After the Crash
November 3, 2016 9:07 AM   Subscribe

So, Tuesday night I was rear ended, hard, by a speeding, inattentive driver without insurance. She was cited and all but -- no insurance. I seem to be free of injury but per the collision repair place, my poor 2005 Lincoln Town car, previously a vintage vehicle in creampuff condition, can't safely be repaired. I'd love advice on 1) dealing with my insurance adjuster and 2) replacement car purchase.

Currently I still have a very nice 2006 Subaru Outback with low miles. I'm interested on tips with dealing with my insurance company to get the best price for my poor Lincoln, which it seems certain they will total. I'm also thinking about trading in the Subaru and downsizing to own just one nice used car. I just loved how cushy the Lincoln was, and am considering a used Lincoln MKZ hybrid as my replacement car. I've haven't yet test driven a newer Lincoln so that's a tentative choice. I don't drive much but my husband and I do want something that will stand in for the Lincoln as comfortable and safe for local errand running and occasional road trips.

Any advice on the adjuster negotiations or on replacement car shopping choices and strategies? I've bought cars new before (except that I got the Lincoln as part of my share of my dad's estate) but never used.
posted by bearwife to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what there is to negotiate. Did you have collision insurance( I think that they call it "comprehensive"?)?

I am not an insurance agent, or a lawyer, and you don't say who your insurance company is, but, if you didn't have collision I think that all they are obliged to give you is the blue book value.

You would probably have to take this person to court to get anything beyond that.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 9:51 AM on November 3, 2016

Did you have collision insurance( I think that they call it "comprehensive"?)?

Comprehensive covers everything except collisions. Collision insurance is just for collisions.

OP is probably dealing with uninsured motorist coverage here, which covers things that the at-fault party's insurance would cover if they actually had insurance, which they don't.

But yeah, there is no negotiating to do. You will get what your policy specifies that you will get.
posted by kindall at 10:20 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Are you sure a new car is necessary? That Outback can go 300K miles easily. Another option is a Subaru Legacy; its safety is reknown and it might be a little softer than an Outback. For cushy ride quality, a Lincoln Town Car cannot be beat but maybe a Cadillac XTS or DTS might be close.
posted by dlwr300 at 10:20 AM on November 3, 2016

want something that will stand in for the Lincoln as comfortable and safe

Just to chime in, here, comfortable I'll give you, but a Lincoln Town Car is not a particularly safe car. In primary safety (the ability of the car to avoid an accident in the first place - a measure of its handling and road holding) the Town Cars are hideous. Yes, once you actually get hit you're doing pretty well (crash results are good for that car), but not enough people consider their cars ability to help them avoid having an accident in their considerations.
posted by Brockles at 10:49 AM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

The"problem" with older cars like that is that they aren't worth very much to begin with, so it doesn't take a lot to cause damage that costs more to repair then the car is worth, even if it is in good condition.

Find out what the actual cost of repair will be. A Town Car is a body-on-frame car, so it takes a very, very bad crash to make them unsafe to repair, unlike cars that don't have a separate frame. Sometimes the insurance company will specify repairs with more expensive parts or with a higher labor charge than what you can find yourself and will call it a total loss on that basis alone.

If you can get a decently low repair estimate, ask the insurance company what they will give you if you keep the car. They will reduce the payout by the estimated salvage value of the car, but if it was worth enough before the crash that might still be enough to repair it. (I'm assuming you have uninsured motorist property damage coverage or collision coverage, either one of which should pay the actual pre-crash value of the car less the deductible if they keep the wrecked car. You keeping the car reduces the payout by the salvage value)

A friend of mine is going through a similar thing with a Taurus that the insurance company is declaring a low speed side-impact collision a total loss due to the cost of replacing the airbags. Since he doesn't care about the side curtain airbags one whit (I wouldn't do the same, but it's his life), and can get it repaired and repainted for about $3k otherwise, he's keeping it and arranging repairs himself and just not fixing the side airbags. (They were optional, so it is apparently possible to keep the airbag controller from freaking out about them not being there)
posted by wierdo at 10:55 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

We have comprehensive insurance, with uninsured motorist coverage. That other driver is a dry hole, I am quite sure.

There probably are better choices than the Town Car for safety. Comfort also ranks high for us. The Lincoln was fun to drive, too -- lots of power, reasonably maneuverable for such a big car.

I could indeed keep driving the Subaru, and agree it has plenty of life left. But I've had it 10 years now. I think I will probably trade it in for something if I find a more appealing more late model car.
posted by bearwife at 10:59 AM on November 3, 2016

Oh, and believe me I'd repair the Lincoln, but the collision repair folks say it will cost $15-$20,000, for a car valued at best at about $10,000, and most importantly, that they wouldn't do it because they don't think it will be safe. Remarkably, it did experience frame damage. It was indeed a bad crash, because she was truly speeding and went right into my rear, totaling her own car in the process. I have no idea what was in her head. I am lucky to be OK (thank you, Lincoln.)
posted by bearwife at 11:02 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't have much insurance info to add to what's already been said, but: if you were in a high-speed rear-end collision just two days ago, be wary of telling your insurance company that you're physically fine. Symptoms of whiplash in your neck or back can take a few days to show up. At the very least, please see a physician soon if you haven't.
posted by lisa g at 11:12 AM on November 3, 2016 [10 favorites]

Annual appointment with my doc is tomorrow. I will get checked out, I promise. I know whiplash symptoms can be delayed but so far so good.
posted by bearwife at 12:33 PM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Go test drive a new Lincoln before you get your heart too set on one. They really don't have the classic Town Car feel anymore, ever since they decided they wanted to try to poach German car buyers.

Luckily old Town Cars are plenty available, cheap, and run forever. Get an old livery car (which was very likely well maintained) and you'll get 400-500k miles out of it easily.
posted by hwyengr at 1:00 PM on November 3, 2016

Thanks, hwyengr, I will think about that! And you are right, I need to go test drive.

Any other used car recommendations, hive mind? I'm looking for something for no more than $30,000, and preferably much less, in the luxury sedan/small SUV area. Not partial to BMW or Mercedes. Wondering about 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 year models. I have been researching myself but it would be good to narrow the field before test driving.
posted by bearwife at 1:34 PM on November 3, 2016

Replacing the car is secondary.

In the USA, you are now at odds with your own insurance company and you need to be very careful what you say to them because it is in their interest to pay as little as possible. It hasn't been long enough to know if you are injured yet and please don't tell them that you are not. I got in a head-on with an uninsured motorist and three days later could not get out of bed.

That pleasant modulated voice on the phone is not a friend.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:22 PM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

I just had a vehicle totaled. While I worked through the other driver's insurance, my one piece of advice is to pull as many comparables from craigslist/edmonds/carsoup of your totaled car with similar mileage in your area. When you get the offer, they will show you the specs of the vehicles they used for their comparison. If their comps aren't equivalent to your totaled car (ie a lot higher mileage, or they are being sold in a place with a different cost of living), you can send them the examples you found to have your offer re-evaluated. I got a 33% increase on my buy-out offer just from that one step.
posted by Think_Long at 4:55 PM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

« Older Help my family Secret Santa   |   Tricks to help me be more chill about life Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.