Car Accident Update

This is just an update to my prior post about the car accident in which I was involved. As you recall, another driver traveling at about 35mph collided head-on with my Corolla, which was traveling at about 10mph. Airbags all around, no major injuries, and the other driver was at fault and cited for failure to yield.

His insurance company, State Farm, has decided to total out my car. They initially offered me $6,000 or so, plus a few hundred for tax, title, etc., so around $6400. Most everyone I talked to said that it’s a take it or leave it situation, but I have to tell you that it is not. Their initial offer is just that– an offer.

I had a list of reasons why my car was improperly valued, focusing on the fact that the NADA website states that they only list the most common options. My contention was that the appraiser missed quite a few options for which I paid (Winter package w/ upgraded starter and heat, color-keyed mirrors (match the body paint), a trailer hitch (used for my bike rack), and floor and trunk mats). I had the original sticker from the day I bought my car (Oct 28, 2000), and I knew exactly what I paid for those options. I used them as a negotiating tactic– “You valued a base-model Corolla, which my car was not”– and was able to get them to up the offer a little bit. Hey, something is better than nothing, right?

I was able to talk them up to an even $7,000, which to me isn’t that bad. Hell, $6,500 wasn’t bad, and was certainly more than what I’d get were I to sell the car outright, prior to the accident. But, $7,000 is better. The car had a broken windshield, the lights on the dashboard had started to go out, the Savannah heat had caused just about all the door and window seals and plastic to pop (some torn right off), the interior was in terrible shape, the door was missing an interior handle, and I had never even checked– let alone replaced– my transmission fluid and antifreeze. Of course, I had done some repairs to the car– two new tires for $100 or so, and new brake drums and pads on the back for another $60 or so, plus my own labor. So I only got to use those parts for about 90 days.

I’d say $7,000 is pretty fair.

So tomorrow, Jaime is taking the day off and we’re buying a car. We’ll have the $7,000 to spend, along with up to $3,000 that is available to us from our bank if we need it.

I’ll let you know what we get!

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