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Determining if a Vehicle is Totaled or Not

Were you involved in a major motor vehicle collision? If your car sustained serious damage, it may be classified as “totaled.” This raises an important question: How do you determine if a vehicle is totaled after a car crash? The short answer is that a vehicle is totaled if the cost to repair it exceeds its acceptable fair market value. Here, our Las Vegas auto accident attorney provides an overview of the key things to know about how to determine if a vehicle is totaled in Nevada.  

What Does it Mean for a Vehicle to Be Totaled?

A motor vehicle collision could cause extreme property damage. Your vehicle may even be rendered inoperable after the crash. It might later be classified as “totaled.” As defined simply by Kelly Blue Book, a vehicle is totaled “when the cost to repair the damage exceeds the vehicle’s book value at the time of the crash.” In other words, a vehicle is totaled when it does not make economic sense to repair it. 

State Law Matters: The Threshold for a Totaled Vehicle Varies (Just 65 Percent in Nevada)

What counts as “totaled” actually varies from state-to-state.  In some jurisdictions, a true total loss—meaning repair costs equally the fair market value of the vehicle—is required. In other states, a vehicle is deemed totaled at a lower threshold. As explained by Wallethub, Nevada has the second lowest threshold for total vehicle accident claims in the entire country. Only Oklahoma is lower. 

Under Nevada state law, a vehicle is totaled if its cost of repairs exceeds 65 percent of the fair market value of the value. For example, imagine you have a car worth $10,000. You are involved in a bad crash. A repair estimate comes back and your car will require $7,500 of work to fix it. In Nevada, that vehicle is totaled. It would be totaled at $6,500 of repairs or higher (65 percent). However, in some other states, it would require $10,000 of repairs to be considered to be totaled. 

How Insurance Adjusters Decide if a Vehicle is “Totaled” After a Crash

How does an insurance company decide if a car is totaled in Nevada? Insurers need to assess the value of the property damage. Here are the two primary data points: 

  • Pre-Crash Fair Market Value: Insurers must determine what a car was worth the second before the impact happened. Insurance adjusters evaluate this by checking databases that track car sales and valuations, considering the vehicle’s age, make, model, mileage, condition, and any upgrades or unique features it may have. The fair market value sets a benchmark for deciding whether the cost of repairs would be justified. 
  • Reasonable Cost of Repairs: After determining the vehicle’s pre-crash value, the next step is to assess the cost of restoring the vehicle to its pre-accident condition. This involves getting estimates from repair shops and considering the price of parts and labor. If the vehicle is older or has been discontinued, parts may be harder to find or more expensive, which can significantly influence this cost.

In Nevada, a car is totaled by law if cost of repair is 65 percent or more of the pre-crash fair market value. The cost of the damage is technically not the relevant factor. For example, a car that needs $40,000 of repairs is not totaled if it was worth $80,000 prior to the crash. Along the same lines, a car that needs just $2,000 in repairs is total if it was only worth $1,000 before the collision. 

We Help Injured Victims Navigate Totaled Car Crashes in Nevada

Car accident claims are complicated—especially so if your vehicle was totaled in a collision. Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with in these cases. At Ace Law Group, our Las Vegas auto accident attorneys have the skills, experience, and legal expertise to hold insurance companies accountable for paying claims. We encourage you to review our verdicts and settlements and to reach out to us directly with any specific questions about your totaled vehicle crash claim. 

Contact Our Las Vegas Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney Today

At Ace Law Group, our Las Vegas auto accident attorney is a strong, experienced advocate for real justice and real results. Have questions about a totaled vehicle crash claim? We can help. Give us a phone call now at 702-213-4998 or connect with us online for your free, completely confidential case review. From our Las Vegas office, we handle motor vehicle accident claims throughout the area, including in North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Summerlin.