Author Topic: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?  (Read 2511 times)

ReadySetMillionaire

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Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« on: November 24, 2019, 11:41:05 AM »
My twin brother, wife, and I were returning from a wedding in Pittsburgh last night when we hit a deer head on with my car. Both front airbags deployed (twin brother was the DD). Everyone was fine.

But, as you might imagine after hitting a deer going 75 MPH, my car is totalled. We called the police. They made a report. Car got towed away.

I filed my insurance claim and picked up my rental this morning. I can't speak to the adjuster until tomorrow. So, what happens now?

My car (2014 Honda CRV, roughly 66,000 miles) was completely paid off. I know I'm out at least my deductible, but I feel like the insurance company is going to play games with my car's value.

How can I best prepare to deal with my insurance? Should I be researching new cars? Will I end up with a decent check, and should I just use that to use as a down payment for basically the same car?

Cranky

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2019, 12:05:21 PM »
What’s the Blue Book value? That’s about what you’ll get. (In the past year, my dd & her husband have gone through this twice - last year an uninsured driver rear ended them and totaled the car, and last month some kids stole the replacement car and totaled it.)

You either buy what you can get with the payout, or you spend more.

dang1

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2019, 12:16:00 PM »
consider yourself in Santa's naughty list for Rudolph's cousin's demise?

RWD

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2019, 12:19:09 PM »
"Totalled" is what the insurance company will determine. While it's likely it will be totalled you won't know for sure until the adjuster looks at it. This is determined by the estimated cost of repair and what state you are in. If the insurance company thinks it can be repaired for less than the total loss threshold then they will pay that amount (minus deductible) and you can either have it repaired or keep the check and scrap the car yourself. If it is determined to be a total loss then they will take the car and cut you a check for the replacement cost of your vehicle (minus deductible). You may also be able to buy your vehicle back and repair it yourself at this point (keep in mind it'll have a salvage title which would greatly diminish the resale value). If you don't like the amount the insurance is offering to pay out then you will need to counter their offer. Will likely require a lawyer.

You should start researching replacement vehicles immediately. Another ~2014 CR-V is a perfectly reasonable choice. Because of the deductible and possible lowballing by the insurance company you'll need to supplement the insurance company's payout if you want an identical value vehicle.

Cranky

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2019, 12:23:28 PM »
Oh, and if you had a car seat or booster seat in the car, that has to be replaced. The insurance company should cut you a separate check for that.

It takes a while for them to decide if it’s totalled. If they have to disassemble part of the car to determine that, that cost comes out of your payout.

ApacheStache

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2019, 02:08:13 PM »
I'm glad everyone is okay — we'll minus the deer. That sucks for him/her.

I filed my insurance claim and picked up my rental this morning. I can't speak to the adjuster until tomorrow. So, what happens now?

... I feel like the insurance company is going to play games with my car's value.

Not to bust your balls, but in the future I'd recommend establishing a baseline of understanding and expectations well before you need to submit a claim to your insurance company. Do this early on when selecting an insurance provider so that you understand what you are and are not paying for. Sure, you'll have some questions that are specific to your claim, but insurance companies have likely seen 99% of the scenarios that come their way and can answer those questions as they arise. Getting into an accident and potentially totaling your vehicle is stressful enough, adding multiple unknowns regarding what the next steps are for you and the insurer will add stress that could've been avoided.

Also, if you think your insurer is going to play games when it's their time to hold up their end of the bargain, then you should consider looking for an insurer that inspires a little more confidence. While you're probably not going to find that perfect golden unicorn of an insurer, it shouldn't be difficult to find a provider that you're more comfortable with.

GizmoTX

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2019, 04:40:23 PM »
Many states consider this a not-at-fault accident, meaning that comprehensive covers it, not collision. Our DS is researching this because he hit a deer 2 weeks ago; fortunately his truck was still drivable.

birdie55

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2019, 06:41:00 PM »
I listen to the Car Pro show on the radio sometimes.  The Host owned car dealerships for many years and now advises people on everything auto related. 

He has a FAQ section on how negotiate with your insurance company so you get the appropriate value from them after an accident.  Scroll down until you find the insurance section on the link below.  Hope it helps. 

https://www.carprousa.com/carprousa-faqs.php

Sugaree

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2019, 07:42:35 AM »
My husband totaled my Jeep this time last year (literally...the accident happened the Tuesday before Thanksgiving).  The insurance company paid me enough to mostly replace it with one exactly like it.  They don't exactly use the KBB value, but rather try to find three local vehicles that are comparable and use an average value from that. 

The issues that people seem to have with their payouts are that what insurance companies consider comparable aren't necessarily what the owner considers comparable.  For example, the Jeep that was wrecked was a fairly rare color.  There was nothing in a 300 mile radius available in that color.  While it was important to me, the insurance company could have cared less about the color.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2019, 07:13:26 PM »
Thanks for all the info, especially the info about negotiating with insurance. 

