Total loss

When an accident causes extensive or costly damage to your vehicle, we may determine it’s not practical to complete repairs (this usually means that repairs cost more than the actual cash value of your vehicle). If this is the case, your car is determined a total loss, and we issue you and/or your lienholder payment for the value of your car (minus your deductible if you’re a Progressive policyholder). We need to complete an inspection of your vehicle before we can determine the value and whether it’s a total loss.

We know this experience can be stressful—and in some cases emotional. If you have a total loss, we manage the process for you and answer any questions you have along the way. Here are a few of the most common questions.

What is a total loss?

Generally, a vehicle is a total loss when the cost to return it to its pre-loss condition is greater than the value of the vehicle. And, in some states, a vehicle may be a total loss if the repair costs would exceed a percentage (e.g., 80%) of the vehicle’s value.

To determine the vehicle’s value, and in accordance with any applicable state laws, we review the mileage, options, and condition of your vehicle against the current values of comparable vehicles.

Is there anything I can do now to prepare in the event my car is determined a total loss?

Yes, see the list below. Don’t make any final decisions or plans until we complete an inspection of your car and communicate whether your car is a total loss.

  • If you have a loan on your car, locate the paperwork that shows who holds the loan, the account number, and the lender’s contact information.
  • If you don’t have a loan on your car, locate your title.
  • Remove personal items from your vehicle, including license plates.
  • If you plan to purchase a replacement vehicle in the event your vehicle is a total loss, begin researching your options and contact your lender to discuss financing. If you need help finding a replacement car (new or used), you can use Progressive’s free car shopping service.

How much will I get for my vehicle?

We pay you its actual cash value — which is the market value of your vehicle based upon several factors, such as its pre-loss condition, age, options, mileage, etc. — minus any applicable deductible if you’re Progressive insured. We work with a third-party to help determine the actual cash value. Then, we give the payment to you/the vehicle owner, your lender, or both.

What paperwork do you need before you can issue my payment?

We need to obtain the physical title, and have you fill out the necessary fields (including the odometer disclosure statement) and sign the title. If a lender holds the title, we get the title from them after you fill out and sign a Power of Attorney and odometer disclosure statement (we send this to you as well). Keep in mind, there may be additional/differing state requirements.

Will I still owe money on my loan or lease?

You might still owe money on your loan or lease if the actual cash value of your vehicle is less than what you owe. If you have Loan/Lease Payoff (or gap) coverage through Progressive, it helps pay off the difference up to the available policy limits listed on your declaration page. You may also have separately purchased gap coverage through your dealer or another insurer.

What happens to my vehicle?

You have the option to retain your vehicle salvage or transfer the title to us once we pay your claim. If you transfer the vehicle, we dispose of your totaled car and comply with the appropriate laws or regulations.

Can I get a rental car?

If you’re a Progressive policyholder, and you have rental coverage on your policy, we cover the cost of a rental vehicle for up to three days (after we let you know the value of your vehicle). If you’re not a Progressive policyholder, your claims rep explains the rental process.

Will my Progressive insurance be automatically cancelled or transferred to my replacement vehicle?

No, you need to log in to your online account, call us, or call your agent to remove this vehicle from your policy. If you buy a replacement vehicle, you need to add it to your policy within 30 days of becoming the owner.