Section 919.EXHIBIT A   Total Loss Automobile Claims


1)         Total Loss Claims


When you are involved in an automobile accident, one of the first things you may have to do is file a claim for damages to your vehicle.  If your car is a total loss, this procedure can sometimes be confusing.


Your automobile insurance policy requires both you and your insurance company to follow certain steps after a loss occurs.  This publication summarizes those requirements and outlines your rights.


The Illinois Department of Insurance has established regulations to protect you when you file an insurance claim.  It is also important that you read your policy carefully so that you clearly understand your responsibilities.


If you still have questions, you can contact our Consumer Services Section by phone at (866) 445-5364 or at one of the following locations:


320 West Washington Street

Springfield, Illinois 62767





122 S. Michigan Ave., 19th Floor

Chicago, Illinois 60603



2)         Your Duties


1.         You must immediately report all losses directly to your insurance producer or company.


2.         If you suspect theft or vandalism, you must also report it immediately to the police.  If you fail to do so, your company may deny your claim.


3.         You must protect your automobile from further damage.  For example, if you fail to cover a broken windshield and the upholstery is damaged by rain, your company can refuse to repair the seat.


4.         Most insurance policies require that, within 91 days after the loss, you must submit a sworn proof of loss.  A sworn proof of loss usually states the date of loss, how it happened, and for what purpose the automobile was being used.  If you fail to submit a proof of loss your company may deny your claim.


5.         You must cooperate with the insurance company, submit to examination under oath, if so requested, and show them the damaged property.  If you fail to cooperate your company may deny your claim.


6.         You should review the Conditions section of your policy for other possible requirements.


3)         Your Insurance Company's Duties


When you file an automobile insurance claim, your insurance company has three options:


1)         Replace the damaged or stolen property;


2)         Repair the damaged property; or


3)         Pay for the loss in cash.


Insurance Department regulations require the company to follow certain standards for each option.


4)         Replacement


If the insurance company elects to replace your vehicle, the replacement must be a specific make and model comparable to your totalled vehicle, and it must be available in as good or better overall condition than your totalled vehicle.


Replacement vehicles must be purchased through licensed dealers. Vehicles that are no more than three years old must be warranted.


If you reject a replacement vehicle, the insurance company must pay only the amount it would have otherwise paid for the replacement vehicle including applicable taxes, transfer and title fees.  The company must offer you the replacement vehicle and you must reject the offer.


If you desire a replacement vehicle of similar value, this replacement method is also permitted.


5)         Cash Settlement


If the insurance company elects to make a cash settlement for your totalled vehicle, they must first determine its retail value.  Companies normally use guide books or computerized data marketed by various sources.


If your vehicle is not listed in one of these sources, the company can use written dealer quotes.  Ordinarily, however, newspaper advertisements are not acceptable sources of market value.


6)         Payment of Sales Tax


If within 30 days of a cash settlement, you can prove that you have purchased another vehicle, the company must pay the applicable sales tax, transfer and title fees in an amount equivalent to the value of the total loss vehicle.  If you purchase a vehicle with a market value less than the amount previously settled upon, the company must pay you only the amount of sales tax that you actually incurred and include transfer and title fees.


Your insurance company must give you written notice of this procedure.


7)         Betterment Deductions


The insurance company is allowed to make deductions from the retail value if your automobile has old, unrepaired collision damages.  There is no limit to the amount of the deduction.


The insurance company can also make deductions for wear and tear, missing parts and rust, but the maximum deduction may not exceed $500.00.


All deductions must be itemized and specified as to dollar amount.


8)         Retaining Your Totalled Vehicle


In an effort to minimize automobile "chop shop" crime, the Illinois Vehicle Code does not permit you the right to retain the salvage once your automobile has been deemed a total loss by your insurance company.  The insurance company must take possession of the vehicle, if the vehicle is eight model years or newer.


9)         Right of Recourse


If you cannot locate a replacement vehicle within 30 days of receiving a cash settlement, you may have some additional rights under your insurance contract.


If you cannot purchase a substantially similar vehicle for the market value determined by the company, but you have located a substantially similar vehicle that costs more, the following procedures shall apply.


1)         The company shall either pay you the difference between the original settlement and the amount of the substantially similar vehicle which you have located or attempt to purchase this vehicle for you; or


2)         The company shall locate a comparable vehicle for you at the market value determined by the company at the time of settlement; or


3)         The company shall conclude the loss settlement as provided under the appraisal section of the insurance policy.


Your insurance company must give you written notice of this procedure once your vehicle has been determined a total loss.


This chart should assist you in determining the retail value of your automobile.







Make of Automobile




Engine Size


Type Transmission (Auto/Standard)


Power Steering


Power Brakes


Power Windows


Air Conditioner


Vinyl Roof


Cruise Control


Tilt Wheel/Telescope Wheel


Power Locks


Power Seats


AM/FM Radio




Rear Defog


Mileage:  Low/High




Minus Deductible







The above figure represents an average automobile.  Your automobile may be worth more or less than the above figure because of options on the automobile which are not listed in a guide book or because of the excessive wear and tear or old unrepaired damage to the automobile.


(Source:  Amended at 38 Ill. Reg. 15600, effective July 2, 2014)