Just to update: car is officially totaled, and according to the adjuster it wasn’t close.

First offer from insurance was about $15,000. I’m hoping to get it up to $16,000.

I’d like the same exact car but I can’t find any 2014s with decent miles.

So I’m looking for the same sweet spot that I got my last Honda — three years old, under 50k miles, good condition, etc. The two best deals I could find within a 100 mile radius were these two:

Option 1: 2015 Honda CRV EXL ($18.5k)
-Nicest trim package
-White
-Tan leather seats
-48,000 miles
-Has rubber mats, trunk cargo stuff ($300 value)
-Cons = not “certified” and was in a minor front end incident (but, this is why this is priced so well)

Option 2: 2015 Honda CRV EX ($19k)
-Second nicest trim (doors are less nice, different control panel, etc.)
-Black (probably worst color for winter)
-Black cloth seats
-37,000 miles
-“Certified”

I personally and aesthetically like the EX-L better. There’s a “wow this is a nice car” when you open the door. It’s priced nice due to the minor accident and not being “certified.” A new CR-V EXL is probably $32k. I would never buy this under normal conditions, but basically only paying $2-3k out of pocket would be awesome.

But the EX seems “smarter.” It’s “certified,” has 11k less miles, etc. But it’s also black, which will be a pain. That said, it’s a really nice car, and nicer than my 2014. It just doesn’t “wow” me the way the EXL did when I opened it.

Besides “Option 3 — buy a 2007 Camry!!!”, what would you do?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2019, 07:15:47 PM by ReadySetMillionaire »

gooki

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2019, 01:07:35 AM »
I’d negotiate option 1 down to your insurance payout.

I’d also get it inspected with extra attention paid to the repair.

Cranky

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2019, 05:58:01 AM »
I'd go with the one that is certified, because the point of a car is for it to run reliably.

A black car isn't actually any dirtier in the winter than any other color.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2019, 06:22:45 AM »
The dealer just called and they have a 2015 EXL, certified, 51,000 miles, and listed for $19,000.  Based on my negotiations yesterday I could probably get this down to $18,500.

Seems like this gets the best of both worlds (nicer trim, but certified), albeit with a little more miles.  But, for a Honda, I don't see any huge difference between 37k miles and 51k.

researcher1

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2019, 09:11:36 AM »
The dealer just called and they have a 2015 EXL, certified, 51,000 miles, and listed for $19,000.  Based on my negotiations yesterday I could probably get this down to $18,500.
Quote
A new CR-V EXL is probably $32k.

Given the prices and miles of the used vehicles, you should purchase a NEW Honda CR-V.

You have grossly overestimated the current selling price of a new CR-V EXL, which is a common mistake. 
Go on the CRV forum and you will see they are selling for.  You can get a 2019 EXL with zero miles for $26K - $27K.

So let's do some simple math, using the assumption that you will drive a vehicle until it reaches 150K miles...
- New Car:  0 current miles - 150K usable miles - 100% usable miles remaining
- Used Car:  51K current miles - 99K usable miles - 66% usable miles remaining

A used vehicle with 51K miles should be purchased for no more than...
$26,500 (new car price) x 66% (usable miles of used car).
This comes to $17,490.

The NEW vehicle is clearly the better value.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2019, 09:46:31 AM »
The dealer just called and they have a 2015 EXL, certified, 51,000 miles, and listed for $19,000.  Based on my negotiations yesterday I could probably get this down to $18,500.
Quote
A new CR-V EXL is probably $32k.

Given the prices and miles of the used vehicles, you should purchase a NEW Honda CR-V.

You have grossly overestimated the current selling price of a new CR-V EXL, which is a common mistake. 
Go on the CRV forum and you will see they are selling for.  You can get a 2019 EXL with zero miles for $26K - $27K.

So let's do some simple math, using the assumption that you will drive a vehicle until it reaches 150K miles...
- New Car:  0 current miles - 150K usable miles - 100% usable miles remaining
- Used Car:  51K current miles - 99K usable miles - 66% usable miles remaining

A used vehicle with 51K miles should be purchased for no more than...
$26,500 (new car price) x 66% (usable miles of used car).
This comes to $17,490.

The NEW vehicle is clearly the better value.

Ugh.  I'm clearly indecisive and you are not helping @researcher1 , haha.

My gut here is to object on the grounds that, given the situation, my highest priority and concern is total cost. 

The one I'm getting, all-in, fees, taxes and everything, is $20,800.  This is about a $5,000 out of pocket expense after I get my insurance check.

Based on looking at Car Gurus (https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/2019-Honda-CR-V-Price-c28911), looks like the 2019 of this model is going for $26,700 as a "great price."  Assuming I even got that best case scenario, my all-in cost would be $28,900.

