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 your vehicle is worth). If this is the case, your car would be determined a Total Loss, and we'd issue you or your lienholder payment for the value of your car (subtracted by your deductible if you're a Progressive policyholder). We generally need to complete an inspection of your vehicle before we can determine 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'll 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 percent) of the vehicle's value.

We consider many things—in addition to comparing the cost to fix your vehicle with how much it's worth—when determining whether it is a total loss. For example, we also look at the condition and structural integrity of the vehicle and/or state laws.

Is there anything I can do now to prepare in the event my car is determined to be a Total Loss?

Yes—see the checklist 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 shopping service.

How much will I get for my vehicle?

We'll pay you its actual cash value (ACV)—which is simply the market value of your vehicle based on pre-loss condition, age, options, mileage, etc.—minus any applicable collision or comprehensive deductible. We work with a third-party to help determine the actual cash value. Then, we'll give the payment to you/the vehicle owner, your lender or both.

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

We'll need to obtain the physical title, and we'll send a federal odometer disclosure statement for you to fill out. If a lender holds the title, we'll get the title from them, and you'll just need to sign a Power of Attorney (we'll 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, this will help pay off the difference. Your gap coverage payment will be subtracted by any applicable comprehensive or collision deductible.

What happens to my vehicle?

Generally, you'll transfer the title to us once we pay your claim. We'll then dispose of your totaled car (also called a salvaged vehicle), and of course, we'll 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'll cover the cost of a rental vehicle for up to three days (after we've let you know the value of your vehicle). If you're not a Progressive policyholder your claim rep will explain the rental process.

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

No, you'll 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'll need add it to your policy as well. We'll mail you a reminder to make this policy change.