Auto Total Loss Thresholds

Determining an automobile's value and if it is a total loss after an accident may seem, on the surface to be clear cut, but as in other instances the states have different ideas regarding handling. 

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This chart is current as of the date I wrote it, but adjusters should be familiar with their state’s rules. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the list. Because laws and regulations can change without notice, an attorney should be contacted if there are any questions regarding this chart. These materials are provided for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or legal opinions because I am not an attorney.

STATE
RULE
AUTHORITY
Alabama
75%
Ala. Stat. § 32-8-87(d)
Alaska
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
Duty of insurance company obtaining title to unrepairable vehicle. Alaska Admin. Code tit. 2, § 92.170.
Arizona
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
A.R.S. § 28-2091(T)(4)
Arkansas
70%
A.C.A. § 27-14-2301(6)(B)
California
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
Martinez v. Enter. Rent-A-Car Co., 13 Cal. Rptr.3d 857 (Cal. App. 2004). Cal. Veh. Code § 544. Cal. Veh. Code § 11515
Colorado
100%
C.R.S. § 42-6-102 (17)(C)
Connecticut
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
C.G.S.A. § 38a-353
Delaware
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
21 Del. C. § 2512
District of Columbia
75%
D.C. Code § 50-1331.01(12)(A)
Florida
80%
F.S.A. § 319.30(1)(t) F.S.A. § 319.30(3)(a)(1)(a)(b)
Georgia
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
Ga. Code Ann. § 40-3-2 (11)
Hawaii
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
Haw. Rev. Stat. § 286-48
Idaho
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
Idaho Code § 49-123(2)(o)
Illinois
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
625 I.L.C.S. § 5/3-117.1(b)
Indiana
70%
I.C. § 9-22-3-3
Iowa
70%
I.C.A. § 321.52(4)(e)
Kansas
75%
K.S.A. § 8-197(b)(2)(B)
Kentucky
75%
K.R.S. § 186A.520(1)(a)
Louisiana
75%
La. R.S. § 32:702(13)
Maine
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
29-A M.R.S. § 602(19)
Maryland
75%
Md. Code, Transportation § 11-152 (a)(1)
Massachusetts
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
M.G.L.A. 90D § 1
Michigan
75%
M.C.L.A. §257.217c(2)(b)(i)
Minnesota
80%
M.S.A. § 168A.151(b)(c)(3)
Mississippi
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
M.C.A. § 63-21-33
Missouri
80%
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 301.010(51)(a)
Montana
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
Mont. Code Ann. § 61-3-211
Nebraska
75%
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-171(6)(a)
Nevada
65%
N.R.S. § 487.790(1)(b)
New Hampshire
75%
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 261:22(VI)(b)
New Jersey
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
N.J.S.A. § 13:21-22.3
New Mexico
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
N.M.S.A. § 66-1-4.16(C)
New York
75%
15 NYCRR § 20.20(c)(ii)
North Carolina
75%
N.C.G.S.A. § 20-71.3(d)
North Dakota
75%
N.D.C.C. § 39-05-20.2 11 N.C. Admin. Code 4.0418
Ohio
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 4505.11(C)(1)
Oklahoma
60%
47 Okla. Stat. Ann. § 1111(C)(1)
Oregon
80%
O.R.S. § 801.527(3)
Pennsylvania
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 102
Rhode Island
75%
R.I.G.L. § 20-40-2.8 R.I.G.L. § 31-46-1.1
South Carolina
75%
S.C. Code Ann. § 56-19-480(G)
South Dakota
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
S.D.C.L. § 32-3-51.19
Tennessee
75%
T.C.A. § 55-3-211(9)(A)
Texas
100% of Adjusted Costs of Repair
Tex. Transp. Code § 501.091(
Utah
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
U.C.A. § 41-1a-1005
Vermont
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
Vt. Stat. Ann. Tit. 23, § 2001(14)
Virginia
75%
Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-1602.1
Washington
Total Loss Formula (TLF)
R.C.W.A. § 46.04.514
West Virginia
75%
W. Va. St. § 17A-4-10(a)
Wisconsin
70%
Wis. Stat. § 342.065(1)(c) Wis. Stat. § 342.06(1)(hr)
Wyoming
75%
Wyo. Stat. § 31-2-106(v)

