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Car written off. :(  Actions...
Posted: by Rockinkitty on Thu. 13 Sep., 2012 at 11:31:13 PM
A  few weeks ago another driver backed into my rear driver side door and just yesterday I got word from my insurance company that my car has been deemed a total loss.  Seems as though it's not worth as much as we guessed, and the repairs are higher than we'd figured. 

So now we have to decide if we take the cheque they're offering us or buy the car back from the insurance company, still fix the door, and risk the vehicle not fully insured any longer.  We know there are some costly repairs coming down the pipe if we keep Gertrude(the car so named by my SO), but I'm not so sure how we're supposed to find a car, get financing in order, and clear up the ins paperwork in the 3 days I have left with the rental car. 

I know the next step is to go out and see what kind of cars are available-what we like, new vs used, what we can afford, what insurance will be...

I really disliked car shopping last time we went.  Now with this other pressure of the insurance deadline...I have a huge headache. 

I know that buying a car depends on what you can afford, but would you go with a new or used vehicle?  What are your pros or cons for either?

TIA for your advice.

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I would go with  Actions...
Posted: by RubyStar on Fri. 14 Sep., 2012 at 12:00:31 AM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "Car written off. :("
the write off, the insurance company has deemed it that for a reason. Do you really want to drive a car that has been that badly damaged? I had a 'write off' car years ago, the insurance company just paid me out, actually more than I had paid for the car. I didn't buy another car because I was a single parent at the time so did without, it wasn't easy!

My husband won't buy used cars, so that's my answer. First you need to figure out what your budget will be, what type of car, then hit the car lots or look on Craig's list or whatever. My daughter actually just picked up a 2001 Van off Craig's list, it's in great shape & I hope she lucked out with the mechanics of it. 
You can never do a kindness to soon because you never know how soon it will be too late. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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that`s too bad  Actions...
Posted: by Simply_Trying on Fri. 14 Sep., 2012 at 12:09:57 AM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "Car written off. :("


Personally, I would be leary of keeping the same vehicle if the insurance deemed it not worth repairing.   Sometimes there are damage to the carriage that cannot been seen which could make the car unsafe to drive.  When our 2005 Dodge Caravan was rear ended by a Jeep a few years ago, it look like only the plastic part of the back bumber was broken and the bumper slightly dented.  Turned out that as soon as the bumber was taken off there was more damage than seen on first look.

Anyway, because we are of average income , we find that we get more bang for our buck buying slightly used with low mileage.   In the spring we purchaced a
2009 Santa Fe with 48 000 KM and ended up getting 3 years warranty .  

The cons of buying a used vehicle is that you have to be flexible with your likes and dislikes.  Buy from a reputable source and do your researches.  We had always stayed away from the well liked Santa Fe (dreamed of having one for years) because we thought the insurance would be more expensive than a comparable year mini van.  It`s actually $1 cheaper a month lol.

Also with buying used , you avoid many of the high fees that get tack on buying new.

Now if I could afford it, I would treat myself to a brand spanking new King Cab Dodge Ram 1500 just for the heck of it but that`s my fantasy not a reality lol.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

edited Fri. 14 Sep., 2012 @ 12:11:39 AM by Simply_Trying
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slightly used  Actions...
Posted: by ABmom99 on Fri. 14 Sep., 2012 at 1:34:52 AM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "Car written off. :("

as others above have suggested. Vehicles have traditionally taken a huge devaluing as soon as driven off the lot when buying brand new.  A car that's just a couple years old especially now we're 'late' in the year can be a much better financial deal than buying brand new.  Watch the mileage of course - going for lower mileage - as a 'newish' car with low mileage should still have warranty time left.  Its also usually a good idea to have an independent mechanic check out the car especially if its a private 'curb side' sale as opposed to buying from a dealership. Dealership sales usually offer at least a minimal warranty for the first couple of months as well as all the paperwork for warranty protection - even on used cars.  Ads in newspapers (I haven't shopped on-line for vehicle) right now seem numerous and there are a lot of good deals available.  Before you shop, set a budget & compare the financing offers (if you'll need financing) - bank rates vs the low rates that are advertised by dealerships.    I would say you likely know what you prefer in terms of type of vehicle - whether its SUV, sports car, basic mid-size sedan etc - so focus on what you know you like - as well as what you need.

