Back in the day when you got into an accident, your car had to be really messed up for the insurance company to declare it to be totaled. Usually a car is considered totaled when the costs to repair damages is greater than the replacement cost of the entire car. So why is your new car more likely to be totaled after an accident today, than it would have been a few years ago?
It all comes down to the price of parts and materials. Years ago, cars were much simpler and therefore the replacement parts for them were cheaper. Auto body and paint repairs were mostly a matter pounding out dents and replacing a bent bumper. Replacing a radiator and some stainless-steel moldings was a typical repair job. The cost of labor was more of a factor than it is today.
Today, cars are safer by virtue of all the electronic and computerized safety features that are now included in most new cars. But all these new safety features are extremely expensive to replace. Monitors, sensors and cameras can cost thousands to replace. Airbags and related parts can also be prohibitively expensive to replace after a collision.
Excluding all the electronics and computers, the cost of body replacement parts has also increased significantly. The price of materials for paint and body repairs have also increased, and finally, the cost of labor has gone up.
All this is increasing the number of cars being totaled after crashes.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for motor vehicle repairs were 61.07 percent higher in 2017 than they were in 2000.
New car models are safer now than ever before and should lessen your chances of getting into a car crash. Just remember if the time ever comes that you are involved in a crash, your car may be totaled, even if it looks repairable to you.