Total Loss Rate For Electric Vehicles Is Lower Than Industry Perceives

Mitchell has released data debunking the perception that electric vehicles (EVs) are more often declared a total loss following a crash than their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts.

In its latest trends report, Plugged-In: EV Collision Insights, Mitchell said that in the US and Canada during Q1 to Q3 2023, the EV total loss rate was 7.25 per cent for models 2020 and newer. Luxury ICE vehicles manufactured over the same time period and with a comparable actual cash value (ACV) had a rate of 7.47 per cent versus 8.49 per cent for all ICE vehicles.

“Many believe that auto insurers are writing EVs off as a total loss more often than their ICE counterparts of a similar model year and ACV, even with only minor damage,” said Ryan Mandell, Director of Claims Performance at Mitchell. “Our data simply does not support that conclusion. In fact, even though an EV’s lithium-ion battery significantly increases the likelihood of a total loss outcome, we do not see these automobiles declared total losses more often than ICE alternatives.”

The report also documents other differences in relation to EV and ICE vehicle repairs:

  • Labour for EVs represented nearly half the cost of the total collision repair (49.66 per cent) compared to ICE alternatives (41 per cent), equating to more than six additional labour hours per job.
  • Repair costs for all EVs continue to trend higher than those for petrol-powered vehicles, with a differential of US$950 in the US and US$1,301 in Canada. These numbers are expected to grow in the coming months as supplements are written.
  • OEM parts are the standard for EV repair, with 88.85 per cent of repairable EVs using parts provided by the vehicle manufacturer versus 67.48 per cent for ICE alternatives.

The report also highlighted a modest increase from Q2 in claims volume for repairable EVs of 1.86 per cent in the US and 3.14 per cent in Canada. The top North American regions for EV collisions – British Columbia, California and Quebec – also had increased claims frequency.