How insurance companies determine car values is by inspecting, condition rating, acquiring the options, and using a third party appraisal program to determine a vehicle's value. When a vehicle claim is filed, the car insurance companies typically send an adjuster out to the vehicle to determine if it can be repairable or if it is a total loss.

When a claim is filed and a claims adjuster inspects the vehicle, the damages may exceed a threshold determined for the vehicle. Generally the threshold is approximately sixty to seventy five percent. When the vehicle exceeds this threshold the vehicle is then determined as a total loss.

Car values for totals by insurance company

When the vehicle is a total loss the adjuster then rates the vehicle which is called a condition rating. A condition rating is a rating that is given to the existing condition of the vehicle. Damages from the claim do not affect the condition rating of the vehicle. Condition ratings are measured as either exceptional, above average, normal, or below average. Insurers never categorize ratings as exceptional unless it is a new vehicle.

Areas that are rated in a condition rating is the exterior body of the vehicle, trim, windshield, tire tread depth, engine and transmission, and interior carpet, seats, headliners, dash, and console. Once the condition rating is completed, the adjuster will then incorporate the options of the vehicle. Such options include mileage of the vehicle, style of wheels, trim models, leather or cloth interior, manual or automatic transmission, sunroofs and moon roofs, exterior trim such as spoilers, type of paint on the vehicle, and interior accessories such as cruise control or seat warmers.

Dealing with insurance car value

Once the insurance company receives the condition rating and options from the adjuster they deal with a third party appraisal program like CCC Pathways or Mitchell to determine the vehicle's value. The third party program takes the condition rating and options of the vehicle then apply it to other similar vehicles sold in the area. Typically the insuring companies will use the sold amount figures of three or more similar vehicles. The average of these sold vehicles determines the consumer's vehicle's value. Many options of a vehicle may also add additional value that is added on top of the average of sold vehicles in the area. Such options include low mileage, CD player, or alloy/premium wheels.

Once the value of the vehicle is acquired, the total loss offer will be given out minus any deductible, percentage of liability involved with the claim, salvage values, or fees.

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