Minor accident, am I being an ass.
October 8, 2009 9:20 PM   Subscribe

SUV backed over my tiny Miata, what should I do?

Well, instead of trading in my clunker Jeep in for a minivan this summer, I decided to buy a 17 y/o Miata to help survive my horrible commute (at least on the nice days). The Miata is in great shape (low miles) for it's (17y/o) age. Unfortunately, last night a huge (Acadia) SUV backed over it while parked on the street (I was not in it). The owner of the other car was nice and coo-operative (I'm pretty sure I have all the info I need from them) and the damage looked minimal. Thing is while it looks like it may 'buff out' (the damage is only to the nose piece which is body colored plastic), I really do not have the time/inclination to fix it myself. I am going to get professional estimates in the morning. However, I feel a bit of an ass going after the person who backed over it for a professional repair (the car is 17 years old after all). If it were my Jeep I would have said just let it go, but this car was pretty much mint.
The person who hit me claimed they had not had an accident in 40 years (though I drought they were much older than 40), but my car had not had one in 17!
posted by evilelf to Travel & Transportation (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What he said.
posted by LarryC at 9:26 PM on October 8, 2009

Really? Call insurance company. Get car fixed. End of story. Stop feeling bad for the SUV owner.
posted by liquado at 9:27 PM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh no! I've been there ... a SUV backed into my 1994 Miata also. People NEVER see the poor little Miata.

Not sure what you're asking ... why wouldn't you get it fixed? It's good that the other person is taking responsibility -- but hey, it's because they're responsible. If someone spilled wine on your coat and offered to pay for the drycleaning, wouldn't you take them up on that as well?

A 17 year old Miata in mint condition is hardly a beater, get it fixed.
posted by dacoit at 9:30 PM on October 8, 2009

Response by poster: I guess I'm wondering, should I give them an out? I do not want to say yeah auto body shop A said $500 just pay me that. I may be open to, this shop said this much, deal with them if you do not want to go through insurance. Am I a fool to think oh, cut tham a break?
posted by evilelf at 9:30 PM on October 8, 2009

I guess I'm wondering, should I give them an out? I do not want to say yeah auto body shop A said $500 just pay me that. I may be open to, this shop said this much, deal with them if you do not want to go through insurance.

Sure, you might want to offer them the "non-insurance" route. It would probably be better for them and also easier for you (if they take you up on the offer).

Am I a fool to think oh, cut tham a break?

Sure being nice could be construed as "foolish" to some people. But, in the end, the actions you take and decisions you make are all up to you! :)
posted by StarmanDXE at 9:41 PM on October 8, 2009

The normal course is to have insurance deal with this. If you think the person was extra nice, and you don't care about getting the car repaired, you might cut them a deal or even let them off the hook. I've done this when someone dinged my already dinged fender.

But here you have a nice looking car that now is not. Let the insurance co do its work, or get an estimate for the repair and send it to the other person directly if you feel compelled to work this issue out directly.

Me, I'd go with insurance on this and so I could stop thinking about it.
posted by zippy at 9:43 PM on October 8, 2009

You won't save them any money by trying to cut a deal between them and a shop: insurance companies have way more leverage than consumers because they provide so much volume.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:54 PM on October 8, 2009

Insurance. Go with insurance. Insurance is the only way. How many years it has been since their last accident is irrelevant. Their beast crushed your puppy. You are not being an ass. This their fault. Insurance company, first thing in the morning.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:59 PM on October 8, 2009

Eh, I'll go against the grain and say that you can offer them the no-insurance route - however! Get your car taken to a good shop, don't waste your time looking for a cheap quote for them, have the shop do the work ASAP (the longer you wait the more likey the other driver will justify to themseves to not pay) and most importantly, have the other driver pay upfront for the repair. I learned that logic from when my car has hit and the repair shop insisted on payment upfront from the other driver because they had been burned by too many accident-causing drivers that wouldn't pay to get the other person's repaired car out of the shop.
posted by saucysault at 10:27 PM on October 8, 2009

