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How Does GEICO Pay a Total Loss Car Insurance Claim?

Experiencing a total loss car insurance claim can be a stressful and overwhelming situation for any driver. If you are insured with GEICO and find yourself in this unfortunate scenario, understanding how GEICO handles total loss claims can help ease the process and provide clarity on the compensation you may receive. In this article, we explore the steps GEICO takes to settle a total loss car insurance claim and the factors that can influence the final payout.

Step 1: Reporting the Claim

The first step in the total loss claim process is to report the accident and the extent of the damage to GEICO. You can do this by calling the GEICO claims department or filing the claim online through their website. Provide all the necessary details, including the date and location of the accident, a description of what happened, and the contact information of any other parties involved.

Step 2: Damage Assessment

After receiving your claim, GEICO will assign an insurance adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle. The adjuster will typically inspect the car in person, or in some cases, they may request photographs or video footage of the damage. They will also evaluate the car’s pre-accident value based on factors such as its age, mileage, condition, and market value.

Step 3: Declaration of Total Loss

If the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds a certain percentage of its pre-accident value (often around 70-80%), the car will be declared a total loss. In such cases, the insurance company determines that it is more cost-effective to pay the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) rather than covering the repair expenses.

Step 4: Actual Cash Value (ACV) Calculation

GEICO calculates the actual cash value of your totaled vehicle based on various factors, including its pre-accident condition, mileage, age, make, model, and market demand for similar vehicles. The ACV is the amount the car would have been worth if it had not been in the accident. In most cases, GEICO will use market data and third-party resources to arrive at a fair and objective ACV.

Step 5: Deductibles and Taxes

If you have collision coverage, your deductible will apply to the total loss claim. The deductible amount will be subtracted from the ACV, and the remaining sum will be the actual payout you receive from GEICO. Additionally, be aware that some states may charge sales tax on the total loss settlement amount, which will further reduce your final payout.

Step 6: Title Transfer and Salvage Option

If GEICO pays you the ACV for your totaled vehicle, they will typically take possession of the car and handle the title transfer. In some cases, you may have the option to retain the salvaged vehicle by buying it back from GEICO at a reduced price. However, be aware that retaining a salvaged vehicle may come with certain restrictions, such as limited coverage in the future.


Experiencing a total loss car insurance claim is a significant event that requires careful handling. Understanding the steps GEICO takes to settle such claims can provide you with valuable insights into the process and the factors that influence your final payout.

If you find yourself in a total loss situation, promptly report the claim to GEICO and cooperate with their insurance adjuster during the damage assessment. Knowing your vehicle’s actual cash value and the potential impact of deductibles and taxes will help you prepare for the final settlement amount.

While a total loss claim can be disheartening, having comprehensive car insurance coverage, like GEICO provides, can offer financial protection and peace of mind during challenging times.

Negotiating the Total Loss Settlement

In some cases, you may feel that the initial settlement offered by GEICO does not adequately reflect the true value of your totaled vehicle. If you believe that the actual cash value assessment is inaccurate or unfair, you have the right to negotiate with the insurance company.

Before entering negotiations, gather evidence to support your case. Research comparable vehicles in your area to demonstrate that the ACV provided by GEICO is below the market value. Obtain quotes from reputable dealers or private sellers to back up your claim.

Engage in a respectful and professional dialogue with the GEICO claims adjuster. Present your evidence and make a reasonable counteroffer. Be prepared for a back-and-forth negotiation process, and remain patient throughout.

Keep in mind that GEICO is generally open to a fair negotiation, as their goal is to provide a satisfactory resolution to their customers. However, be realistic in your expectations and be willing to compromise if necessary.

Salvage Title Considerations

If you choose to retain the salvaged vehicle, GEICO will issue a “salvage title” for the car. A salvage title indicates that the vehicle has been declared a total loss by the insurance company due to extensive damage.

While retaining a salvaged vehicle can be cost-effective, it may come with challenges. Insurance coverage for vehicles with salvage titles is often limited, and some insurance companies may refuse to provide coverage altogether. Additionally, selling or trading in a vehicle with a salvage title can be more challenging, as potential buyers or dealers may be wary of its history.

Before deciding to keep the salvaged vehicle, consider the potential costs and limitations associated with its future use and resale value.

Total Loss Assistance

Experiencing a total loss car insurance claim can be emotionally and financially taxing. If you are unsure about the settlement process or need guidance in handling the aftermath of a total loss, consider seeking professional assistance.

Insurance professionals or attorneys with expertise in total loss claims can provide valuable advice, review settlement offers, and negotiate on your behalf. They can help ensure that you receive a fair and just compensation for your totaled vehicle.


Experiencing a total loss car insurance claim is a significant event that requires careful navigation. Understanding how GEICO settles total loss claims, including the factors influencing the actual cash value calculation, can empower you during the claims process.

Promptly report the claim to GEICO and cooperate with their insurance adjuster during the assessment. If you are dissatisfied with the initial settlement offer, consider negotiating with the insurance company and presenting evidence to support your case.

Deciding whether to retain the salvaged vehicle or accept the settlement payout requires careful consideration of the vehicle’s value and future implications.

Ultimately, having comprehensive car insurance coverage with a reputable insurer like GEICO provides financial protection and peace of mind, ensuring that you are prepared for unexpected events on the road.

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