I’ve Totaled My Car in Oregon. How do I get more money for my car?

Dealing with a Totaled Car After an Accident: What You Need to Know

Car accidents can be frightening experiences, no matter how minor or severe they are. Even if you come out unscathed, the aftermath of a collision can be complex and overwhelming. One of the most common outcomes of an accident is being informed that your car has been “totaled.” However, comprehending what it means to have a totaled car and understanding your options can be perplexing.

In the next few paragraphs, we will delve into what you should do if your insurance company declares that your vehicle is totaled in Oregon. We’ll help you navigate through the process so that you can make well informed decisions about your next steps.

When a vehicle is involved in an accident, it can be categorized as either a “structural total loss” or a “financial total loss.” The former means that the car has sustained such severe damage that it is no longer deemed safe to drive. This outcome is understandable and straightforward.

However, confusion often arises when a vehicle is considered a financial total loss but can still be driven or repaired. Many people assume that being “totaled” implies that the car is irreparably damaged beyond recognition. However, this term refers to the point when the cost of repairing the damages comes close to or exceeds the Fair Market Value or FMV of the vehicle.

For instance, a car with an fair market value of $40,000 would require extensive damage before being declared totaled. In contrast, a vehicle with an fair market value of $5,000 would need much less damage to reach this status. Therefore, what constitutes a totaled car in Oregon depends on if the damage costs are more than 80 percent of the fair market value of the vehicle.

After an accident, insurance companies may undervalue your vehicle if they consider it totaled. They often try to minimize the settlement amount, which can be frustrating for car owners. Fortunately, in Oregon, you have the right to dispute the insurer’s offer if you believe that they have not accurately appraised your vehicle. In most cases, insurance companies will initially offer much less than your car’s actual worth.

In Oregon, insurers use a specific formula to determine whether a vehicle is repairable or should be considered totaled. If the cost of the repairs exceed 80 percent of the FMV, then the vehicle will be totaled. It can also be totaled due to parts availability, age of the vehicle or if the repair is so intensive that it will take too long. If this happens, you have several options available to you.

Getting a Fair Value for Your Vehicle After It’s Declared Totaled

If your vehicle is declared a total loss, the insurance company must provide you with an appraisal report. However, if you disagree with their valuation, you can hire an independent auto appraiser to conduct your assessment. Your goal will be to demonstrate that your car is worth more than what the insurer is offering.

Oregon insurance policies include an “appraisal clause” that allows you to use an independent appraiser. If this results in an increase in your settlement offer, the insurer will reimburse you for the cost of hiring the appraiser.

To ensure that you get a fair value for your vehicle, consider speaking to a certified Oregon auto appraiser like Ken Nix at Leverage Auto Appraisals. Insurance carriers often use valuations such as CCC One and Mitchell or JD Powers to justify low settlements. Hiring an Oregon Certified Auto Appraiser can also help navigate the negotiation process when dealing with aggressive insurers and advocate for you throughout the complicated settlement process involving recovering your true fair market value.

Leverage Auto Appraisals serves all of Oregon, specializing in Oregon total loss claim disputes. We provide consumers representation on auto appraisal clause disputes for total loss vehicles. Please contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (503)420-3001 an operator is standing by and we’re ready to help. WE ARE LOCATED IN OREGON. We have an office in Portland, Oregon and live in Beaverton, Oregon.

Be Aware that many appraisal companies are not actually located in Oregon and may not be licensed/certified by ODOT to appraise vehicles. Acting as an appraiser without an Oregon Certification by ODOT is a crime. Don’t be fooled.

Some appraisal companies that act like the are in Oregon , but are not actually in Oregon.

  • DVCHECK – Located in North Carolina. The guy WORKS FOR THE INSURANCE COMPANIES. DON’T BE STUPID AND HIRE SOMEONE LIKE THIS. He is not licensed in Oregon, DVCHECK aka Diminished Value Check is located at Charlotte, North Carolina and the “founder” Jim Marshall even says he used to work for Kemper and SAFECO.
  • Portland Auto Appraisers – Located in Houston, Texas, Claims he inspects every vehicle he appraises. Guess he’s flying up here on the weekends maybe?  The owner, Roy Bent is certified by The American Society of Certified Auto Appraisers (ASCAA). Which is a corporation he owns. As far as we can find, he’s not licensed in Oregon, not licensed in Texas,  BBB Complaint states: I paid membership dues to be able to get the school criteria, which I also paid for the complete course for certification. Now I’m unable to contact. I’ve paid 2 years of membership while completing a certification course which was also paid in full and now I’m unable to contact the business, all emails come back non deliverable? I’ve received nothing as far correspondence from the ascaa indicating they are out of business.
  • Total Loss Auto Appraisals AKA Appraisal Engine on their other web site– Owned by Appraisal Engine out of Georgia. Their web site states: EugeneOregon Total Loss – Totaled Vehicle Appraisal Service. Looking for a licensed car appraiser in or around the Eugene, Oregon area? Look no further. Although they’re not where near Eugene, Oregon or even the Pacific Coast states for that matter.
  • Ready To Appraise. They’re from Fresno, California.
  • Sun Auto Appraisers – You do realize they’re going to take a percent of your claim don’t you? They’re also out of Plant City, Florida. So I’m sure they know all about our used car market. End up paying them $2,000 on your claim? Not going to see that as a reimbursement from your insurance company.



Why Choose Leverage Auto Appraisals to Fight For You?

