Insurance brochure


What To Expect If Your Vehicle is a Total Loss

Answers to some commonly asked questions

New vehicle guarantee

If your vehicle is six months old or less and you bought it new from a dealership, we will pay you the actual amount you paid based on the original purchase invoice. We only ask that you provide us with a copy of the invoice prior to settlement.

We believe that by providing this benefit to our members, we help protect you financially from the rapid depreciation that can occur in the first few months following the purchase of a new vehicle.

How does WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company calculate the actual cash value of my vehicle?

We use a combination of methods to determine the value of your vehicle.

Book value
We determine book value using the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) Official Used Car Guide, the most widely used source of book values in the insurance and banking industries. We feel that the NADA guide accurately reflects true market values since it is more consistent with dealer surveys. When determining book value, we always use the retail price, not the trade-in or wholesale value.

Market survey
We also survey dealerships. In most instances, we obtain three “dealer quotes.” Our adjusters talk to car dealers about the kind of vehicle you have and its condition prior to the loss. We ask them what they think the vehicle would have sold for at their dealership. Most insurance companies use this method because used car dealers have the experience and knowledge to accurately assess local retail values.

Vehicle condition
The condition of your vehicle affects its retail value. Vehicles in very good condition will have a higher value than those with prior damage or excessive wear. We take this into account when we calculate the vehicle’s retail value.


The NADA Official Used Car Guide, like other valuation books, schedules specific values to be added or deducted from the retail price based on mileage.

What if I have a loan on my vehicle?

We pay your lien off directly by sending a check to your lender. Or, if you wish, we will send you a two-party check payable to you and to the lender.

What if my loan is more than the total loss amount?

Unfortunately, sometimes a vehicle depreciates more rapidly than an owner can pay it off. When this happens and the lender is a lienholder listed on your policy, we pay the lender directly in exchange for a lien release. You should contact your lender to discuss how to address any remaining balance. Many people solve this problem by refinancing the purchase of their replacement vehicle with the same lender.

Is my vehicle worth more if I’ve made recent repairs to it?

When you make repairs to keep your vehicle properly maintained and running, it does not increase the value of your vehicle. For example, if you spend $300 on new brakes, it does not add $300 to your vehicle’s value. Good maintenance, however, helps ensure your vehicle will hold its proper market value.

Can I keep my vehicle once it is declared a total loss?

When we estimate your vehicle’s actual cash value, we also estimate its salvage value by obtaining bids from salvagers. The salvager who bids the highest amount purchases the damaged vehicle. If you wish, however, you may keep the damaged vehicle, and we will deduct the amount of the highest salvage bid from your settlement.

What if we don’t come to an agreement on the total loss figure?

Fortunately, your policy has a section called “Appraisal” that provides a fair method for settling disputes. This provision allows you to hire your own appraiser who will work with our appraiser in arriving at a figure that is acceptable to all of us. Please refer to the appraisal provision on your policy.

Vehicle total loss claims can seem difficult and confusing. The following are answers to two commonly asked questions:

When is my vehicle a total loss?

Your vehicle is a total loss if:

  • The estimated repairs are equal to or greater than 70% of the vehicle’s retail market value and if your vehicle is seven model years old or less.
  • The estimated repairs are equal to or greater than retail market value and if the vehicle is more than seven model years old.

If you have further questions about total losses or any other aspect of your policy, call us at 1-800-279-4030.

WMBT 3000-290-1023 (W)

Effective October 2023. Policies and programs described are subject to change at any time.