Author Topic: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?  (Read 2199 times)

spartana

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Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« on: December 05, 2019, 02:43:46 PM »
Sister's 2000 Frontier truck with about 200k miles on it was broadsided today while she was stopped at at light. Other driver at fault and their insurance (Geico) will pay for repairs and rental car. No one hurt and damage is basicly a smashed in drivers side door (can't open), smashed extra cab and part of bed at the gas tank fill tube. It is drivable and it doesn't seem to have any other problems. She has an appt tomorrow at a collision repair shop set up by a Geico adjuster to have it appraised for repairs.

So my question is: does she have to get it repaired or can she just ask to be paid  the amount it would cost for the repairs? If she can do that can she still keep the truck? Can she have it fixed herself or junked or just use "as is"? If the repairs are more then the Blue Book value (approx $3000 if in good condition) will they give her the Blue Book value and let her keep the truck unrepaired? She only has liability so her insurance company won't be paying anything. She would like to get the money AND keep the truck to use or to junk eventually (and get paid $1500 from the state to get older cars off the road).
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 02:52:33 PM by spartana »

RWD

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2019, 02:53:47 PM »
If the vehicle is not totaled they can cut a check for the expected cost of the repairs. If it is totaled they will pay market value of the vehicle and take the vehicle or she can choose to buy the vehicle back which may or may not make sense depending on the numbers.

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2019, 03:18:57 PM »
If the vehicle is not totaled they can cut a check for the expected cost of the repairs. If it is totaled they will pay market value of the vehicle and take the vehicle or she can choose to buy the vehicle back which may or may not make sense depending on the numbers.
It is very drivable so I would say it wouldn't be "totalled" by Geico. So how does it work? Do they give her a repair estimate and she says "I'll take a check (and the crumpled truck) instead"? She really doesn't want to have it repaired and would rather put the money into a new vehicle.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2019, 03:33:35 PM »
I am not in the US, so not sure if it is exactly the same - but if the blue book value of her vehicle is as low as you say, it will very likely be declared totalled. The body damage you describe sounds like a time-intensive fix, and time very much equals dollars here. They will probably offer her a check for somewhere near the blue book, and she may have the option to buy the truck back from them. Where we are, it would then come with a 'salvage' title which reduces its value for resale.

RWD

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2019, 03:35:03 PM »
If the vehicle is not totaled they can cut a check for the expected cost of the repairs. If it is totaled they will pay market value of the vehicle and take the vehicle or she can choose to buy the vehicle back which may or may not make sense depending on the numbers.
It is very drivable so I would say it wouldn't be "totalled" by Geico. So how does it work? Do they give her a repair estimate and she says "I'll take a check (and the crumpled truck) instead"? She really doesn't want to have it repaired and would rather put the money into a new vehicle.
Well "totaled" typically is determined entirely by cost of repairs relative to the value of the vehicle so it doesn't matter if none of the damage affects driveability or even safety. A car could be totaled by hail damage, for example.

Yes, that's exactly how it would work. When our Subaru was hit in a parking lot and the bumper was hanging off the insurance just cut us a check for ~$600 and I spent a few bucks on the correct OEM clips/fasteners to reattach the bumper without fixing the cosmetic damage.

Dave1442397

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2019, 04:59:51 PM »
Sounds like it'll be totaled. You can see how your state determines that here: https://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/total-loss-thresholds.aspx

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2019, 05:37:44 PM »
Sounds like it'll be totaled. You can see how your state determines that here: https://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/total-loss-thresholds.aspx
She is in Calif so based on the total loss. UGH. That means it will likely be "totalled" for a very low amount. Too bad. Hoped she could get a decent repair estimate check and keep the truck to either scrap the truck herself for $1500 on a special program here or do basic fixes and drive it longer. After looking at it more completely I saw that besides the outside damage, the whole drivers side interior and extra cab were crushed in against the seat and bed also crushed under and lifted a bit near fuel fill tube so likely expensive repairs vs the value of the truck.