Get it fixed properly, through insurance. Don't be nice and do it outside of insurance. I speak from bitter experience here. The other party can screw you over at any time during the repair process by suddenly changing their mind about paying or how much to pay. Go through insurance for your protection.
posted by Joh at 10:30 PM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I assume you mean that the tail end of their SUV hit the top of your hood or something, right? Because "backed over" sounds like they drove all the way up on your sweet little roadster, something its frame and suspension were never designed for, and could possibly have caused serious permanent damage, which would be actually dangerous rather than cosmetic -- and something I imagine you would be concerned about. So I assume you just mean a cantilever and a ding.

Even so, sheesh. Unless it's a good friend in your driveway, insurance. They pay, not you.
posted by dhartung at 10:34 PM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Am I a fool to think oh, cut tham a break?

Well, if it's going to leave your nice little car more beaten up and with a lower resale, yeah, I would say so. This is what insurance - their and yours - is for. And perhaps they'll be a little more careful reversing in future. Today an MX-5, tomorrow a 4 year old...
posted by rodgerd at 12:41 AM on October 9, 2009

However, I feel a bit of an ass going after the person who backed over it for a professional repair (the car is 17 years old after all). If it were my Jeep I would have said just let it go, but this car was pretty much mint.

Dude, their insurance company will pay for it, A lot of insurance companies advertise "accident forgiveness" programs where the people's rates won't even go up.

If the cost to repair the car might be more then the value of the car, in which case the insurance company will just pay you the difference (I think)
posted by delmoi at 1:46 AM on October 9, 2009

Having actually had this recently happen to my Miata, let me say with first hand experience that the shop quotes you get may not be what the final repair cost is.

A guy bumped into my Miata with his Jeep. The only damage was a minor dent to the bumper, and a dent in the front fender. It should have been an easy cheap repair. Pop out the fender and replace the bumper.

Three shops gave me quotes for $900 for the repair. I thought that was high, and figured they were just covering their bases. The guy that hit my car insisted on going through insurance, even though I was willing to work with him to avoid doing that.

Once we got it to the shop, they found that the headlight frame support had cracked, and the bumper support had also been bent. All told the final repair was $1800. (All of the work was approved by an adjuster from his insurance company that inspected the car at the shop to verify the damage was real.)

The difference between the quote and the final price is due to the fact that the damage couldn't be seen until after they took the bumper off. When an SUV hits a Miata, the Miata is going to take damage. Much of that damage may not be visible.

I wouldn't be opposed to giving him an out, but you'd have to have them sign a contract to pay the shop bill based on a quote after they've taken the bumper off. The risk is that you get three quotes for $500, and the final bill ends up being $1500. You either pay $1000 out of pocket, or let the car remain damaged. If you come back to the guy after he's given you $500 and ask for another $1000, I can almost guarantee he's going to say no.

My advice is to go with the insurance company. They'll make sure the car gets all necessary repairs. If it's his first accident in 40 years, then it shouldn't affect his rates. If it isn't, then he wasn't being truthful, and you can see where that's going. Insurance is there for a reason. Neither of you has to worry what the final bill is, and he may never even know or care.

Good luck, and I hope the car gets fixed properly. They're great commuter cars, and awesomely fun to drive when you're not getting run over. :)
posted by krisak at 4:46 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]

By now you know the answer is: get their insurance info and file a claim. No normal person would be offended at this or take it personally. Their first response should have been, "Oops! Sorry! Here's my insurance info!"

It doesn't matter how old the car is. You have suffered loss of value. As delmoi said, there is a chance that repairs might be more than the value of the car. In my experience (when an SUV slow-speed t-boned an old Escort of mine in a parking lot) the insurance company offered to "buy" the car at the totaled value, or let me keep it if I took about $100 less than the totaled valued. The $100 is the amount they would expect to get for it if they sold it for scrap. I kept the car and took the lesser check.

