When an accident occurs and a vehicle is declared a total loss, insurance companies must determine the value of the car. This value includes the depreciation of the vehicle and is based on what a reasonable cash offer for the vehicle would have been immediately before the accident. To do this, insurance companies consider factors such as the make and model of the vehicle, year, mileage, and more. An insurance company's appraiser is responsible for determining the full value of a car.
The appraiser uses special software on a laptop to take into account aspects such as frequency of service, parts used, and repair intervals. This information is used to calculate the actual cash value (ACV) of the car, which is what the insurer says the car was worth before it was damaged. If the cost of repairs approaches or exceeds the ACV, then the vehicle is considered a total loss and any insurance claim will be based on this value. It's important to note that you do not determine the value of your wrecked vehicle under any circumstances.
The determination of the value of your wrecked car is left to the company's appraiser. Even if your insurance covers the full amount of your car, they are likely to refer to its ACV when determining its value. If you have a serious accident and your car is totaled, it's important to remember that the cost of turning around and buying a new car will always be greater than what your old car was worth at the time of the accident.