Alabama

Under Alabama law, a vehicle is considered a total loss if the cost of repairs exceeds 75% of its “fair retail value” prior to the damage. A vehicle is a "salvage" when the frame or engine was removed and not immediately replaced, or when the insurer has paid a total loss on the vehicle. The insurer buys the vehicle from the insured for the fair market value of the salvage and then applies for a salvage title.

Alaska

Alaska follows the “total loss” formula where the cost of repairing damage to the vehicle exceeds the vehicle’s insured value. “Salvage vehicle” is not legally defined. If a vehicle can't function without substantial repair, it is considered a "wrecked vehicle". The insurer that “totals” the vehicle must put “junk” on the title and surrender the title to the state. This applies to either an “actual total loss” or a “constructive total loss.”

 Arizona  

Arizona observes the “total loss” formula.  If the insurer determines that repairing the vehicle is too costly, it is then considered a salvage vehicle.

Arkansas  

A vehicle is considered a “total loss” in Arkansas when the cost of repairs plus the salvage value is greater than 70% of the vehicle's fair retail value prior to damage or the vehicle is water damaged.

California

In California, a damaged vehicle is a “total loss” when it is too expensive to repair and is not repaired; and or a vehicle determined to be too expensive to repair, for which a total loss payment has been made by an insurer, whether or not the vehicle is repaired. According to § 11515 a) or (b), the total loss settlement must be reported to the DMV, which will issue a salvage certificate for the vehicle. A “salvaged vehicle” is one that has been totally damaged beyond what the insurer is willing to pay to fix it, so the owner never gets the vehicle repaired.

Colorado

The threshold is 100% in Colorado. The state legally requires insurers to declare a vehicle a total loss if the estimated repair costs would exceed the retail market value of that vehicle. Retail value is determined by sources accepted by the insurance industry, which is usually when the cost of repair exceeds market value.

Connecticut

Connecticut uses a “total loss” formula where the cost of repairs plus the scrap value of the vehicle must equal or exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value. Insurers must use the NADA average and one additional approved source. Constructive total loss is when the cost to repair equals or exceeds the total value. When an insurer declares “total loss” it is considered a salvage vehicle.

Delaware

A vehicle is deemed a total loss in Delaware when the vehicle's actual cash value is equal to or less than the cost of repairs plus the salvage value. If the insurer decides that a vehicle is a total loss, it is then turned over as a “salvage vehicle.”

District of Columbia

Under District of Columbia’s law, a vehicle is deemed a “total loss” when the damage to the vehicle exceeds 75% of retail value prior to the damage. The state does not appear to observe “salvage” law

 

Florida

The state of Florida's threshold is 80% percent. This means if the damage to repair a vehicle exceeds 80% of the actual cash value of the vehicle prior to the accident, it will be considered a total loss. “Total Loss” is when a salvage title is required and “salvage” means:

For Insured Vehicle: The insurer pays the owner to replace the vehicle with one of like kind or when the insurer pays upon vehicle theft.

For Uninsured Vehicle: The repair costs at the time of loss, is 80% or more of the cost of replacing the damaged motor vehicle with one of like kind. If the actual cost to repair exceeds 100% of the replacement cost, the vehicle must be branded a "total loss" vehicle. Thus, a vehicle can be repaired up to 100% of ACV before branding of title is required by statute. The “80%” means that if the cost to repair a damaged vehicle is 80% of its value or more, then if the vehicle is declared a total loss by the insurer, the salvage title returned on the salvage will be a “Certificate of Destruction” in the insurer’s name and not eligible to be rebuilt.

