CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

VIN Check Showing Car as Total Loss

Hi There, I am seeking any possible help for a situation I am in. In December, I was in an accident. I was not at fault. I allowed my insurance company to handle to repairs through one of their approved shops as the insurance company then guarantees the repairs. It was a significant amount of damage–$7,200 in repairs in a car that sells for about $11,500 in my area. I ran a VIN check on my car last week and found that it is recorded as “VEHICLE REPORTED AS TOTAL LOSS VEHICLE LOSS CAUSED BY COLLISION.” It gives the correct date of the accident and cause. However, the car is repaired and sitting in my garage. My insurance company is insisting that they did not report the car as totaled. I don’t know who else could have, but now I am in the position of having a car that has been reported as a total loss even though it was repaired (and I was not compensated for total loss). Can anyone here give me guidance? Perhaps if someone knows who reports this kind of information to companies like CarFax and AutoCheck? I have no idea what to do. Thank you to anyone willing to chime in.

CarFakes strikes again.
Write them. Check their website to find out where to forward the letter.
Unfortunately, they’re a private independent company with disclaimers on everything they do. Other than outright fraud, which the victim has the burden of proving, they’re totally uncontrolled. They’re like a credit rating company totally without any controls whatsoever.

Perhaps a lawyer could help. Perhaps a formal complaint to your state’s attorney general’s office for consumer protection.

These businesses are scams, farces, very dangerous business that show truly junked cars as okay and show good cars as junked. Their data is horribly inaccurate.

You should know also that their information has absolutely zero legal impact. None. Nada. Zip.
They can, however, affect your tradein value, so you may want to attempt to get their data corrected.

Good luck.

Statutes and policies will vary by state but here in OK if the repair costs meet or exceed 60% of the actual value of a vehicle it can be branded a total loss. Actual value means just that; not the average of what a similar car sells for on the car lots and which is higher than actual.

Any reporting would have been done by your insurance company, the repair shop, or possibly the other party’s insurance carrier.

Around here the car would be a total and there’s nothing can be done about it. You might check the statutes/policies in your state in regards to the numbers on total loss but based on those numbers you provided I’d say that it’s a loss and you will have to live with it; short of litigation.

Ask your state DVM if the TITLE is now stamped “Salvage Vehicle” or “Reconstructed Vehicle”…If your title is still clean, go after whoever is listing the VIN as a totaled car…

However, if the STATE lists this car as “Salvage” then there is more to this story…Do YOU own the car or is it financed? Another pathway to damnation…

It’s stated that those cars (?) sell for about 11500 in their area. That means the real world value is probably in the 9-10 range assuming it has decent miles and is in very good condition.
The thought of over 7 grand in repairs on a 9-10 car is hard to swallow unless it has a herd of airbags and they all went off and the body damage is not so bad… :slight_smile:

Don’t they have a certain percentage of value where the vehicle is declared totaled, regardless of it still being on the road? If the blue book value is $11500, then $7200 is roughly 63% of the value of the car.

Yes, if a certain percentage of value is exceeded, the vehicle is declared a total loss

It’s natural for people to try and hide the fact that the car has been in a major accident…Because once the word “totaled” is attached to a VIN, the vehicles value is cut in half if not more…If you keep the car a long time, it makes no difference…But if you try to sell or trade it, you will take a big hit…

Was it AutoCheck? I’ve seen them make this sort of mistake mistake before. The ACCIDENT itself was part of the public record that both VIN checking companies have access to. No one at the accident scene would have the authority to call your car a “total loss”. It pretty much had to involve someone’s insurance company, perhaps the other guy’s after yours subrogated against them. In any case, I have no idea how to fix it.

I had a car totaled 3 1/2 years ago, my insurance company in NY State informed me that it was totaled because it exceeded 75% of the value. I have no complints, they paid me 50% I what I bought it new for 7 1/2 years earlier.

Sounds like that crash caused structural damage. That is something I, as a buyer, would want to know! It seems you are trying to hide this major crash.

@ idiot666 I do not see in the OP’s post where they are concealing any facts . They just want to know why a record site shows their vehicle totaled . Unless you really know they are trying to hide something how about editing your post.

If the vehicle was totaled then the insurance would NOT have paid to have it repaired. The owner would take a settlement check from the insurance company and then buy the vehicle back from the insurance company and then get it repaired or just buy another vehicle.