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How do I find out the cash value of my car?


Determining your car's worth is somewhat like an insurance company calculating a vehicle's actual cash value (ACV) after a total loss. To valuate your vehicle you need to determine what amount you could get if you were to trade in or sell your vehicle at this point in time.

You can also visit some sites that allow you to find your cars estimated actual cash value:

You can use valuation tools such as these which give you trade in values, retail values and private party values typically. To get the most accurate idea of what your vehicle is worth put in what options your car has, the mileage and basic condition. If you are trying to determine how much an insurance company will offer you as a settlement for ACV then Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com) notes that insurance company policies vary quite a bit, but generally insurance adjusters try to determine the replacement value for a vehicle that has been totaled as a value somewhere between Wholesale and Retail.

KBB goes on to state that insurance companies also research comparable vehicles that have sold in your area to help determine a fair price. You could average the Trade-In Value with the Suggested Retail of your vehicle and use the resulting value as a reference point for determining replacement value.

Just as KBB suggests, beyond these valuation guides you can look at how much a vehicle in your condition and mileage is selling for in the local car market. Sites such as Autotrader might help you in this task.

If you are wondering how insurance companies determine ACV then it can be difficult since insurance carrier's methods vary. The typical ways in which the claims adjuster will calculate the actual cash value are: comparing your vehicle to local sales of the same model car in similar condition and with similar mileage, blue book or Nada guide values and/or a computerized evaluation process.

Use our insurance coverage calculator if you are trying to determine what insurance types and coverages are best for you and your current vehicle.


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1 Responses to "How do I find out the cash value of my car?"
  1. Anonymous

    It is straight forward and gives me something to reference when I go in to negotiate with the claims adjuster.