I totaled my car; now what?
November 12, 2008 7:23 PM   Subscribe

I totaled my car. What should I do? Should I keep the car?

Last Friday I rear-ended someone, driving in my 2002 Acura RSX. The car I hit was an SUV. My car, being very compact, was damaged horribly, while the other driver's car only minimally. Today, State Farm deemed my car a "total loss." My car is worth $9,250, and the repairs total $7,991. This is big loss for me. I loved my car and I feel like I lost a friend. The car will now have a branded title (i.e., "salvage") as required by state law.

My question is, what if I want to keep the car anyway? There is a lien on the car, so if I let the insurance company take the car, they will pay off the loan, and give me any money left over. But if I want to keep the car, what would they do then? With such high damage, do you think that it is even worth repairing it myself? It seems like the car will never be the same either way.
posted by nel to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
You're far better off to grieve and get another car...even one as close to identical as possible. A $7,991 repair bill is not going to make this car new again. Damage that extensive likely means frame bending and no fixing is going to make that perfect once again. Your car has passed on...get the hood ornament and have a little ceremony if you must, but don't drag it out of the grave.

I mean, didn't you see Pet Sematary???
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:29 PM on November 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

To add to what mattdidthat said, your car will also be less safe -- it will be impossible to bring the unibody back to the original condition. They might be able to pull it so that the components mount correctly, but there will still be compromises in the structure.

Modern cars have crumple zones to absorb energy in a crash -- it's the reason you're asking this, rather than having been smeared on your dashboard. What you'd have, if you fix this, is a pre-crumpled crumple zone.

Not good.

If you really like the make/model, go buy another one. Don't spend the money, and don't risk your life, on this one.

This car died to save you. Honor it for it's sacrifice, mourn it's passing, and move on.
posted by eriko at 4:26 AM on November 13, 2008

Or . . .

If you are asking about the mechanics of keeping the car, what happens is that the insurance company takes the car and gives you a car. You then ask to buy it back from them. They will sell it to you for whatever a junkyard would have given them for it - typically ~$1500 to $2500 or so.

You could then get it repaired to whatever level you were comfortable with. For a lot less than the $8k quoted, you could make it safe and usable, if not pretty.

Everyone else is probably right about this not being the best choice, though.
posted by Dorri732 at 5:24 AM on November 13, 2008


. . . gives you a check.
posted by Dorri732 at 9:51 AM on November 13, 2008

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