How much of my car insurance payout should I spend on a new car?
October 27, 2004 7:49 PM   Subscribe

My car was recently stolen and I just recieved a check for $2600 from the insurance company to purchase a new car. I'm not sure how much I should spend on the car and how much to save for registration costs, switching my insurance over to this car, etc. Aside from potential problems with the car that may need to be fixed, what costs can I expect to incur just getting everything switched over to a new car?
posted by untuckedshirts to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
Absolutely vital to anyone attempting to answer this question will be where you live. Those sorts of things are generally government fees which vary by government.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:21 PM on October 27, 2004

This varies a lot by state--the taxes on registration, that is.

Just a wild guess, but I would put aside $300 for the transaction (California is more than Utah, etc.) and if it comes to less, put in a better stereo or save it for an oil change or air filter replacements or something. Or tires.

What are you going to buy for $2300?

Go get a 2001 Prizm(corolla) with low miles and finance the remaining $4000. Just a thought.
posted by mecran01 at 8:23 PM on October 27, 2004

Athens, Georgia is where i'm at, and my insurance provider is State Farm if that helps.
posted by untuckedshirts at 8:25 PM on October 27, 2004

I bought a car last year. Got a great deal from a friend so the following is in no way a complaint.

It's cost me roughly it's street value in repairs.

Judging from the (more expensive) repair costs associated with a friend's (more expensive) car, this probably scales quite well.

So, if you're buying a secondhand car, spend half of what you can afford on the initial purchase and don't worry so much about the initial repair bills -- better you just do the repairs than risk driving an unsafe car.
posted by krisjohn at 1:39 AM on October 28, 2004

I was in a very similar situation once. I had 80-something Thunderbird that I was very happy with, ran well etc. Going around a sharp curve one day, someone smashed right into me, totaling the car. I had a $2,500 check in hand and a desperate need to purchase a car (a used car salesman's dream, so beware). I ended up getting an 80-something Buick Regal that never ran right. I sunk literally thousands into repairs to keep it on the road. It repaid me by catching on fire on the way to a job interview.

Moral of the story: Use the cash as a down payment and get an auto loan or find more funds to upgrade your ride. I imagine for not much more you could get a "certified" used car that offers you at least some protection from huge repair costs. I have a '97 Honda Civic that I bought "certified" used. It now has almost 200,000 miles and has given me very few problems.
posted by Otis at 6:10 AM on October 28, 2004

Buy an old vespa motor scooter. It's the best half-a-car that you can buy. And when you think about it -- would you rather be a pimp on a reliable (and easy/cheap to fix when small things go wrong) vespa or a loser in a $1700 car? Exactly.
posted by zpousman at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2004

I dunno about that Vespa advice. For starters, I don't trust the reliability of anything Italian with more moving parts than a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Further, if you're going the two wheeled route, get a lightly used 1998-2001 Suzuki GS-500E or Kawasaki EX-500, same money but a LOT more capable vehicle. 45-70 MPG, liability insurance ~ $150/year. And you won't look like a dork.

But remember, there's a bunch of stuff - from picking up dry cleaning to buying a case of beer - that pose a real challenge on a bike. And winter's on its way....
posted by mojohand at 8:54 AM on October 28, 2004

Does Georgia get winter? Enough to make riding a bike impractical?

On the practical note phone your agent. He'll be familiar with your situation and can tell you how much you'll need to save for goverment squeeze.
posted by Mitheral at 12:32 PM on October 28, 2004

Hey, a fellow Athens resident!
"Does Georgia get winter? Enough to make riding a bike impractical?"
If by winter, you mean it snows maybe once or twice a Bikes are the way to go in Athens, if you don't mind avoiding the buses that enjoy taking out bikers.
Seriously though, get a scooter or cheap motorcycle. I've known a few who have them and it works out great, especially in such a small town. Unless you have to travel between Athens and Atlanta. Also, people are always selling for cheap to pay for rent and college.

On a side note, if you don't mind me asking, was it stolen in Athens and if so where?
posted by jmd82 at 1:14 PM on October 28, 2004

I didn't think the question was "what should I buy with my insurance check?"

The fact that your previous car was stolen and you are paying from an insurance check makes no difference to the state. Everything you will need to pay the DMVS is on this page. "Switching" your insurance should be without cost, all you are doing is discontinuing insurance on the stolen car (already done if they've paid you) and starting a new policy on your future vehicle. In my experience there should be no start up fees with this, just possibly a different monthly payment based on the difference between your new and old cars.
posted by modofo at 3:47 PM on October 28, 2004

jmd82: it was stolen from my apartments parking lot in Athens. I live on the corner of Dearing and Church street near Vision Video.

the motorcycle idea is a good one, but I do travel back and forth to atlanta at least once a week and i don't like the idea of sliding across the ground if i get into an accident.

thanks to everyone and especially modofo.
posted by untuckedshirts at 5:16 PM on October 28, 2004

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