Does anyone know what they count as Blue Book.value? Is it trade in, private party or buying from a dealer. Different numbers for each.

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2019, 05:47:39 PM »
Also is it better to have the adjuster come to view the car at your house or drive to the collision place they set up an appointment with tomorrow morning? If they total it do they take it right there or do you have time to go home and strip it of your stuff (she has a shell with roof racks and other add ons).

Dave1442397

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2019, 06:21:45 PM »
Also is it better to have the adjuster come to view the car at your house or drive to the collision place they set up an appointment with tomorrow morning? If they total it do they take it right there or do you have time to go home and strip it of your stuff (she has a shell with roof racks and other add ons).

I'd go to the collision place. They may want to put it up on a lift to see how bad the frame damage is, etc. With that many miles, and the extent of the damage you described, I think it'll be a slam-dunk total.

If she can take the shell off before she goes there, I would do that, and get any valuables/tools out of the truck. If the truck ends up staying at the collision center, they should have no problem with her coming to get her stuff later, but you know how that goes. Things will disappear quickly once it's written off, and then all you'll get is a shrug from the collision guys and an argument with the insurance company.

Trifele

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2019, 04:00:50 AM »
Does anyone know what they count as Blue Book.value? Is it trade in, private party or buying from a dealer. Different numbers for each.

Earlier this year we had a collision resulting in near-totalling of a car.  GEICO insured the other driver, who was 100% at fault.  After the repairs we filed a diminished value claim, and GEICO used a 'proprietary' estimator on the car's value, which came in way lower than Blue Book.  We ended up hiring an independent appraiser to give us a written opinion on the value of the car so we could argue with GEICO.  Our guy used NADA "Clean Retail Value" as his benchmark.  He told us NADA is the only thing that appraisers use (at least in our state). His NADA retail value was much higher than GEICO's number.

So this is just to say if the truck is totaled and your sister is not happy with what GEICO offers, she can get an opinion elsewhere.  Our written opinion cost us $175, but we got $2400 more out of GEICO than they initially offered.  Our car had a value of ~$15k, so the math may work out differently in your case.  May or may not be worth it.  Good luck!

Sugaree

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2019, 06:55:00 AM »
Does anyone know what they count as Blue Book.value? Is it trade in, private party or buying from a dealer. Different numbers for each.

It's not KBB.  They find a handful of comparable vehicles in the area and base the value off that.  For example, when mine was totaled last year, they found three similar vehicles and made adjustments based on that.  For example, one had the same trim package, but way more miles so they took the value of that one and added some money to make up for the miles. 

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2019, 08:15:48 AM »
Thanks for the the replies they were very helpful.  She took everything out of the truck but left the shell on as they apparently will add that to the total value if totalled. Plus may have some unseen damage too. Hopefully they will use "local selling value" rather the some BB value as the small older trucks are really in demand here and ate several thousand over BB price.

Bernard

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2019, 05:33:16 PM »
For 13 years we had a 1995 Mercedes E300 Diesel as our family/travel car. Super comfy, super thrifty, and super dependable. One day, a couple of years ago, my wife took the car to work, and a truck swiped it slightly while it was parked. The left taillight was broken, the bumper cover was cracked, and there was some minor damage to the left quarter panel. With $212K miles on the clock, it was only worth $3,650, and it would have been a total, leading to a salvage title. Therefore, we kept the damage about $50 below the value of the car (working with the adjuster), so they cut me a check for $3,600 and I kept the car with a clear title.

I bought a used taillight via eBay, had another used bumper cover painted to match, and sold the car for $2,900 with slight body damage to somebody who really wanted it. The money I got from the insurance ($3,600) plus the money I got for the car ($2,900) was enough to buy our current family car, a 2012 model.

My advice: check the numbers and make 'em work in your favor.

