Author Topic: Car Accident, Auto Insurance and Buying a Used Car  (Read 1280 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Car Accident, Auto Insurance and Buying a Used Car
« on: September 19, 2016, 08:07:48 AM »
My wife and I (30 and 31) drive a 2004 Toyota Corolla, which was initially a gift from my wife's parents (they gave it to us when they bought a new car).  We live in an NYC suburb and have been driving it for about 2.5 years.  We only have personal injury protection and liability insurance on the vehicle; no collision or comprehensive (given the age of the car, the costs for both seemed prohibitive.  We've been operating under the assumption that if something went majorly wrong with the car, it would make more sense to get a newer used model).

Well, this morning we got into a single car accident (skidded out on a slick road and hit a stone wall).  Our body shop towed us away - their initial estimate is at least $3000 worth of damage, probably more.  I'm feeling at this point, that it makes way more sense to put down cash on a newer used car than spending so much money to fix a 12-year old car with 160,000 miles on it.

With that, I have a few questions.

1) Is my thinking right on avoiding collision and comprehensive coverage?  It seems like it might make sense if we're driving around a $30,000 car, but for one that's currently worth ~$3,000 it seems unwise.

2) Given the situation I described above, does it make more sense to shop for a newer used vehicle that we would likely be able to get more use out of than spending the cash to fix the current one?

3) Assuming the answer is yes, what are some Mustachian makes/models/years these days?  I know MMM made a top 10 post, but that was several years ago.  We're looking for reliability - something we can drive hopefully 200k miles +, good gas mileage, simple maintenance, with enough room for luggage for 3 people / groceries.

4) Once we're ready to shop for a newer used vehicle, do you have any suggestions on how to go about it?  I am not knowledgeable about cars and want to make sure I don't get sold a lemon.

Thanks for any advice, and I'm happy to answer any questions.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Location: Northeastern Pennsylvania
Re: Car Accident, Auto Insurance and Buying a Used Car
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2016, 09:28:06 AM »
1) On average an accident occurs once every 18 years of driving, regardless of fault. Based solely on that statistic it makes more sense to only carry liability insurance.

2) I would get a car around the same year, with less mileage. If you go by insurance company methods, if the damage is >75% the value of the car, you are better off junking it and getting a replacement. Personally I wouldn't purchase a car with more than around 130k miles, or older than 15 years, but that comes down to preference. I expect 5-10 years of use out of every car I buy

3) Honda civic, fit, accord if you need the space. Toyota corolla, matrix, yaris, prius. Mazda 3/hatch. Read the edmunds consumer reviews for the year and model of a car you are interested in once you locate one. If possible, try to find a vehicle with no reported accidents.

4) If you can, have an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle before you purchase it. Do some research, inspect the tires and wheels, the brakes, check the date on the battery, and inspect under the hood for leaks after test driving. A carfax report helps immensely with knowing what maintenance was done, but if the car was serviced by an independent shop, chances are the carfax will not tell you much.

My $.02, hope this helps.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Car Accident, Auto Insurance and Buying a Used Car
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2016, 05:21:24 AM »
Thank you - that WAS helpful.

Follow up question:

Given that we have no collision or comprehensive coverage with our Allstate insurance, what are our options in terms of getting rid of the previous car?  The bit of research I've done indicates that insurance companies will write you the check for the difference between the deductible and the value of the car.  But is that true if you don't have collision or comprehensive coverage?  And, if we are able to get a check for the difference, would that also likely result in our insurance rates going up with a new car?  It's been 24 hours since the accident and we still haven't reported the claim.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Car Accident, Auto Insurance and Buying a Used Car
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2016, 05:31:44 AM »
Sell it for scrap metal, or parts.

former player

  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Car Accident, Auto Insurance and Buying a Used Car
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 05:40:53 AM »
If you don't have collision or comprehensive coverage, I'd assume that you don't have any claim against your insurance company.  (Unless you damaged the wall?)  If you don't have a claim against the insurance company, they will have no interest in what happens to the car.  Your only job is to tell them that the car is off the road and no longer needs to be insured and you would like the unexpired portion of your insurance payment returned, thank you.

Ask your body shop about the options for disposing of the car.  They or one of their workers might possibly want to take it on, or they will know who will take it for scrap and what if anything they will pay.