By Oregon Law, you are entitled to dispute the value your insurance company has offered you if you feel it is lower than it should be. Your insurance company must work in good faith to settle your total loss claim. The appraisal clause in your insurance policy is your best defense against lowball offers. Most insurance companies use a 3rd party valuation service such as CCC ONE, Mitchell, JD Powers, or Audatex, and will normally not go over what that valuation states your vehicle is worth.

But, the truth is the valuation may be riddled with mistakes since it is a calculated value based on a machine alone. It’s not uncommon to see comparables with 50,000 more miles than your vehicle being adjusted thousands of dollars compared to your lower mileage vehicle to devalue your vehicle. If you see the same condition adjustment on all of their comparables, you’re probably being taken advantage of and should contact us immediately.

Oregon Certified Appraiser

When Hiring an Auto Appraiser, make sure they are certified by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Otherwise, the appraisal may not be considered credible. Ken Nix an Oregon certified and licensed auto appraiser. #V34-075

Credible Automotive Experience

Ken Nix has 12+  years experience negotiating total loss claims against insurance companies, with over 40 years of  automotive and expert negotiating experience. He knows the vehicles, which is one of the biggest problems with the industry. So many auto appraisers are ex-body shop estimators or ex-insurance adjusters with no previous experience evaluating or selling vehicles.

Credible Valuations

We follow the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (U.S.P.A.P.) standards for credible appraisals and our appraisals are powered by with CARFAX Total Loss Valuation Tools to produce strong, credible appraisals. Beware companies that inflate their estimated value in an effort to entice you because they have the largest value. Largest doesn’t mean you’ll settle for more, normally it has the opposite effect. Solid credible documented work shows how we arrived at the value is the key.


We Don't Work For Insurance Companies

Unlike most auto appraisers, Ken only works for consumers and has never worked for an insurance company. No one’s shoving an envelope full of money across the table. But, there could be appraisers that develop methodologies to produce lower values in hopes of acquiring future business from the insurance companies. Some of these guys work both sides. (FYI, my attorney made me add the “could be” above to keep me from being sued). I’m sure no one would really do that, would they?

Located in Oregon

LEVERAGE Auto Appraisals is located right here in Oregon. Our main office is in Portland, Oregon. Although, we service all of Oregon including Medford, Eugene, Springfield, Coos Bay, Pendleton, Bend, Grants Pass, Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Salem, and Tigard, Oregon. Be aware many auto appraisers who appear they’re local but are from Florida, Texas, North Carolina, etc., are not licensed by ODOT to appraise vehicles in Oregon.

100% Reimbursement

As long as we increase the last offer from your insurance company one cent under your Oregon Insurance Policy’s appraisal clause, by Oregon law, your insurance company is required to provide you with 100% reimbursement of the appraisal cost. OAR 836-080-0240


It’s Simple. Just follow our proven process below and recover your fair market value and appraisal costs from your insurance company in just 6 easy steps.

1. Gather Documentation

Request a PDF of the Evaluaton from your insurance company. Have it ready when you fill out our questionnaire in the next step. Or, email it to with your name in the subject line.

2. Free Claim Review

Request a Free Total Loss Claim Review in our form below, or call us at 503.420.3001 to find out how much your vehicle is really worth. We won’t waste your time by selling you an appraisal you don’t need.


3. Order Appraisal

Place Your Order, and our Oregon Licensed and Certified Appraiser, Ken Nix will prepare the report and negotiation strategy.

4. Letter of Representation

We will send a letter of representation to your insurance company to inform them we are representing you as your appraiser under your appraisal clause.

5. Claim Negotiation

The insurance company will hire an independent appraiser and Ken will negotiate with them on your behalf to arrive at a fair settlement.


6. Settlement

Once we have an signed agreement as to the actual Fair Market Value of your vehicle, your insurance company will award your the settlement and under Oregon Law, will reimburse your appraisal cost under OAR 836-080-0240.

Oregon Auto Appraiser Ken NixEach appraisal is overseen and signed by our Appraisal Director, Ken Nix. Ken has worked in the automotive industry for over 30 years and is a highly respected automotive authority. Founder of the Volkswagen Owners Club, with over 60,000 members worldwide, he is an internationally known automotive expert and certified Oregon auto appraiser. He has testified as an expert witness in many automotive value arbitrations, jury trials, and criminal restitution court cases. Ken has over 7 years of experience working for Honda, 3 years with Toyota, 3 years with Volkswagen and Volvo, and over 3 years with Ford and Chevrolet. He’s worked directly with hundreds of national dealership personnel such as Dealer Principals, General Managers, GSMs, and  Fixed-Ops Directors while employed with Reynolds and Reynolds developing and consulting on automotive marketing and customer retention.

READY FOR A FREE CLAIM REVIEW? Email the PDF of the CCC One, Mitchell / J.D. Powers or other evaluation of your vehicle to: . With the SUBJECT: FREE CLAIM REVIEW with your NAME. Then call us at 503.567.8900 for a free claim review. (Example: FREE CLAIM REVIEW – KEN NIX) If I’m unable to immediately take your call, please leave your information with our live answering service (which will take your call 24/7).  I’ll call you as soon as I’m available. Please allow a little time as I may be negotiating a claim or inspecting a vehicle when you call during the day. If it is later at night, I may call you the next morning. I’ll call you back from my Cell Phone sometimes, ending in 0539. Thank you for considering me as your auto appraiser.


Portland, Oregon 97225


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