Georgia 

A vehicle is considered a total loss in Georgia when the vehicle’s actual cash value is equal to or less than the cost of repairs plus the salvage value. Actual cash value refers to how much the car was worth immediately before the damage, while the “salvage” value is the vehicle’s worth in its damaged state. If restoring the vehicle to its operable condition requires two or more major component parts replacement, it is considered damaged.

 

Hawaii

In Hawaii, the insurer decides if a vehicle can still be repaired or is a total loss, which means it must have material damage to its frame, unitized structure, or suspension system and the damage repair costs exceeds its market value. 

Idaho

Idaho considers a vehicle a “total loss” if the cost of parts and labor less the salvage value makes it too expensive to repair.

 

Illinois

In Illinois, the insurer decides when a vehicle is considered salvage or total loss. The damage must not be from hail or a vehicle is not 9 years or older. A vehicle is a “salvage” when the insurer makes a total loss payment.

  

Indiana

Indiana considers a vehicle “total loss” when the cost of repairs plus the salvage value is at least 70% of the vehicle's actual cash value. Actual cash value refers to how much the car was worth immediately before the damage, while the salvage value is the car's worth in its damaged state.

Iowa

Iowa defines a “wrecked or salvage vehicle” as one “for which the cost of repair exceeds 70% of the fair market value of the vehicle.” If the vehicle repair cost is greater than 70% of ACV then the vehicle must have a damage disclosure on the title and it becomes a “wrecked or salvage vehicle.” The carrier decides at what point they will consider a vehicle to be a total loss.

  

Kansas

A vehicle is regarded as a "total loss" in Kansas when the cost of repairs plus the salvage value is at least 75% of the vehicle's actual cash value.

  

Kentucky

Kentucky considers a vehicle "total loss" when the cost of parts and labor to rebuild the vehicle to its pre-accident condition exceeds 75% as set forth in the NADA price guide.

  

Louisiana

In Louisiana, an insurer has the right to deem a vehicle "total loss" if the cost to fix the damage is 75% of the vehicle's market value as determined by the most current National Automobile Dealers Association Handbook (revised statute 32:702).

 

Maine

A vehicle is deemed a “salvage” in Maine when the insurer declares it a total loss or salvage title is issued. The owner determines it has no marketable value and transfers the vehicle to the insurer due to damage.

 

Maryland

In Maryland, a vehicle is considered a "total loss" when the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds 75% of the fair market value.

 

Massachusetts

One of several states that don’t operate on the percentage rule is Massachusetts where the total loss threshold of the vehicle is determined using this formula: If the cost of repairs plus the amount the insured will get at the junkyard for scraps equals or exceeds the car’s value pre-accident, the vehicle is considered a "total loss".

Michigan

In Michigan, if the vehicle’s cost of repair including parts and labor, is between 75% and 91% of the actual cash value, then a “salvage” title is given. It is then considered a “distressed vehicle.”

 

Minnesota

Minnesota defines “total loss” when the vehicle’s cost of repairs plus the salvage value is at least 80% of its actual cash value or when damage to a late model vehicle (newer than 6-year old) or high-value vehicle (over $5,000) exceeds 80% of its actual cash value.  

Mississippi

The “total loss” formula is observed in Mississippi. The vehicle cannot be more than 10yrs old and should have a value of less than $1,500, or has damage that requires a replacement of five or more minor component parts.  

 

Missouri

A vehicle is considered a total loss in Missouri if it is less than 6 years old and if the damage exceeds 80% of the fair market value.

  

Montana

In Montana, the insurer decides if the vehicle is a total loss. It is a “salvage vehicle” if the insurer determines it is too expensive to repair, considering parts and labor.

 

Nebraska

Nebraska’s total loss threshold is 75%. This means that if the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds 75% of the cost to replace the vehicle based on its current market value, the vehicle will be declared a “total loss”.

 

Nevada

The threshold is 65% in Nevada, which is among the lowest in all of America. It means that Nevada has some of the highest rates of totaled vehicles.

New Hampshire

A car is considered a total loss in New Hampshire when the cost for vehicle repairs plus the salvage value is at 75% more of its fair market value prior to being damaged. 

