Can you repair a totaled car?

Can you repair a totaled car?

Yes, you can repair a totaled car.

However, a better question is should you repair a totaled car?

You always have options for what happens to your car, truck, van, or SUV after an accident. Your choices will probably be different for a daily driver than for a classic or unique vehicle. In this article, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of choosing to repair a vehicle after an insurance company tells you it is totaled.

We rarely repair a totaled car. That’s because the amount of time and money you’ll need to get the car safely back on the road is a lot more than the insurance payout. The only totaled cars we will restore are classic or one-of-a-kind vehicles which cannot be replaced.

What’s a totaled car?

Photo of the back of a severely damaged white GMC SUV as an example of deciding whether or not to repair a totaled car.

Photo of the back of a severely damaged white GMC SUV as an example of deciding whether or not to repair a totaled car.

A totaled car is one where the repair costs will exceed a percentage of the car’s market value.

In North Carolina, where our auto body collision repair shop is located, the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) website lists this percentage as 75%:

If a motor vehicle is damaged, to the extent that the total cost of repair is equal to or exceeds 75 percent of the pre-accident actual cash value (ACV), the insurer shall consider the vehicle a total loss.

When your car is totaled, the insurance company is responsible for its ACV. ACV represents the local market value of the totaled vehicle.

As part of an estimate and repair, a qualified auto repair shop will look at your vehicle and inspect for hidden damage.

If your insurance carrier is on our preferred list, we can work directly them and file all the paperwork necessary for them make a decision on the claim value the insurance policy will pay after repairs are complete. If you’re paying for the car repairs yourself, the shop team will explain what they find and help you make decisions about whether or not to repair a totaled car.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) requires a “salvage” title for any car that has been totaled:

A salvaged vehicle is any motor vehicle damaged in a collision or other occurrence to the extent that the repairs (including parts and labor) to make the vehicle safe for use on public roadways would exceed 75 percent of its fair market value.

A reputable collision repair shop will follow the industry’s best practices to ensure your safety and comply with the law.

Why is it so expensive to repair a totaled car?

Vehicle accidents can result in very high repair costs to meet the NCDOT’s standard for making a vehicle safe for use again.

Most modern cars now include a lot of safety and convenience features. Some of those include lane departure systems, front and rear proximity sensors, and driver assistance systems for hands-free parking and driving. The systems you can see are just a small number of the technology these vehicles use. When you add lightweight materials like aluminum body panels and structural parts, the costs of repair can go up very quickly – even with aftermarket or acceptable salvage yard parts.

For more information, you can read more about things that affect auto collision repair costs.

When does it make sense to repair a totaled car?

What’s the most important thing in deciding to repair a totaled car? It’s not price.

It’s confidence. The auto body repair shop you choose needs to give you a safe car.

Sometimes, the cost of doing that will be higher than the amount you’ll want to pay. Getting your car back on the road safely will almost always exceed the cost of your insurance company payout. That’s why we our shop will only repair a totaled car if it is irreplaceable and you are willing to invest what is required to restore the vehicle.

If you pressure the collision repair shop to give a lower price to match the insurance payout amount, you’ll force them to choose between money and your safety in a quality repair. Most shops will work hard to answer your questions as long as you understand the are not trying to scam you.

There are many situations where it makes sense to spend the money to safely repair a car with a salvage title. For example:

  • A classic, rare, or unique car may have historic value.
  • Your family might own a vehicle that’s been handed down from one generation to another.
  • There may be other sentimental reasons to repair the car even if the cost is more than it is worth.

A reputable auto collision repair shop will be honest with you about your choices in the cost of your repair.

Why can one shop repair a totaled car when another shop will not?

You will almost always be able to find a collision repair center or auto body shop that will be willing to repair your car for the price you are willing to pay.

In most cases, the work done by an auto body repair shop that is willing to stand behind their work will likely cost a bit more than another shop that doesn’t offer a long-term warranty on their work. We aren’t automatically saying other shops cut corners (even though that’s true in lots of cases). We are saying that every shop has options in how they complete a repair.

For more than 30 years, Automotive Collision Specialists has focused on Excellence In Collision Repair. It’s not just a slogan, it’s the way we serve our customers. We work with customers to understand their options for a repair that will give them a safe and reliable vehicle. We do this for all our auto body collision repair and classic car restoration work.

Then, we stand behind our work with a limited lifetime warranty.

If you bring a totaled car to our collision repair shop for an estimate, we’ll be honest with you about the cost of the repair. If it’s not a rare or sentimental vehicle, we won’t do the repair. We’ll even tell you we don’t think it is worth it to repair the car. It’s part of our commitment to integrity as we serve our neighbors.

If you decide you’re willing to invest the money to have us perform the repair of your irreplaceable vehicle, we’ll work with you throughout the process. We’ll deliver a car you can drive with confidence.

About Automotive Collision Specialists in Fuquay Varina, NC

Automotive Collision Specialists works with select insurance companies. In North Carolina, you have the right to choose any repair shop – not the one an insurance company requires you to use.

If you’re trying to find a good auto body repair shop near you to help with decide whether or not to repair a totaled or salvage title vehicle, please give us a call. We’ve been serving neighbors in and near the local Fuquay-Varina, NC community for more than 30 years.

We’re ASE and I-CAR certified and offer a limited lifetime warranty on all the work we do. Call us today at 919-552-0333 to see how we can help!

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