I too, would agree with others that its better to take the write-off cheque, rather than hope/expect the repairs at higher than the write-off cheque will fix all the problems.  I do know that sometimes the written-off vehicles are resold & the car will be fixed & drivable, but I'd always worry that it wouldn't be the same as pre-accident. When you took your car for insurance adjuster or damage inspection, what kind of report did you get - was the damage 'only' body work? or is there also mechanical damage - the stuff under the hood, wheels/axels/electrical etc?  Sometimes a 'fixed car' just never is the same.

Even with just 3 days left on your rental car as you say - don't rush into a quick purchase. Paying rental for another few days or even a week (outside your insurance coverage on rental) may save you lots of headache by really being sure of what you wind up buying.  It may also be worthwhile questioning the value of what your insurance company is offering - if you really believe your car is worth more due to make/model/mileage - you can appeal what they're offering.


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I would not risk driving in a "write off" car  Actions...
Posted: by Mary_in_TO on Fri. 14 Sep., 2012 at 7:57:30 AM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "Car written off. :("
We always bought demonstrators from dealers but dh always shops around there is a huge difference in what dealers ask. Decide on the make of car, then shop around on the Internet, send emails, and when you find a car at your price level then go see the dealer.
We got our car from a dealer in Oshawa his price was the best.

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I wouldn't want to run the risk...  Actions...
Posted: by Marsha on Fri. 14 Sep., 2012 at 3:13:22 PM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "Car written off. :("
I wouldn't want to risk my safety or that of my family by driving a car that was a write off.  Is there any way you can appeal to your insurance company to give you a few more days on the rental so you can shop for a new car or can you talk to the rental company directly to see if you can negotiate a deal of some sort where the charges for the next few days might be brought down somewhat? 

All our car purchases have been new cars or dealer cars/demos. I am nervous that buying used is buying someone else's problems though I know this isn't always the case. The only used cars we have are those that we've used and then passed along to the kids (so we know how they've been used and maintained).

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that happened to us  Actions...
Posted: by green_sleeves on Fri. 14 Sep., 2012 at 7:07:31 PM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "Car written off. :("
I had sent DH out for a bottle of cherry brandy to make my yearly batch of cherry sauce. Some !@#% backed out of his slot (another reason driving into parking stalls drives me nuts) rather quickly, didn't look to see if anyone was driving though the parking lot-. DH saw this unfold, his superman reflexes got him to move the car into reverse so the only part of the car that was damaged was the metal just ahead of the drivers side front wheel. 
Our well maintained car was also a write off because the cost of fixing the dent was more than what ICBC was willing to pay. There was nothing wrong with our car (just a new unsightly dent)- the mechanical parts, brakes and tires were like new.  We could have not accepted the money and drove it the way it was with no problem.
But we ended up turning it over, got more money than we spent that afforded us to buy a better car  Roll of the eyes'.
It costs a lot for body work, if the shop figures it will be $5000 to repair and your car is blue booked at $4995 ICBC will say it is a write off.  We had a friend who's newer Bronco was in an accident...the difference in cost was around $150 so ICBC fixed his. 
There was an article in our paper last week- a couple driving home, some teenager flying though the intersection on his bike. Driver hit his brakes so hard he broke the lines. Short story- their older but well maintained car was not worth repairing according to their insurance company.
Now, if it had been a classic car with special insurance it would have been repaired. Many factors go into what is worth repairing and what goes to the beat up car lots for parts.
This is the day we had two cars LOL- You can see where the blue one got hit just in front of the tire and mashed the bumper just enough to say it wasn't worth repairing (and with older cars you never know if something else might have been damaged that is unseeable- so that was our decided-er on getting rid of it):

I don't know where you live but we scored big time on this one owner car at an auction in Richmond BC.Grin



No need to explain: your friends don't require it and your enemies won't believe you anyway.Grin

edited Fri. 14 Sep., 2012 @ 7:14:22 PM by green_sleeves
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Posted: by Rockinkitty on Sat. 15 Sep., 2012 at 12:07:01 AM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "Car written off. :("
Thanks for all your replies.

We were always kind of leaning towards accepting the writeofff cheque, and after your stories and more discussion with my broker that is what we're going to do.  The car is perfectly drivable-only the 1 door was affected, and the OPP had no issue with us driving home.  So I'm not concerned about it being a larger safety hazard than usual.  The process for having written-off cars re-insured properly is long and painful and too expensive to be worth it. 

