Understanding total loss in auto and motorcycle insurance

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What is total loss, and when is a car or motorcycle totaled?

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Following an accident or other incident, total loss occurs when the cost to repair a vehicle is expected to exceed its current market value. Several factors contribute to determining this value, including the vehicle’s:

  • Year

  • Make

  • Model

  • Mileage

  • Overall condition

How long does it typically take to receive a total loss settlement offer?

Once we’ve received the information we need to determine that your vehicle is a total loss, the total loss representative will make a settlement offer to you. Many total loss claims can be resolved in a few days—just keep in mind this doesn't necessarily mean other claims related to the accident will also close at the same time.

Do I have the right to dispute a total loss determination?

Yes. If you disagree with a total loss determination, you have the option to provide relevant information to the total loss claim representative. Your insights can play a crucial role in helping to ensure an accurate assessment.

What does car insurance cover when my vehicle is declared a total loss?

In a total loss situation, your insurance provider’s settlement offer is based on the vehicle’s market value. If you have an outstanding balance on a loan for your vehicle, your insurance typically won’t pay off the balance exceeding the total loss value.

For example, if your total loss settlement is $8,000 and you owe $10,000 on your vehicle loan, you’ll still need to pay the remaining $2,000 out of pocket per your agreement with the lender.

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How do I transfer my vehicle title to my insurer if it's a total loss?

Your total loss representative will provide you with the paperwork you need to process your total loss vehicle claim. With Dairyland® insurance, once you complete the paperwork, we'll issue you a payment and dispose of the vehicle.

Can I keep my vehicle if it's declared a total loss, and if so, what are the requirements?

State regulations vary when it comes to the licensing and ownership of vehicles that are determined to be a total loss. Your total loss representative can explain your state's requirements regarding vehicles that are declared total losses.

We're here for you 24/7

As you navigate the total loss process, open communication is key. Whether you need clarification on coverage, have questions about the settlement offer, or want to explore additional options, our team is here for you. Total loss situations can be challenging, but with Dairyland Insurance—a brand of the Sentry Insurance Group—you have a dedicated team to guide you through every step.