That's an $8,000 difference, and most of that value will be lost the second I drive it off the lot.  More importantly, this is $12-13k more than my insurance company is giving me for a new car.

Am I still wrong here?

researcher1

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2019, 12:22:42 PM »
Ugh.  I'm clearly indecisive and you are not helping @researcher1 , haha.

My gut here is to object on the grounds that, given the situation, my highest priority and concern is total cost

The one I'm getting, all-in, fees, taxes and everything, is $20,800. 
Assuming I even got that best case scenario, my all-in cost would be $28,900.

That's an $8,000 difference, and most of that value will be lost the second I drive it off the lot
More importantly, this is $12-13k more than my insurance company is giving me for a new car.

Am I still wrong here?
Yes, you are still wrong...

You say your highest priority/concern is "total cost".
But you are only looking at the short-term initial cost of the vehicle, not the total long-term cost of vehicle ownership.

The new vehicle provides the lowest overall cost over the course of 150K+ miles.
Buying this used vehicle will cost you MORE in the long run, over the same number of miles.
Think about it this way...You are buying a used vehicle with 33% of its miles already used up, but you are NOT saving 33% off the price of a new vehicle.

This doesn't even account for all of the other advantages of new over used...
- You are the original owner from day one, versus buying a used car with potentially multiple owners, unknown maintenance/accident history, driving history, ect.
- The first 50K miles of a new car are the cheapest from a maintenance/repair standpoint, as it needs nothing but a few oil changes and air filters.  Those best miles are already used up in a used car, as beyond 50K miles you start needing things like brakes/tires/ect.
- Lower transaction costs and less hassle.  It is easier and cheaper to purchase ONE new vehicle over the next 150K miles than to purchase TWO used vehicles during that time.  Think sales tax, doc fees, temp tags, ect. plus the time searching for and buying two used vehicles (dealing with stealerships more often).
- Easier and higher resale value.  You will have an easy time and get top dollar when selling a "one owner" vehicle that you have owned from day one (with original window sticker, all maintenance records from mile 0, ect).  This isn't the case for a car with xx previous owners and incomplete history/maintenance/records.

researcher1

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2019, 12:35:09 PM »
That's an $8,000 difference, and most of that value will be lost the second I drive it off the lot.  More importantly, this is $12-13k more than my insurance company is giving me for a new car.

Am I still wrong here?

A few things I didn't address in my previous post...

The comment about "most of that value will be lost the second I drive it off the lot" is WRONG.
This is only a loss on paper.  You would only realize that loss if you actually sold the car as soon as you drove it off the lot.
If you keep it for the next 150K+ miles, as you should, that supposed depreciation loss is completely irrelevant.

You seem very concerned about the additional cost beyond what you will get from the insurance.
Do you have the extra $13K needed to purchase a new CR-V in cash?
If not, then you'll need to factor loan costs into my formula above to make sure new still comes out ahead.

mozar

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2019, 12:29:05 PM »
Wait, this is the first time I've heard anyone on this forum advocate for buying a new car. At first blush it seems well thought out but that comment about buying new because it's a hassle to buy used has me concerned.
Basically the OP found a car they like for 1500 more than what the numbers say is practical. The solution is not to buy a brand new car but one that is older. I would go with one that uses the max amount of insurance payout without dipping into my funds.
ETA The mustachian thing to do is to buy the cheapest car that meets your needs but it sounds like you like a little car thrill in your life.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 12:46:20 PM by mozar »

sailinlight

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2019, 02:07:10 PM »
Make sure the insurance company's offer includes sales tax on the value of the replacement car.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Hit a Deer, Totalled My Car, Now What?
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2019, 04:44:21 PM »
Make sure the insurance company's offer includes sales tax on the value of the replacement car.
It does.

Just to put a bow on this, I ended up getting a 2016 EX-L for $18,900, and with tax and everything, about $20,600. It has 34,000 miles, highest trim model, a clean CarFax report, and is certified.

Regarding the price, I expect to receive between $15,500 from insurance (so about $5,000 out of pocket). My old car had about 75,000 miles, was a 2014, and didn't have anywhere near the features as this 2016, etc. So paying $5,000 for nicer features and buying about 40,000 miles seems okay to me.

Regarding the car, I honestly splurged a little. I obviously don't need an EX-L, but heated leather seats, satellite radio, really nice speakers, etc...man it feels nice. And it's a used Honda, so it's not like I went crazy.

Also, I financed the entire thing at 1.99 percent.  That's basically free money.  I'll deposit the insurance check in my Ally account (2 percent interest anyway) and have payments draw from there.

I strongly considered getting new, but the best price I could get was about $28,000, and all in that's more than $30,000. I simply am not willing to spend that much on a car.

Hopefully I don't total this one and own it for 10-15 years.