We spoke with our mechanic who was a little insulted on our behalf at the settlement offer.  They suggested that proposing a case to our ins co (how well we maintained the vehicle, how we made repairs banking on the fact it was running well and would last several more years, how we aren't able to replace the car for what they offered, how long they took to get us the writeoff notification and now a 3day turn around for buying a different car is unreasonable) to hopefully get us a bit more time and perhaps a bit higher settlement.  I have all the documentation...I can talk to the adjuster.  The worst she'll say is no, I suppose. 

I haven't done the math but I wonder how it all works out in the end when comparing values of new vs used.  Say a new car is 20000 (all tx and fees incl) at 0%, and a used car is 10000 at 5%, obviously the used car is cheaper over the long run, but the newer age of the car would be better for resale, the warranty is longer, you don't 'inherit' problems...

The shopping continues tomorrow.  Unfortunately my DSis1 will have my nephew so she won't be available to help me in this, and my SO is working all day tomorrow and Monday.  I know 'they' say this is supposed to be fun but it's really not.  :(

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well  Actions...
Posted: by RubyStar on Sat. 15 Sep., 2012 at 12:25:48 AM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "..."
every time I enter a car lot I come home with a car, lol! I avoid it when I take my car in for service because the sales guys practically jump all over me. 

Good luck on your hunt. 

You can never do a kindness to soon because you never know how soon it will be too late. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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another thought  Actions...
Posted: by ABmom99 on Sat. 15 Sep., 2012 at 6:43:48 PM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "Car written off. :("

is the car's damage cosmetic/body damage only or does it impair driving ability or mechanics? The inspection on the car should tell you specifically what the damages include - a new fender? side panel fix? engine damage? frame intact/not sprung out of shape?  The reason I ask, if the damage is cosmetic, and car is drivable... it may be worth driving it and taking the cheque... the car still belongs to you, unless your insurance policy/company means write off means differently.  I see LOTS of vehicles with a variety of dents/bangs on them that aren't being fixed - they're perfectly fine for safety and drivablity, just don't look so pretty. It would mean by not fixing the car it would definitely lose value when it comes to trade-in/sell time down the road. If car is quite drivable and safe... I'd keep it, especially if the mileage & mechanical stuff still looks good.

**** re-reading your post you say its only 'rear driver side door'.... could you find an auto wrecker/body shop to replace the door? - or is hidden damage more extensive - frame of car? axel?  Going to manufacturer for a brand new door & installation could be very pricy... but I know  a lot of  folk are able to do good body work replacements via 'used' parts.

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Posted: by Rockinkitty on Sat. 15 Sep., 2012 at 11:00:27 PM
In reply to: ABmom99 "another thought"
Well first off the car is a Pontiac, the company no longer exists so there are no new doors being made.  The quote they gave is for a used door.

The door is bent/buckled in such a way that the window seal at the bottom of the glass does not touch the window any more, so the rain and wet just drain inside the working of the door.  No structure or frame damage.

Also, to have Gertrude insured by my (or any I believe) company again I have to not only fix the accident damage but safety the car, too.  The car is currently listed as a total loss, and any insurance company will see that note on a history check of the VIN.  Once fixed the car will be branded as rebuilt, which will follow the life of the car.  Apparently this process is lengthy on a car of Gertrude's age, just not worth it.  Had we been on the scene when the accident happened we likely would have told the offender to give us cash to put a different door on the car and be done with it.  But she'd already called her insurance by the time we found the damage.  I wouldn't have had a problem with driving around with a blue door and a tan car if it lasted me another year...but it wasn't in the cards I guess.  Feels now like it can't be a simple process at all. 

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I have not read the replies  Actions...
Posted: by tigsw_tigsw on Tue. 18 Sep., 2012 at 6:23:10 PM
In reply to: Rockinkitty "..."
no more doors made for Pontiac...yet there is a vast stock of new ones in storage and the Cavalier likely can be substituted also. You can get a new door.If they tell you no they are not trying to locate it for you.

There is a chance the actual frame is bent not just the door problems. If it is a write off then it is a write off. Cost more to fix it than the value of the vehicle.In other words it may not be safe enough to be on the road No one wants that..



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