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Recent Accident | Huge total loss issues

by Maafi

I have great coverage with AAA. Last night my 19 year old smashed my 1996 Chevy Suburban in an accident with a barrier trying to avoid highway debris. Everyone is OK, thank goodness. No other cars involved or anything.

The car has sustained what seems like major damage to the front right side: bumper and grill smashed back, bumper into right front tire, right pull hook in front sheared off, grill pushed into radiator, right fender totally crunched and all lights on that side just crackled up, body damage on that side, hood misaligned, tire won't turn and looks like some crunching happened to frame underneath front end.

The car has 135,000 miles on it. Blue book for the car (fair condition) is at most $3500. I wouldn't mind it being totaled out so I can get another 1996 - 1999 same make and model.

Question: What goes into the "totaled out" equation? Does that sound like too much damage to fix for that car? What can i most likely expect? Looking forward to hearing from you and thank you so much for your expertise and time. It is appreciated.


Hello Maafi

The total loss process has a few kinks. Usually insurance companies declare a total loss when the cost to repair the vehicle reaches “70, 80, or even 90%” of the fair market value of the car. When looking at fair market value, the insurance company will not look at Kelley Blue Book or NADA guides. They will look at actual prices in your local market.

There are ways to improve your settlement, depending on if you want to keep your Suburban and what your state allows you to do. For more information about total loss, please visit:

Car Total Loss

Good Luck,

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