My car got severely damaged in an accident
January 7, 2018 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Now what? Also looking for suggestions on best cars for under 10,000 dollars

Two-fold question.

1) It was parked by a grocery store. Someone was turning right out of the lot and they managed to hit a moving car and my car, causing "severe damage" to all three vehicles. I was on a date and when I went to get my car so we could go to our destination there was debris all over the road, woohoo! The accident report from the cops says there was "severe damage" that will cost over 1,000 dollars. It... doesn't look good.

I'm filing with my insurance. I have to pay the deductible and they said I would eventually be reimbursed that amount (500 dollars) by the other insurance company. I have renter's insurance, so I can rent a car for free for a month until I get back on my feet a bit. I chose not to go through his insurance because I didn't have their information, and it would have taken longer, and it just sounded more complicated that way. I'm going to call the impounding shop tomorrow and release it to my insurance. They'll take it to a collision shop and evaluate if it can be repaired. I'll also get a rental through my insurance.

Eventually what's supposed to happen, assuming it's been totaled, is that I'll get reimbursed the value of the car, MINUS, the deductible amount (which is 500 dollars). It sounds like I can be fairly hands off here because I'm not at fault. But what else do I need to know? What else do I need to be doing? I've never been in an accident so this is all new to me (though, ironically, this same thing happened to my father three years ago. We're cursed!!!!! But anyway).

2) I'm (probably) in the market for a new car. My car was a 2008 nissan versa with around 63,500 miles on it. It was in good shape. I'm a struggling grad student with not much disposable income (see: none) but I do have some savings and I should be getting a hefty amount in loans. I'm living off my savings a bit right now so I'd rather not touch them. What's out there? I have about an hour commute round trip every day, though that will decrease by the summer. I'm in Buffalo, NY. I don't have parking, and I'm in the city, so the roads can be tough if the weather's bad.

It NEEDS to be reliable. I don't have money to spend on repairs. It doesn't need to be fancy but fuck I need to be able to rely on it to start and get me to my destination and not have expensive repairs. It also needs to be safe, and good in the snow, again. What's out there? I'm willing to take on a small monthly payment if that will get me a better, safer, newer car. But I don't want to spend over 10,000.

Thanks in advance.
posted by Amy93 to Travel & Transportation around Buffalo, NY (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Basic used Honda Civic would probably meet your needs and have cheap repairs if any do end up needed, since parts are so common.
posted by limeonaire at 8:42 PM on January 7, 2018

That sucks! Read up on getting a better payout for your car, you don't have to simply take what they offer.

You should be able to find a less than 10yo Honda Civic with under 75K for less than $10K. Just to see what's out there in general, here's an ebay motors search for AWD <$10K if you want to try something more amenable to the weather there.
posted by rhizome at 8:44 PM on January 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I came in to say a Honda Fit. Mine goes and goes and goes. It's a 2008 and it has a bunch of miles on it and has never given me any kind of problems. Honda or Toyota FTW.

As for the insurance, they will sort things out but you have to advocate for yourself always. Call everyone back, fill out the paperwork they ask you to, stay on top of it, try and get the other driver's info if you can, don't stress too much and it will all be ok. Deep breath.
posted by rabu at 8:46 PM on January 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

My car got hit while parked when I was a grad student, as well, and was assessed to be totaled. The details will really depend on the state's insurance rules, and I don't know how NY's work. In my situation, because the car was parked, there was no discussion of fault and the insurance side was extremely straight-forward. It took a little while for everything to be sorted out, but that was mostly with the different insurance companies talking to one another. The only serious issue for me was getting the car from the impound lot to a place my insurance was paying for. In my case it took a few days (the accident was quite far from where I lived) and I had to pay quite a lot because of it. My main suggestion is get on top of that fast, because tow yard bills add up quickly.
posted by Schismatic at 8:52 PM on January 7, 2018

I already PM’d the OP, but I’ll state for the record that the Mazda3 from around 2008-2010 is super reliable, in that price range, and super cute and fun.
posted by matildaben at 10:04 PM on January 7, 2018

Sorry about your car. Bad luck. I'm glad you weren't in it and are properly insured.

I've also had good experiences with Hondas and Toyotas, but wanted to warn you that certain models of Hondas and Toyotas are routinely on the Top 10 Most Stolen Cars list. That may affect your insurance rates (and peace of mind), so you may want to avoid those years and the other car models on that list.

Also, Toyota settled a class action lawsuit regarding engine sludge in some of their vehicles, so you might want to avoid those years and models too. It doesn't say so in the article, but I remember when that issue started gaining prominence in the news, the sludge problem seemed to be more common in areas prone to snow and freezing temperatures.

Just a heads up. Good luck in your search.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 12:38 AM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just want to say that you deciding to not even deal with the person WHO CAUSED THE GODDAMN ACCIDENT's insurance is not the brightest thing to do. I would highly recommend procuring this person's insurance info and having your insurance company contact his insurance company to pay for repairs/total out the car. Also, you need to wait for an assessment of the damage.
posted by kuanes at 4:48 AM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

I would highly recommend procuring this person's insurance info and having your insurance company contact his insurance company to pay for repairs/total out the car.

When my own car was damaged by an overhead sign that came unglued and fell on it while it was parked in the street, I decided on the basis of prior dealings with insurers that this was an experience I didn't care to repeat, and dealt directly with the owner of the sign instead.

I got one quote from a repairer I already trusted to fix the damage properly, asking him to quote the largest amount he could reasonably expect the repair to cost and estimate the longest time he would reasonably expect me to be without the use of my car; got another quote from a rental car place for a replacement car for that period; and wrote to the sign's owner, attaching both quotes and a letter of demand.

I subsequently received an offer from their insurer for the exact amounts I'd asked for, conditional on signing an agreement that this would settle the matter completely. I accepted it and they paid up very promptly. And in fact I came out a little ahead on the deal, because I didn't need the rental car for the full period I'd asked for.

I fully expected that their insurer would have instructed them to forward any claims made directly to the insurer and not respond in any other way, but I could see no reason at all why the existence of a business relationship between the party who injured me and that party's insurer should be the slightest bit relevant to me unless and until they made me an offer I was happy with.

Had their insurer tried a counter-offer that I was not happy with, I would have continued addressing my side of the negotiations not to the insurer, but to the owner of the sign. Because it was their negligence, not that of their insurer, that had damaged my car and they, not their insurer, whom I intended to sue in small claims court had suitable compensation not been forthcoming.

Don't pick fights with entities who can afford better lawyers than you can.
posted by flabdablet at 5:29 AM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just want to say that you deciding to not even deal with the person WHO CAUSED THE GODDAMN ACCIDENT's insurance is not the brightest thing to do. I would highly recommend procuring this person's insurance info and having your insurance company contact his insurance company to pay for repairs/total out the car.

I might be reading too much between the lines here, but I don't think the OP did anything wrong here. The OP mentioned an accident report, which would imply that the police had collected information about the other person and it could be made available as needed. In this case I would absolutely turn it over to my insurance and let them sort it out. The OP's insurance company absolutely has a vested interest in getting the other party's insurance to pay up, and they have the lawyers to do it. No reason the OP should make life more complicated for themselves - that's what they pay insurance premiums to handle.
posted by handful of rain at 6:48 AM on January 8, 2018 [8 favorites]

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