independent appraiser, and receive an increase in your settlement offer, the insurance company will be required to reimburse you for the cost of hiring the appraiser.

Do you need an attorney?

In the aftermath of any car accident, you should consider speaking to a Portland car accident attorney. Aggressive insurance carriers, whether dealing with injuries, property damage, or both, are notorious for offering low settlements. They have one goal in mind – to pay as little as possible in any settlement they make. An attorney can help you fight back and will be your advocate throughout the complicated car accident settlement process.