Help me... my car was totaled at the dealership!
August 3, 2011 3:26 PM Subscribe
My car was totaled at the dealership, and I'm not sure if I need to lawyer up.
posted by onceisnotenough to law & government (37 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's the story:
I was driving my beloved 2005 Honda Accord when it started making a HORRIBLE scraping noise. I pulled over to the shoulder and determined that part of the undercarriage was dragging on the ground and that it was mostly likely sparking, rendering it not very safe to drive. So I arranged for a tow to the nearest Honda dealership, rented a car and went on my merry way.
The dealership calls, tells me something about the cover for the catalytic converter being loose, blah blah blah, and says that it would be ready the next day. I say 'great!', hang up and do my thing.
The next morning, before I can leave for the dealership, I get another call from them, saying that there's been an 'incident' with my car. When I get there, I open the door of my sweet Honda, only to be greeted with standing water. It turns out that car was flooded during a torrential (I'm talking 7" in a couple hours) downpour the night before.
ARGH. At this point I am totally upset, and the dealership is not helping - they're saying 'not our fault' and 'act of god' and whatever. So I called my insurance company and opened a claim.
An adjuster was finally able to examine my car yesterday (a week and a half after the damage occured) and determined that it is a total loss. I received a call today with an initial compensation offer of $10,000.
This is problematic for several reasons:
1. I still owe roughly $8,000 for the car. Before it was damaged, it was in really good condition and had a Blue Book value of about $9,500 for trade-in.
2. Buying an equivalent Accord (not even a newer and / or nicer one) is going to cost me at least $16,000 (at least according to my somewhat cursory internet research).
I had honestly planned on driving this car for another 10 years or until it hit 300,000 miles (whichever came first), and had also planned to have it paid off this year.
The idea of having to take out another car loan PAINS me. I can easily afford the payments, and have about $4,000 to put down, but I was SO looking forward to cutting ties with Wells Fargo Auto FInance for the time being.
I've tried to do some searching on people who have had their cars totaled while in the possession of the dealer - but it's not such a common occurence (or if it is, people aren't sharing their stories on the internet).
I feel that the dealership should give me a comparable replacement. Am I off base in thinking this? Does anyone have any advice? I don't want to have to get a lawyer involved, but I will if I have to.
(Other details that are probably relevant: I live in Illinois, am insured by Farmers', and have never had to make a claim before.)