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2019, 10:14:20 PM »
^ Oh I bet she wishes she could do that but I don't think it'll happen. Repair quote from the shop came back as $6k and 15 days to fix but I doubt her truck is worth more than $4k -$5k and probably less. But the insurance adjuster can't get there until Tuesday or Weds so she has to wait for more info.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 10:29:53 PM by spartana »

Cassie

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2019, 10:43:11 PM »
If they total it you can buy it back cheap from the insurance company.  You get the totaled amount minus the buy back amount.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2019, 11:18:01 PM »
I had a Ford Escort that got side swiped and it was totaled by the insurance company. I probably could have got $1,500, maybe $2,000 if I'd put it on Craigslist but they gave me about $2,500 after deducting maybe $500 for me keeping it (totally worth it since it was all cosmetic damage).

About a year later I was rear ended and it was really totaled and not drivable and I still got about $1,500 despite it having a salvage title. The wrecking yard gave me another $100 and then the insurance company gave me a few thousand more for my injuries. The latter was a nice bonus as I basically missed one or two days of work, paid maybe $100-200 out of pocket for an urgent care visit and an ER visit (swelling in my neck pinched a nerve which made my arm start tingling for part of a day), and was sore/in pain for about two weeks.

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2019, 08:02:58 AM »
^Did you have to put a Salvage title on it after the first accident? She's in Calif and it appears that, while she can buy it back from the insurance company,  the truck will have a Salvage title and she won't be able to insure or drive it until she clears that title by doing repairs and various inspections. Then they issue a "Revived Salvage Title" which makes it legal to drive and insure (assuming you can get it insured) but even then the title will always have the Salvage designation on it.

Does anyone know if you can turn down any money the insurance company offered and just keep the truck "as is" with the current title and insurance remaining the same? Basicly sign a release and walk ( drive) away with the truck? That way she could drive it legally and be able to decide if she wanted to just use it for now as is, or get it repaired, or part of out, or do the "cash for clunkers" type of program we have here which will pay her $1500 to junk it. Insurance may only offer her $2000 or so. Depending on how much they offer she would probably rather do that and not accept the money and not have the car totalled.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 08:11:26 AM by spartana »

RWD

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2019, 08:36:36 AM »
Does anyone know if you can turn down any money the insurance company offered and just keep the truck "as is" with the current title and insurance remaining the same? Basicly sign a release and walk ( drive) away with the truck? That way she could drive it legally and be able to decide if she wanted to just use it for now as is, or get it repaired, or part of out, or do the "cash for clunkers" type of program we have here which will pay her $1500 to junk it. Insurance may only offer her $2000 or so. Depending on how much they offer she would probably rather do that and not accept the money and not have the car totalled.

I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure you can't avoid the salvage title by refusing the insurance payout. If insurance only offers ~$2k she should probably dispute/negotiate.

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2019, 09:01:34 AM »
Does anyone know if you can turn down any money the insurance company offered and just keep the truck "as is" with the current title and insurance remaining the same? Basicly sign a release and walk ( drive) away with the truck? That way she could drive it legally and be able to decide if she wanted to just use it for now as is, or get it repaired, or part of out, or do the "cash for clunkers" type of program we have here which will pay her $1500 to junk it. Insurance may only offer her $2000 or so. Depending on how much they offer she would probably rather do that and not accept the money and not have the car totalled.

I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure you can't avoid the salvage title by refusing the insurance payout. If insurance only offers ~$2k she should probably dispute/negotiate.
Yeah I think you're probably right. I tried to Google it but it seems like once a claim was started (by the at-fault driver) you can't just walk away and say no thanks. I think they will offer around $3k totalled and less if she buys it back. That seems to be the middle price range for the truck.

ETA my sister is FIRE and has money to buy another truck (Cybertruck?) easily with cash but I imagine this would be a real hardship for a poor person who has a good running but older car and couldn't buy anything with a insurance pay out if their car was totalled.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 09:04:38 AM by spartana »

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2019, 11:51:53 AM »
^Did you have to put a Salvage title on it after the first accident? She's in Calif and it appears that, while she can buy it back from the insurance company,  the truck will have a Salvage title and she won't be able to insure or drive it until she clears that title by doing repairs and various inspections. Then they issue a "Revived Salvage Title" which makes it legal to drive and insure (assuming you can get it insured) but even then the title will always have the Salvage designation on it.

