What Is “Total Loss” After a Car Insurance Claim in Ohio?

Jun 24, 2022 Car Accidents    Insurance Issues

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

After a car accident, you’ll have to deal with the damage to your vehicle. A minor accident might only require a few simple fixes, but a severe crash could total your car.

The insurance claims process for a totaled car is more involved than other types of claims. Here’s what you need to know about handling total loss insurance claims.

Total Loss Insurance Claims in Ohio

Your insurance company will declare your car a “total loss” after an accident if the anticipated cost of repairs exceeds the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle. Determining if a car is a total loss varies by state, but filing a claim and receiving payment in Ohio is affected by how the insurance system operates.

Pursuing a Total Loss Claim

Car insurance in Ohio is fault-based, which means the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for the damages in an accident. Ohio drivers must carry at least $25,000 in property damage coverage. If your car is deemed a total loss, you’ll have to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive a payout.

Exceptions apply if you carry comprehensive or collision insurance as part of your policy. These coverages are optional but present good options for recovering payment from your own insurance company instead of the other driver’s in the event of a total loss.

How a Car Is Deemed a Total Loss in Ohio

Your car’s ACV is what it was worth just before the accident. It’s important to note that what you owe on the vehicle is distinct from ACV and doesn’t factor into calculating the value. According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, your insurance company will calculate the ACV of your vehicle in one of three ways:

  • Averaging the cost of at least two comparable vehicles (same year, make, model, condition, etc.) currently or recently available in your area
  • Averaging two or more quotes on similar vehicles from local dealers if none were available
  • Utilizing a pricing service to extrapolate the car’s value from local market data

What Happens After Your Car Is Declared a Total Loss?

Once the insurance company decides your car is a total loss, you can accept their settlement offer or dispute it if you disagree with the company’s assessment.

If you accept the settlement, your insurer will let the DMV know the car is totaled and dispose of the car for salvage. If you wish to keep the car for sentimental reasons or try repairing it yourself, you might be able to negotiate to keep it in return for a lower payout from the insurance company.

How Are You Paid for a Total Loss in Ohio?           

You’ll be paid the car’s ACV if you decide to settle. Keep in mind you may not receive the value of the vehicle listed on websites like Kelley Blue Book or J.D. Power’s NADAguides — the claims adjuster may only use online prices as a guide.

If you and the insurance company agree on a settlement and you own the car, you’ll be paid the full amount. But if you still owed payments or leased the car, the payout will go to the financer or leasing company, leaving you responsible for any additional balance not covered. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider carrying gap insurance, which will pay the difference between what you owe on your loan and the car’s market value.

If you and your insurer can’t agree, you can demand an independent appraisal and work with a car accident lawyer to fight on your behalf and show that the car is worth more than what’s being offered.

Contact KNR for Help with a Total Loss Claim in Ohio

If your car was deemed a total loss after an accident and you’re unhappy with the settlement offered by your insurance company, contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick right away. We can evaluate what happened to your car, closely review your insurance policy, and work to secure the appropriate compensation for your vehicle’s value.

Call us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW or reach out online to schedule a free consultation.