Don't go shopping prices until you call their insurance. They are very likely to send an adjuster right to your door to do the inspection.
posted by The Deej at 4:48 AM on October 9, 2009

If they're worried about their insurance going up, ask them if they'd prefer to just give you a check in the amount of the estimate you get.
posted by Brian Puccio at 6:32 AM on October 9, 2009

I, gently, hit someone a few months ago. Entirely my fault, traffic started moving in front of them, they didn't, I wasn't paying attention and drove straight into the car in front at about 5 mph. The other driver was kind enough to take the car to a shop they'd used before, who quoted $900, which was below my deductible. The shop fixed the car in one day so the other driver didn't get a rental and I paid the shop direct. It was all very reasonable and I was thankful that the other driver didn't demand that we get insurance companies involved.
posted by IanMorr at 7:37 AM on October 9, 2009

I'd be tempted to settle cash-in-hand for minor scrapes and dings. But people who back over Miatas in SUVs need to take an insurance hit, simply for educational purposes. And that is what insurance is for.
posted by holgate at 8:41 AM on October 9, 2009

I dont think you're being an ass. The EXACT same thing happened to my Miata. Twice. By SUVs that weren't looking behind them while they backed up when I was parallel parked behind them.

One of the times I was IN THE CAR and pounding on my horn as I saw them backing up closer and closer until.... CrUnCh up and over my bumper and hood they went.

I wasn't hostile with them. I understand mistakes happen. But when they said to me "Gosh, I didn't even see you back there!" I replied "Well, my car is way bigger than a child, so maybe you should start looking when you back-up."

It's not your fault in the least that this person ran over your car. You aren't faking a case of whiplash here, you just want your car repaired for the damage they inflicted. Nothing wrong at all with that.
posted by xotis at 9:20 AM on October 9, 2009

Nthing the just go the insurance route.

He gave you his insurance info, right? If he were deathly afraid of his insurance finding out about the incident he would've gone the entire "I'll take care of it, I'd prefer if we didn't get the insurance companies involved" route.

I was once "bumped" by another car in a parking lot. Cracked by front bumper. All in all, it wasn't a big deal. The lady said that she'd take care of it and that she'd prefer to leave the insurance companies out of it. I was trying to cut her a break. She never paid up after the work was done. At the end of the day, I was out $500.

And now I'm a bitter man.
posted by ASM at 10:38 AM on October 9, 2009

This also happened to me, although it was a Toyota, not a Miata. It is detailed in a harrowing askme question i'd rather not link to. the conclusion: people are scum, especially when car insurance is involved, especially people that drive SUVs. be defensive, protect yourself, and use that insurace!
posted by genmonster at 1:59 PM on October 9, 2009

A bulldozer drove into my miata (though we don't call them that in my market, preferring MX5 or Roadster), while it was parked off the street, on my property. (So just what the hell were they thinking, hmm?)

There must just be something magnetic about them.
posted by The Monkey at 3:38 AM on October 10, 2009

Response by poster: Hmm, by the way not hating on SUVs (for better or worse that's what my other car is, old Jeep Cherokee).
A new wrinkle. The driver that hit me gave me incorrect insurance information. I thin by accident but they have not returned my calls thus far. Unfortunately, my insurance company will not file a claim on my behalf (since I do not carry collision, never mind that I do for my other car and my wife's car!). So what is my next step if they do not call back? All other info seems correct, this may be an innocent mistake, it is a long w/e but I am getting worried that ther has been no response to my calls. Anyone else been in a similar situation in Massachusetts?
posted by evilelf at 5:25 PM on October 11, 2009

Did you happen to take down the individual's driver's license number? I'm not sure how, but that should be helpful in tracking this person down.
posted by ASM at 3:01 PM on October 12, 2009

Did you happen to take down the individual's driver's license number? I'm not sure how, but that should be helpful in tracking this person down.

Um... Everyone is legally required to register their car with the DMV??? ;-p
posted by StarmanDXE at 8:16 AM on October 14, 2009

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