Friday, 07 May 2021 12:04

What Does it Mean to ‘Total’ a Vehicle?

Written by Gary Wickert, Claims Journal


...dictate this TLT as part of legislating salvage titles and it varies from state to state. A car with damage totaling 75% of its value is totaled in New York, but considered repairable in Texas, where the threshold is 100%.


As an example, in Wisconsin, § 342.065(1)(c) reads as follows:


"If the interest of an owner in a vehicle that is titled in this state is not transferred upon payment of an insurance claim that, including any deductible amounts, exceeds 70% of the fair market value of the vehicle, any insurer of the vehicle shall, within 30 days of payment of the insurance claim, notify the department in writing of the claim payment and that the vehicle meets the statutory definition of a salvage vehicle, in the manner and form prescribed by the department."


In addition, Wis. Stat. § 340.01(55g) provides the definition of a salvage vehicle: “Salvage vehicle” means a vehicle less than 7 years old that is not precluded from subsequent registration and titling and that is damaged by collision or other occurrence to the extent that the estimate or actual cost, whichever is greater, of repairing the vehicle exceeds 70% of its fair market value.”


Many states have exceptions to these rules for older vehicles which tend to complicate the issue.


When state law does not dictate a TLT, an insurance company must determine internally when a vehicle becomes a total loss. This means the insurance company...