Collision Repair Tips for When Your Car Is Damaged Just Below the Salvage Threshold

When you get involved in an accident, you want your car repaired as quickly as possible so that you can get on with your life. Rarely do you expect to have to let go of your car to buy another car. Such a move, if unexpected, can cause you emotional stress and mess up your finances.

When Your Car Is Totalled

If your car is severely damaged, your insurer may label it totaled. This happens if the cost of repair and parts reaches or exceeds a certain threshold in relation to the value of the car. This value changes from state to state but is typically in the range of 65-80% of the value of the car.

Once declared totaled, your insurer pays you the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the car. The car then acquires the title "salvage". They will then take ownership of the car and dispose of it. You have the option of accepting your insurer's decision to total the car. Alternatively, you can dispute your insurer's decision to total your car. The trick lies in either showing proof that the value of the car is higher than documented by the insurer or that the cost of repair is less.

Severe Damage

In some cases, your car may not be totaled but it may be severely damaged. You will be required to provide your insurer with repair estimates before they can decide whether to go ahead with repairs. If the cost of repair is almost equal to the value of the car before the accident, the insurer may declare it totaled. You have three options: repair the car, keep it without repairing it, or sell the parts.


You have to keep the cost of repair low to avoid having the car totaled. How do you keep auto body repair costs low without compromising on the quality of repairs?    

  • Use manufacturer's guidelines such as ALLDATA to ensure safety is not compromised.    
  • Have the vehicle inspected after the repair to ensure it was properly done.    
  • Pay attention to parts used in your car. Be on the look-out for salvage parts. Use new parts from a dealership.

Collision repair for a severely damaged car is a delicate operation. Not any mechanic can pull it off. Worse, if not properly done, it can put you and your passengers in grave danger. Ensure it is done right by services such as High Point Body & Paint.