Does anyone know if you can turn down any money the insurance company offered and just keep the truck "as is" with the current title and insurance remaining the same? Basicly sign a release and walk ( drive) away with the truck? That way she could drive it legally and be able to decide if she wanted to just use it for now as is, or get it repaired, or part of out, or do the "cash for clunkers" type of program we have here which will pay her $1500 to junk it. Insurance may only offer her $2000 or so. Depending on how much they offer she would probably rather do that and not accept the money and not have the car totalled.

I did have a salvage title after the first accident. So I was pleasantly surprised after the second one that I still got about 60-70% of the value despite the rear quarter panel being half unpainted bondo.

I'm not surprised California makes it harder. It was pretty easy here in New Mexico. Just a quick trip to the Motor Vehicle Department. I might have been able to do it online now that I think about.


$1,500 to junk it is pretty nice. I called a few junkyards and the highest they would go is $150 if I got it there or $100 if they sent a tow truck. Granted, not a huge demand for parts from a 1999 Ford Escort in 2017.

austin944

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2019, 12:25:37 PM »
I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure you can't avoid the salvage title by refusing the insurance payout. If insurance only offers ~$2k she should probably dispute/negotiate.

I avoided a salvage title in Texas by refusing the initial insurance company offer to total the car.  I waited them out, the car was drivable (just a bent fender), and I got a check without a salvage title and got to keep the car.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 12:36:15 PM by austin944 »

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2019, 08:58:56 AM »
^Did you have to put a Salvage title on it after the first accident? She's in Calif and it appears that, while she can buy it back from the insurance company,  the truck will have a Salvage title and she won't be able to insure or drive it until she clears that title by doing repairs and various inspections. Then they issue a "Revived Salvage Title" which makes it legal to drive and insure (assuming you can get it insured) but even then the title will always have the Salvage designation on it.

Does anyone know if you can turn down any money the insurance company offered and just keep the truck "as is" with the current title and insurance remaining the same? Basicly sign a release and walk ( drive) away with the truck? That way she could drive it legally and be able to decide if she wanted to just use it for now as is, or get it repaired, or part of out, or do the "cash for clunkers" type of program we have here which will pay her $1500 to junk it. Insurance may only offer her $2000 or so. Depending on how much they offer she would probably rather do that and not accept the money and not have the car totalled.

I did have a salvage title after the first accident. So I was pleasantly surprised after the second one that I still got about 60-70% of the value despite the rear quarter panel being half unpainted bondo.

I'm not surprised California makes it harder. It was pretty easy here in New Mexico. Just a quick trip to the Motor Vehicle Department. I might have been able to do it online now that I think about.


$1,500 to junk it is pretty nice. I called a few junkyards and the highest they would go is $150 if I got it there or $100 if they sent a tow truck. Granted, not a huge demand for parts from a 1999 Ford Escort in 2017.
I looked into the cash for clunkers thing (she was already approved and had a year to do it) but if the insurance totals it and it gets a salvage title she can't use that program. I don't know if it's a good idea or bad idea to show the adjuster the letter that she was allowed to junk it and get $1500 or not. Probably not.

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2019, 09:05:25 AM »
I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure you can't avoid the salvage title by refusing the insurance payout. If insurance only offers ~$2k she should probably dispute/negotiate.

I avoided a salvage title in Texas by refusing the initial insurance company offer to total the car.  I waited them out, the car was drivable (just a bent fender), and I got a check without a salvage title and got to keep the car.
I read that in Cali the adjuster legally has to total it if the cost to repair is more than it"s value. I think it's for liability reasons since the insurance company can't guareentee it is safe to drive. She wants to turn in the rental car (fancy new Frontier truck) tomorrow and pick up the truck from the body shop and drive it to my home while it is still legal to drive and insured. She's going to buy my van. That way if they total it she doesn't have to deal with towing etc. Don't know if she can do that but I don't see why not.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 09:08:01 AM by spartana »

secondcor521

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2019, 06:42:54 PM »
Maybe she can't say "No thanks", but perhaps she could just be unreasonably insistent that the car is in fact worth more than whatever they offer her for it.  Worst case they end up offering her $10K for totaling it or something.

