Totaled Car Value Calculator (2022)

A totaled car value calculator determines how much your insurance will pay for your car if it was totaled in an accident. If you have a newer car, you may want to invest in GAP coverage, which pays the difference between what you owe on your car loan and the car's actual value after an accident.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about home, life, and car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and C...

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Written by Chris Tepedino
Insurance Feature Writer Chris Tepedino

Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent Laura Walker

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2022

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The Rundown

  • A totaled car value calculator determines what your totaled car is worth
  • Your totaled car is worth its actual cash value (ACV), which is the car’s current market value minus depreciation
  • If your car is totaled and you have full auto coverage, insurance will pay the actual cash value if the cost to repair your car is more than its current value

Your car was totaled in an accident. The good news is you have full coverage, so your insurance will pay you what your car is worth. But what is the value of your totaled car after an accident? 

A totaled car value calculator is a tool that can give you an idea of how much your insurance will pay for your totaled car. To find out how much your totaled car is worth, all it takes is a little research on your car’s current value and an understanding of how to use a totaled car value calculator.

What is a totaled car value calculator?

A totaled car value calculator is a way to find out how much your totaled vehicle is worth after an accident. The calculator teaches you how to value your car by calculating its actual cash value (ACV). 

Keep in mind that if you file a total loss auto claim, your insurance company will use its own totaled car value calculator to determine how much it will pay for your totaled car. You may have to rely on your insurance company’s totaled car value, but you should still do your own calculations in case you need to negotiate for a higher value.

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How do I know if my car is totaled?

Just because your car was badly damaged in an accident doesn’t automatically mean it’s totaled. Before you try to figure out your totaled car value, you’ll need to know if it’s going to be a total loss.

Is my car totaled? How do I know? The general rule is that your car is considered totaled if it costs more to fix than what it’s worth. There can be exceptions to this rule. An insurance company can total out a car even if repair estimates are less than the car’s value.

In determining if a car is a total loss, insurance companies look at the percentage of repair costs to the car’s actual value. For some insurers, if repair costs are between 70 and 75% of the car’s actual cash value, they’ll declare the car totaled, salvage car parts, and take the loss.

Even though insurance companies use their own totaled car value calculators and formulas to ultimately decide if a car is a total loss, state laws regulate how insurers determine what is considered “totaled.”

For example, California’s total loss formula determines that a vehicle is a total loss if the cost of repairs plus the salvage value of the vehicle is more than or equal to the actual cash value. 

How can I use a car value calculator to know my car’s ACV?

A car value calculator should be used as a guide to determining a car’s actual cash value, which is the amount of money an insurance company will pay for a totaled vehicle. There is a general formula for calculating your car’s ACV. You start with its current market value and then subtract its depreciation value, as well as any other diminished value for things like prior unrelated damage.

If you want to know how to determine your car’s value, the Insurance Information Institute recommends researching reliable car valuation sites, like the Kelley Blue Book and the National Automobile Dealers Association, which index actual car values based on year, make, and model. You can also research dealerships to see what your car is selling for.

Obtaining current prices of what your car is selling for on the market can help you if you think your insurance company’s calculation of totaled car value is too low. Just make sure you’re getting examples of cars that are comparable to yours, not just in terms of the year, make, and model, but also regarding mileage, wear and tear, and prior damage.

Don’t forget to factor in any upgrades. If you have receipts or invoices that show you paid extra money for premium upgrades, like specialty packages, custom rims, or souped-up engines, it could persuade the adjuster to increase your car’s actual total value.

How much will insurance pay for my totaled car?

Your insurance will pay you up to the actual cash value of your totaled vehicle, as long as you have the right car insurance. That’s why it’s important to consider the types of auto coverage available so you have the right protection on your vehicle. 

The most common kinds of car insurance include:

  • General liability
  • Uninsured/underinsured
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Medical payments
  • Personal injury protection

General liability coverage (GLC) only meets your state’s minimum mandatory car insurance requirements. A general liability policy won’t cover your totaled vehicle, or any other damage to your car from an accident or an event, like hail, fire, theft, and even civil unrest.

The best coverage is full coverage car insurance, which includes collision and comprehensive policies. Collision and comprehensive insurance cover damages to your car, including paying the actual cash value if your car is totaled. Collision insurance covers damage if your car collided with other cars, property, or people, while comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car as a result of things like storms or theft.

Remember that the actual cash value is not the same thing as the replacement cost value, which is what it would cost to buy the same or similar car at the current manufacturer’s suggested retail price. 

Actual cash value is what your vehicle is worth today in a depreciated condition. Insurance companies calculate depreciation using their own methods, but, typically, a new car’s value drops by about 10% just within the first few months of purchase. 

Because cars depreciate the moment they’re driven off the dealership’s lot, many drivers add GAP coverage to their full coverage auto insurance.

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What is GAP coverage?

GAP stands for “guaranteed auto protection.” GAP insurance covers the difference between what you owe on your car and its actual cash value.

It’s good coverage to have if your new car gets in an accident or stolen. If you end up owing more on the loan or lease, GAP insurance covers the difference so you don’t end up having to pay anything out of pocket. 

Often, leasing companies will require GAP insurance for leased vehicles because there’s a greater risk that a borrower will bail on a lease if the car is totaled. 

You’re probably wondering about the price of GAP insurance. We’ve seen GAP insurance rates as low as $20 a month. Insurance companies want to compete for your business so shop around and ask about rates.

How can I find the best totaled car value calculator?

Since there isn’t a standard car value calculator online, you’ll have to do some research to find your totaled car’s ACV. Though it sounds like a lot of work, you’ll be happy you took this step when you can compare your number to what your insurance company is offering you to make sure it’s both comparable and fair.

If you do not have full coverage on your car and you’re worried about the aftermath if your car is ever totaled, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best possible coverage. 

Final Thoughts on Calculating Your Totaled Car’s Value

If you’re dealing with a badly damaged car with high repair estimates, and you think the insurance company might consider it totaled, you should figure out how much your totaled car is worth. As mentioned previously, just remember your insurance company will only pay the car’s actual cash value, which is its current market value after deducting depreciation and any other diminution in value.

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