Before any repairs are made, the damage must first be appraised.
This is done by an automobile damage appraiser who is responsible for assessing the cost based on current repair techniques. The appraiser will also take into account the options you’ve chosen under your auto insurance policy.
Based on the damage appraisal, your insurer will determine whether your vehicle can be repaired or declared a total loss
- The vehicle can be repaired:
it remains to be determined what parts (new or recycled) will be used.
- The vehicle is declared a total loss:
depending on the policy coverage chosen, your insurer will replace the vehicle or indemnify you.
- Read the documents the repair shop gives you carefully before signing them and follow the repair process closely. After all, it is your vehicle.
When is a vehicle declared a total loss?
Generally, a vehicle is declared a total loss when the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle. To do this, the insurer factors in the loss-related repairs, the vehicle’s age, its general condition and market value.
If you disagree with your insurer’s decision about the value established, you must document your file and illustrate the value of your vehicle to your insurer.
When a vehicle is declared a total loss, your insurer must give it a status, which will be registered with the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).
There are two statuses an insurer can give a vehicle it declares a total loss:
- Unrebuidable: the vehicle cannot be rebuilt, which means it cannot be repaired and made roadworthy. It can be sold for parts.
- Severely damaged vehicle: the vehicle can be rebuilt. However, it must be inspected by a SAAQ-mandated garage before it can be registered and driven again.
A flood damaged vehicle will, in most cases, be declared a total loss.
For more information, go to the SAAQ web site.