Whatever their first offer is, she can probably get more just by saying "That's not enough."  I'm pretty sure the first offer is always on the low side.

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2019, 11:33:37 PM »
Well she's my younger sister so I know she's already very good at being unreasonable and insistent ;-). Might be worth a try.

spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2019, 04:00:26 PM »
Well they totalled the truck today and gave her almost $6k for it. Not bad for a 20 year old high mileage beater with very little work done to it during it's life span. She decided not to buy it back as salvage. (would have cost about $1200).

RWD

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2019, 04:57:44 PM »
Well they totalled the truck today and gave her almost $6k for it. Not bad for a 20 year old high mileage beater with very little work done to it during it's life span. She decided not to buy it back as salvage. (would have cost about $1200).

Sounds very reasonable. Nice!

austin944

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2019, 06:58:32 PM »
I read that in Cali the adjuster legally has to total it if the cost to repair is more than it"s value. I think it's for liability reasons since the insurance company can't guareentee it is safe to drive. She wants to turn in the rental car (fancy new Frontier truck) tomorrow and pick up the truck from the body shop and drive it to my home while it is still legal to drive and insured. She's going to buy my van. That way if they total it she doesn't have to deal with towing etc. Don't know if she can do that but I don't see why not.

https://www.needtags.com/forum/Registration-Renewal/1/Do-I-Have-To-Get-a-Salvage-Certificate-If-My-Vehicle-Is-a-Total-Loss

Quote
The best option in these types of circumstances, when you do not agree with the insurance company's decision on a total loss outcome, is to negotiate with the adjuster.

I interpreted the requirement to get a salvage title in CA as only applying *after* you agree to a settlement with the insurance company, and they determine the car to be a total loss.




spartana

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2019, 08:54:55 AM »
I read that in Cali the adjuster legally has to total it if the cost to repair is more than it"s value. I think it's for liability reasons since the insurance company can't guareentee it is safe to drive. She wants to turn in the rental car (fancy new Frontier truck) tomorrow and pick up the truck from the body shop and drive it to my home while it is still legal to drive and insured. She's going to buy my van. That way if they total it she doesn't have to deal with towing etc. Don't know if she can do that but I don't see why not.

https://www.needtags.com/forum/Registration-Renewal/1/Do-I-Have-To-Get-a-Salvage-Certificate-If-My-Vehicle-Is-a-Total-Loss

Quote
The best option in these types of circumstances, when you do not agree with the insurance company's decision on a total loss outcome, is to negotiate with the adjuster.

I interpreted the requirement to get a salvage title in CA as only applying *after* you agree to a settlement with the insurance company, and they determine the car to be a total loss.
I thought that too but it seems the insurance company officially totals it first after their estimates and inspection then you can only negotiate after that on the settlement. But I may be wrong though. Learning about the whole "total loss" thing has been a real eye opener to me. I just assumed, probably like most people, that "totalled" ment a undrivable twisted mess that would need a complete overhaul. Finding put vehicles get totalled because they have hail damage that is expensive to repair but completely functional otherwise seems crazy to me.

wellactually

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Re: Will car insurance company pay cash instead of repairs?
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2019, 04:31:53 PM »
Iíve had cars totaled three times in my life and it really depends whether it works out in your favor or not.

My current car was totaled by a hailstorm while I was parked outside at my in-laws. Not crazy noticeable damage, but some hail dings on three doors, both hoods, the top, and several side panels. I bought it back and the $4000k in payout went directly to our down payment fund. It was like cashing out car equity while still retaining 100% of the car functionality.

10/10 would recommend.