New Jersey

Insurers in New Jersey determine if the vehicle is uneconomical to repair or if the cost of repairs is higher than its fair market value.  

New Mexico

The “total Loss” formula is observed in New Mexico, which means a car is totaled when the vehicle's actual cash value is equal to or less than the cost of repairs plus the salvage value. Insurers decide if it costs more to repair the vehicle than what it is worth.

  

New York

New York considers a vehicle “total loss” when the repair cost of a vehicle made in 1973 or older is 75% or more of its retail value prior to being damaged.

  

North Carolina

North Carolina deems a vehicle a total loss if its repair cost is 75% or more of its fair market value prior to being damaged. Any vehicle totaled by an insurer must have a title and registration card marked “Total Loss Claim.” 

North Dakota

In North Dakota, a vehicle is considered “total loss” if vehicle damage exceeds 75% of its retail value as determined by NADA. It does not include glass and hail damage.

 

Ohio

The “total loss” formula is observed in Ohio. The insurers decide if it is uneconomical to repair the vehicle.

 

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s total loss threshold is 60% of the vehicle’s fair market value. In other words, if the insurer determines that the vehicle needs repairs that are more than 60% of the actual cash value, the state allows the insurer to total it.  

Oregon

In Oregon, a vehicle is regarded as a “total loss” if the damage is equal to or more than 80% of its retail market value.  

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania considers a vehicle “total loss” if the extent of its repairs would exceed the value of the repaired vehicle. Antique or classic vehicles are excluded. 

Rhode Island

It is considered a “total loss” in Rhode Island if the vehicle’s repair cost exceeds 75% of the fair market value of the vehicle immediately preceding the accident.  

South Carolina

South Carolina’s threshold is 75%. It means that if the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds 75% of its fair market value, the vehicle is deemed a “total loss”. 

South Dakota

In South Dakota, the insurer or self-insurer determines a “total loss”.

 

Tennessee

A vehicle is considered a "total loss" in Tennessee if the repair estimate exceeds 75% of the retail market value as determined by the current published retail costs.   

Texas

Texas considers a vehicle “total loss” when the cost of repairs plus the salvage value is at least 100% of the vehicle's fair market value. The adjusted costs of repair do not include materials and labor for repainting the vehicle and sales tax. If the total cost of repairs exceeds the actual cash value, then it is considered a salvage vehicle. When an insured vehicle is so damaged that it would cost more to repair than to replace, it is usually considered a total loss.

  

Utah

In Utah, the insurer decides whether a vehicle can still be repaired or not, or if two or more major components suffer major damage.  

Vermont

Vermont follows the “total loss” formula where the insurer has the authority to decide whether a vehicle (less than 10 yrs. old) is declared a total loss.

 

Virginia

Virginia laws use a 75% threshold to determine total loss. Specifically, if the cost to repair a late model vehicle exceeds 75% of the actual cash value prior to the vehicle being damaged, then a “salvage” certificate is issued.

 

Washington

Washington follows a “total loss” formula where the insurer determines whether the cost of parts and labor plus salvage value is more expensive than the actual cost value of the vehicle. The vehicle must be more than 6 yrs. old. Other factors to consider in determining total loss is the existence of a biohazard or a death in the vehicle resulting from the loss.  

West Virginia

A vehicle is deemed a “total loss” in West Virginia when the cost to repair the vehicle is greater than 75% of its fair market value as determined by a nationally accepted used car value guide. 

 

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a vehicle less than 7 years old will be considered a “salvage” vehicle if the damage exceeds 70% of its fair market value. This only applies if the vehicle is damaged by a collision or other occurrence to the extent that the estimated or actual cost, whichever is greater, of repairing the vehicle exceeds 30% of its fair market value and was transferred to an insurer upon payment of an insurance claim.

 

Wyoming

For a vehicle to be considered a “total loss” in Wyoming, the cost to rebuild and parts should exceed 75% of the actual cash value of the vehicle.