Author Topic: Car accident disaster. Please help!  (Read 4226 times)

rockstache

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Car accident disaster. Please help!
« on: June 17, 2015, 12:47:13 PM »
At the end of May, I was in an accident. A driver pulled out in front of me to take a left, causing me to drive straight into his driver's side door. I have some minor neck and back injuries which I am having treated. The airbag did not deploy in my poor little 2005 Camry (it probably should have, it was a very hard impact).

According to the body shop, it is fixable, costing approximately $5,000 to fix. The insurance company has deemed it to be a total loss, and are offering me just over $4,000 to send it to salvage, or $3,400 to retain it myself. Prior to the accident, I had a reliable, working automobile. Now it appears that I will be left with a small amount of money, that will not be enough to fund a replacement or fix it. In your personal opinion/experience, do I have any recourse?

My next move is to try to negotiate the body shop to do the repairs for less than they quoted the insurance company. They already ordered the parts and they have had the car in their shop for 3 weeks now, so it might be in their best interest to get something for it, instead of nothing. I am so frustrated with insurance right now. I know that they are just following procedure but it just seems so stupid. Of course since I follow MMM, I can afford to get a 'new to me' car if I need to, but if its repairable...why would I?

Any advice or experiences on any of this would be much appreciated!

TheLazyMan

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2015, 12:59:25 PM »
I wouldn't try to keep a car without a functioning airbag, not to mention that the car is probably no longer structurally sound as it was.

Take the money and buy something that hasn't been in a major accident.


dandarc

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2015, 01:04:38 PM »
I don't see what the problem is.  The car is worth $4K + your deductible after being fixed up.  The insurer's responsibility is to make you whole (less your deductible), not to repair this particular car at all costs.  You've got an estimate of $5K to fix the thing, the insurer's part of replacing the car is $4K.  $4K < $5K, so that's what they are going to do.  Take the money and get another car.

Be sure your liability claim is being handled properly in all this - your description reads like the other driver was to blame, so that liability claim could be significant.

rockstache

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2015, 01:09:28 PM »
dandarc when you say "liability claim" are you referring to the medical portion? Yes the other driver was at fault no problem. My deductible has nothing to do with it as that is waived in my state since I am not at fault.

The problem is I'm injured and now I have to deal with finding a new car before they quit paying for the rental (which should be any minute now).

Will anyone except the wrecked car as a trade in? It runs and is driveable

forummm

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2015, 01:12:14 PM »
You can try to negotiate the settlement value higher. They probably won't up it by more than $500 though.

The reason the insurer is totaling the car is because it's worth less than the cost to fix it. You generally only take the settlement to keep it if you are going to not have it fixed completely or can get a discount (say by paying in cash). Otherwise you're paying more money than it's worth.

Unfortunately your car is no longer going to be worth the same with a salvaged title. Keep that in mind if you decide to keep it.

dandarc

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2015, 01:22:11 PM »
dandarc when you say "liability claim" are you referring to the medical portion? Yes the other driver was at fault no problem. My deductible has nothing to do with it as that is waived in my state since I am not at fault.

The problem is I'm injured and now I have to deal with finding a new car before they quit paying for the rental (which should be any minute now).

Will anyone except the wrecked car as a trade in? It runs and is driveable
Yeah.  Medical.  Replacing your car (sounds like you've got comprehensive/collision, so this part of it is very efficient for you - your insurer pays you, end of story as far as you're concerned)  The pain & suffering.  All the damage he did you needs to be paid for.  That's liability.

So the car is worth $4K fixed up - do you not agree with that valuation or something?

Just take the $4K - then the insurer gets to deal with whatever they are going to do with this car.  Then you just go buy something with the money.  It is not that complicated.

Candace

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2015, 01:34:22 PM »
I own a 1998 Camry. In the fall of 2011 someone hit me from behind. Naturally the insurance company totaled the car, since it was already old and not worth much. However, it only had something like 120k miles on it, and I had been hoping to go a lot longer without buying another car.

I don't remember exactly how the details fell out, but I was left with the decision of taking the insurance settlement (which was only a few thousand dollars) to buy another car, and taking a different amount and throwing in another $2000-ish to fix the car up and keep it. Since I figured to get another several years out of the car, and buying another car would have cost me a lot more than the settlement plus $2k, I opted to fix the car. I figured that if it ran for about another eighteen or twenty-four months I'd be ahead on the basis of possible car payments alone.

So, the car got a bunch of new panels and other repairs, and now has about 160k miles on it. It's only needed routine maintenance and one other small repair since then. I hope to run it for at least five more years. I'm happy I kept it. The new panels make it look nicer, too.

Good luck, whatever you choose.

catccc

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2015, 08:20:06 AM »
I disagree with the valuation, big time.  A quick search shows that 2005 Camrys go for $6-9K, not $4K.  I would go back and tell them that you want a 2005 toyota camry with the approximate same mileage.  If they can find one for 4K, they need to tell you where you can buy it.  They are saying it is worth 4K, and you can easily disprove them by shopping for one.  It's not like it's a hard to find rare car.

You may also be able to argue against their total loss declaration with this same information.  If it costs $5K to fix and $7K to buy, they might agree with you.  And then after you get it fixed, you file a "diminished value claim" to reimburse you for the permanent loss in value because your car has now been in an accident.

I just did this (diminished value claim) http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/auto-accident-what's-a-reasonable-settlement/

I feel like insurance companies default to screwing you over, and you need to speak up if you disagree with what they are offering.  I'm not trying to be a jerk and get paid for nothing, but I believe your situation should be reasonably made whole, as it was before the accident.

Not touching the medical part of this, rules seem to vary so much by state.

Good luck!

catccc

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2015, 08:31:44 AM »
btw, I found a big difference between standard valuation sites like kbb and what my truck was actually being sold for on the resale market.  The kbb for my truck was around 4K.  My repairs cost about 4K.  I was surprised and glad they didn't total it!  The actual cost if I were to buy a similar truck would be closer to $7K.

Retired To Win

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2015, 08:32:10 AM »
I wouldn't try to keep a car without a functioning airbag, not to mention that the car is probably no longer structurally sound as it was.

Take the money and buy something that hasn't been in a major accident.

Definitely this.  BTW, if you really liked that 2005 Camry, you could try getting another one.  That's what we did when our 1998 Subaru Forester got totaled several years ago.  We took the insurance money (same story as yours), added $1000 and ended up with another 1998 Subaru Forester under a dealership warranty, car max vetted and with some 60,000 fewer miles on the odometer.

We still have that one.

rockstache

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2015, 09:53:19 AM »
Thanks everyone for your help.

No dandarc it isn't complicated, it's just a tough decision. After talking with the autobody shop I have decided to keep it, and only fix what is absolutely necessary to get it safely back on the road just as Candace suggested. I will have the airbag looked at by the dealership (hopefully for free), once I get it back. It is a good car with nothing wrong with it prior to the accident and I don't have any desire to get a new car. In my state, the sales tax is huge and then there would be registration, inspections, and excise tax. I found out I am not required to get a salvage title either, so I think by keeping it, I make out the best.

Bearded Man

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Re: Car accident disaster. Please help!
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2015, 12:40:52 PM »
Insurance companies suck because you pay them yet they hold all the power and the have the politicians in their pockets via lobby groups. I'd take the money and buy a used Honda for the money and drive it into the ground.