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total loss

Watch out for those cars! In which used models is total loss most common?

7 February 2023

According to the autoDNA data for 2022, among the popular used cars on the market, the risk of total loss is quite high – from 11.2% to even 16.8% of reports for selected models contained an entry regarding the occurrence of such an event. Their average value varies – from EUR 6,800 to even close to EUR 11,000.


Total loss in the history of popular vehicles

Purchasing a used car carries the risk of acquiring a post-accident vehicle. The previous damage to the car is evidenced, among others, by the occurrence of the so-called total loss in its history. Billions of records in the autoDNA database also contain data on this subject.



The percentage probability in this ranking means the total loss recorded in the reports generated by users of the autoDNA service. For a given car, the report could be generated several times a year, which affects the position in the ranking.



The list of TOP 10 cars with the highest probability of total loss for 2022, in addition to “slam dunks” such as Volkswagen Passat or Opel Astra, also shows “new” models from other segments compared to the corresponding ranking for 2021. For the first time, the city Ford Fiesta appeared on it, and immediately took first place. In the case of this popular car, as many as 16.8% of all checks in the autoDNA database in 2022 ended up generating a report with total loss. Its average value for the Ford Fiesta was EUR 7,350. The average value of total loss can be as much as nearly EUR 11,000 if we are dealing with a higher class car (E-segment) and in the range of EUR 6,800-8,450 for the city, compact and middle class models (B-, C- and D-segments, respectively).


Mazda 5 and Ford Fiesta – this year’s debutants

This year’s novelty in the ranking is also a compact minivan Mazda 5 with a result of 13.5% and an average damage value of EUR 8,000. The Mazda 5 was offered in Europe until 2015, and its distinctive feature is the sliding side doors and the possibility of configuring the seats in the second or even third row. The car works well as a family car, but unfortunately, as the autoDNA data show, you should be careful, because there are a lot of the post-accident copies.



Of course, the top 10 list includes popular models such as the BMW 5 Series and 3 Series, Audi A6 and A4, as well as compact cars – Opel Astra, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. The Audi A6 has the highest value of total loss, while the BMW 3 Series and Volkswagen Golf have the lowest value. In the case of A6, the valuation is affected by the high cost of parts and labor. Interestingly, the average loss of the Ford Focus – EUR 8,450 – is more than EUR 600 higher than the one of Volkswagen Passat. Volkswagen Golf and Opel Astra have the “cheapest” loss on the top 10 list – EUR 6,900 and EUR 7,000 respectively.



In total, in 2022, more than 460,000 cases of total loss were recorded in reports generated by autoDNA.


The loss is unequal

The occurrence of total loss is important information for a potential car buyer. Does such a defect mean that the car is automatically discarded? Not necessarily. Much depends on the extent and nature of the loss, as well as the standard in which the vehicle has been repaired.

The definition of total loss according to insurance companies for civil liability policies is a damage whose repair value exceeds the valuation of the car before its occurrence. In a situation where the vehicle has motor own damage insurance, it is enough to establish a total loss if the value of the damage exceeds 70% of the value of the vehicle.

In both cases, the car may not be repaired by the insurer, and its owner receives compensation in cash. Nevertheless, due to differences in labour costs, the declared total loss, for example, in Germany may be profitable to liquidate in Poland after prior importation of a damaged car.


In which used models is total loss most common

If the liquidation of the loss was made with the use of original parts and in compliance with the manufacturer’s standards, which has a high impact on its value, then such a car is of full value. In such case, it was restored to the condition it was in when it left the factory – in terms of replacing damaged elements, e.g. headlights and front bumper, or replacing airbags. You should also not worry about high values – in the case of replacing, for example, LED headlights at the front, bumper and, for example, a mask, the cost can reach several tens of thousands of zlotys, and the car after repair will be fully operational.

It is also worth emphasizing that with the current level of complexity of cars, prices of parts and labor costs in authorized workshops, you do not need a serious collision for the car to qualify for total loss. The term “total loss” sounds threatening, but it does not necessarily mean that a given vehicle is a wreck that is not repairable.


It is good to know

When buying and selling a vehicle, it is always worth free VIN lookup using the autoDNA vehicle history report, the market-leading provider of the VIN decoding tool. The VIN number is sufficient to check, among others, damage to the vehicle, including total loss, collisions, recorded odometer readings, and archive photos. VIN check is simple, quick and can save you from the huge expenses associated with the purchase of a lemon-car.




A total loss vehicle is one where the cost to repair the damage exceeds the vehicle's book value at the time of the incident. This determination is made by insurance companies.

The two types of total loss are Actual Total Loss and Constructive Total Loss. Actual Total Loss occurs when the vehicle is completely destroyed or so damaged that it ceases to be a thing of the kind which were insured. Constructive Total Loss is when the cost of repair exceeds the vehicle's value.

A car is calculated as a total loss by comparing the vehicle's actual cash value immediately before the loss occurred to the estimated cost of repairs. If the cost of repairs exceeds the vehicle's value, it's considered a total loss.

In which used models is total loss most common?
Article Name
In which used models is total loss most common?
According to the autoDNA data for 2022, among the popular used cars on the market, the risk of total loss is quite high - from 11.2% to even 16.8%.