Total Loss of Your Vehicle | Capital One Help Center (2024)

Learn how a total loss claim works and the next steps to take.

Terms you may hear related to total loss

  • ​Total Loss / Totaled - ​A total loss occurs when an insurance company determines that the costs to repair a vehicle (due to damages) are greater than a certain percentage of the vehicle’s Actual Cash Value (ACV).

  • ​Actual Cash Value (ACV) / Market value - ​Actual cash value (ACV) is the standard that insurance companies prefer when reimbursing policyholders for their losses.

    • Actual cash value is equal to the replacement cost minus any depreciation.

  • Salvage value / Scrap value - The estimated value of the vehicle if it was sold to a salvage yard. After the claim has been completed the insurance company will sell the totaled car to a salvage yard. The salvage yard will sell the parts from the totaled vehicle.

  • ​Replacement Cost - ​The cost to replace the vehicle on the same premises with other property of comparable material and quality used for the same purpose.

  • Power of Attorney (POA) - This enables the insurance company to file relevant paperwork to transfer the title to them on behalf of you.

  • ​Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) - ​If the vehicle is deemed a total loss, GAP will pay the difference between the ACV of the vehicle and the outstanding contractual balance of the loan (with potential deductions such as missed payments, prior damage, etc.).

  • ​Backend Contracts (warranty, etch, tire/wheel, key, credit life, etc.) - ​A contract that covers specific items for the vehicle or loan and is serviced by a third party. You would have purchased this at the dealership at the time of funding your loan.

Your insurance company gets the final say

The insurance company will determine if your vehicle is a total loss.

To complete your claim and ensure the insurance settlement payment is issued timely, you will need to work closely with the insurance company. The insurance company will need some documents from you. Receiving the settlement payment quickly will help minimize the interest on your loan.

What to do after your vehicle is declared a total loss

If a total loss has occurred, you’ll need to have the insurance company contact your lender and provide complete insurance claim information. We encourage you to reach out to the provider as soon as possible to determine what documentation will be needed to process the claim.

For Capital One Auto Finance customers, please have the insurance company call Customer Service at 1-800-946-0332.

Title requirements

There will be documents you must provide to the insurance company. We will exchange some documents with them too.

If you live in a “title holding state” then you must provide the physical paper title to the insurance company.

If you do not live in a “title holding state” then the insurance company may request you sign a power of attorney (POA). This will allow the insurance company to transfer the title.

We will provide a copy of the title paperwork we have on file to the insurance company. This helps them confirm we are the lien holder listed on the title.

How your car payment works after total loss

You owe the remaining balance of your loan until it is paid in full. The insurance settlement check will be applied toward the balance of your loan. The insurance settlement amount is based on the actual cash value (ACV) determined by the insurance company. The determination of the insurance settlement does not consider the balance of your loan.

To ensure your account remains in good standing, continue making your monthly payments in accordance with your contract. Your account status may be reported to the credit bureaus at the end of each month until your account is paid in full. If there is an overpayment on the account, the overage will be refunded to you. If you are enrolled in automatic payments, we will not cancel them unless requested by you.

How to make a payment

Visit online:

Making an online payment is quick and easy. Sign in to your online account or use our mobile app and select Make a Payment. From there, you'll be able to make a one-time payment, schedule recurring payments or pay off your loan. If you haven’t already, connect to a payment account using your bank account and routing numbers.

Pay by phone: 1-800-946-0332

Pay by mail:
Capital One Auto Finance
PO BOX 60511
City of Industry, CA 91716-0511

What to expect with GAP coverage

Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) is designed to help you with the remaining balance if the insurance proceeds did not pay your loan in full.

The insurance company determines the Actual Cash Value (ACV) or market value of your vehicle, which is applied to your loan balance. GAP is to help pay the difference between the ACV and the remaining loan balance.

Keep in mind, your GAP agreement may have exclusions and may not cover the full deficiency balance. GAP policies typically do not cover missed payments, fees or interest that has accrued due to late payments. We recommend that you carefully review your GAP agreement, specifically the description of how your total loss benefit is calculated.

How to file a GAP claim

Please refer to your GAP policy for specific information on coverage and how to file a claim. If you cannot locate the GAP policy you purchased from the dealer, please contact the dealer directly to obtain a copy. You can also give us a call at 1-800-946-0332.

The GAP provider will need some documents from you, so please contact your GAP provider early to start the claim. The GAP provider's information will be on the GAP contract within the documents you received from the dealership during funding.

If you are a Capital One Auto Finance customer with GAP, we will file the GAP claim and will work with you to obtain any documents needed. You will need to keep in touch with the GAP provider to ensure the claim is finalized.

How an extended warranty / service contract works

If you purchased an extended warranty or service contract, you may be entitled to a prorated/partial refund. If there is still a remaining balance on the loan, the prorated refund is sent to the lender to help reduce the balance.

We will attempt to contact the dealership where you bought your vehicle and request the cancellation of your extended warranty, credit life, and/or disability insurance, where applicable. You may also contact the dealership to help expedite the cancellation process.

If you are a Capital One Auto Finance customer with a warranty refund or service contract refund, we will apply the funds to the loan balance. If this results in an overpayment, you'll receive a refund in the mail after your payoff.

If you want to keep your totaled vehicle

The insurance company will still need to report the total loss to us.

Owner retain(ed) salvage / owner retained vehicle - Owner retained salvage means that you want to keep the totaled vehicle and are accepting a reduced settlement amount from the insurance company.

If you are considering keeping possession of the vehicle, the insurance company may reduce the insurance settlement offered by the value of the salvage value / scrap value. The salvage amount is the estimated value of the vehicle if it was sold to a salvage yard. The insurance agent handling your claim can provide you the amount they will pay if you choose to retain the vehicle.

If your settlement offer is less than your remaining loan balance, you will be required to pay the difference before we can accept the insurance check. Once you make this payment, we will send documentation to the insurance company confirming the acceptance of the reduced settlement amount so they can issue payment. We will contact you if any additional information is needed.

Before choosing to retain your vehicle, please consider the following:

  1. Check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles and your primary insurance company concerning the requirements associated with title, registration, inspection and insurance coverage of the salvaged vehicle.

  2. If you have GAP coverage, your GAP provider may not cover the amount your insurance company deducted for the salvage value. Please contact your GAP provider for policy details.

  3. Total loss proceeds cannot be used to repair the vehicle.

We recognize that dealing with a total loss vehicle may be stressful, and we’re here to do what we can to support you while you navigate through the paperwork and logistics. If you have any other questions, you can reach out to our customer service at 1-800-946-0332.

Total Loss of Your Vehicle | Capital One Help Center (2024)
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