Total Loss is a vehicle is considered a total loss when the collision, fire or water damage is so extensive that repair costs would exceed the value of the vehicle. Depending on the state in which the vehicle is insured, a total loss may be defined differently. For example, in some states a total loss may be equal to the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV), while in other states a total loss may be a percentage of the vehicle’s ACV—usually about 80%.
Generally speaking, if the repair cost is anywhere near the vehicle’s ACV, the insurance company may total the vehicle because subsequent supplemental repair claims encountered during the repair process could easily push the repair cost beyond the ACV amount. In most cases, the older the vehicle, the more easily it will total-out in the event of a crash.