Sunday, March 27, 2016

Collision Repair Tip #1: How to know if your car is a total loss after an accident

(This article compliments of Auto Craft Collision Repair -- Tulsa, Wichita, Junction City)

I had a customer at our Tulsa collision repair location ask a very common question recently: how can insurance companies declare a car a total loss when you can still drive it—sometimes it even looks pretty good.

It's simple arithmetic, with rules that vary from state to state, but the basic formula is easy to understand, and I'll explain it below, as well as in this video, called "Is car Totaled?" There are a few easy tip-offs, though:
  1. If an air bag has deployed. Air bags cost up to two thousand dollars to replace. Not fair, right, but that's the cost of added safety, I guess. Unless you're driving a new or close to new car or truck, the air bag alone could cause it to be totaled, even with a minor fender bender.
  2. The vehicle is no driveable. Anytime a vehicle can't be drive away after a collision, the damage is often enough to make it non-cost-effective for insurance companies to authorize repair for.
  3. If there are large amounts of automotive fluids under you car after a collision. Not always the case, but this may indicate serious enough damage for a vehicle to be declared totaled.
  4. Hail dents and dings. Even though you can hardly see some hail damage, a lot of it can make a car a total loss.
The formula used in insurance calculations is based on the actual cash value (Blue Book value) of the vehicle compared to the cost of repairing it plus its salvage value. In some states, if the  cost of repair plus salvage value equate to fifty percent of the cash value of the car, it’s a total loss. Other states my us 75, 80 or even 100 percent, instead. In Kansas, the magic number is 75 percent. In Tulsa, our collision repair shop is required by the state insurance commission to calculate it at 60 percent.

Not all collision repair jobs are created equal, so be sure to hire a shop with strong and proven reputation. Costs can also vary widely, but your first concern should always be getting the job done right. Peace of mind is worth more than saving a little money. Always look for an established collision repair shop whose technicians have all the appropriate certifications. Larger operations may also get better parts pricing and pass the savings on to customers

We also offer paintless dent repair in Tulsa and our other locations, and if it fits your situation, it can really cut costs--always worth asking about, if you don't have damaged paint, deep dents of hard creases in the vehicle body.

Watch Auto Craft's Car Care Minute video on how to know if a car totaled.

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