Salvage my car?
January 11, 2007 1:55 PM Subscribe
Salvage title or new-to-me car? I rear-ended the car in front of me at about 15 mph (I was passing on the left and he stopped suddenly), hitting my front right side on his left rear bumper. My headlight and blinker were pushed straight back and the hood slightly accordioned.
Thinking the damage wasn't that bad, I foolishly took the car to my insurance's recommended repair center,who decided that there was $3700 of body damage (which I think is ridiculously inflated, but they won't let me take the car for a second estimate). The car's blue book value is $5000 at best, so the insurance company declared it a total loss. I have the option of taking the whole settlement, or taking a salvage title to my car and the settlement minus the salvage fee.
The mechanics don't think there's any radiator or frame damage. The body damage includes a broken headlight and blinker, the inside dashboard lights no longer work (blown fuse?), dented bumper and grill, and slightly accordioned hood (still latches). I'm willing to live with some body damage, as long as the car is safe and reliable.
I'm not emotionally attached to my car, but I don't want to go through the pain of trying to buy a decent used car for $5000 (done it twice and it's just a LOT of work). Should I take the salvage title and fix up my car? Or is a salvage title not worth the bother, and should I just take the money?
Note: the car is a 2001 Chevy Prizm with about 104,000 miles, and I live in California.