Just in case the whole “being in a car accident/losing our only means of transportation” thing wasn’t enough, I seem to have developed a cold. A nasty one. I spent most of Saturday feeling sorry for myself and eating orange sherbet pops to cool off my throat. Blah.
The adjuster came out on Wednesday and assured me that he’d have a valuation no later than the next morning. We’re still waiting, even after the agent handling the case promised to remind him we were waiting on his call. But he seemed pretty certain that they would want to total the car.
The good news is that any actual injury does not seem to be forthcoming. My lower back is a little sore, but that seems to be mainly from the annoying/nasty cough that keeps being visited upon me.
But since I only rented a car for the weekend, that meant Tim and I had to haul ourselves around to some car lots. There we learned that $5,000 (or, preferably, less) will get you just about nothing. I had already suspected that much when looking on Auto Trader.
If we wanted something from 2000 or later, $5,000 didn’t yield many results. And almost all of those cars are way over the 100.000 mile point. A large number were over the 150,000 mile mark. Sheesh.
Based on my preliminary searches, we should be getting a whopping $2,500 (plus or minus) for the car. For a car that easily would have lasted us another few years. It was a 2001 and had 101,000 miles on it. We were prepared to drive it into the ground and buy our next car in cash.
Meanwhile, a 2000 Chevrolet Cavelier — that is, one year older — goes at a dealership for $2,995 and it was already gone when I inquired about it. When I asked if he had anything remotely comparable, he suggested something from 1991 (!!!).
I understand that insurance companies pay the worth of the car, but isn’t part of the worth the fact that it would be so much more expensive to replace?
I also understand that private party sales are cheaper but…
1. I grew up in Anchorage, where cars get a lot of wear and tear, so I have a natural mistrust of used cars. I know it’s irrational, but there it is.
2. Tim’s parents would often buy cars from private parties, only to regularly have to spend a good chunk of money on repairs until it just made more sense to get another new-to-them car.
Those two things have made us a little gun-shy on the private sale front.
It doesn’t help that we really haven’t found a mechanic we would rely on to check out cars for us. So even if we got to the for-sale car and got the owner’s permission, we don’t really know who we could take it to, let alone whether it could be looked at in a timely fashion. So, not really an option. And Tim and I know absolutely nothing about cars.
I did find a 2004 Cavalier for $4,995 that I went and checked out. It’s got 71,000 miles on it and some cosmetic damages, like the front flap of the dashboard (by the windshield) being cracked. But it seems to be just things like that.
I got them to agree to $4,500 out the door — tags, taxes, document fee — but made sure they understood that I would not be held financially responsible for the car until we had more information from the adjuster/insurance company. I asked three different times, in three different ways, whether we would be liable for any costs if the sale fell through. The answer was no each time.
So, the car will be held for me until Thursday, at which point I doubt much more will be settled. But that gives us a little more time to get things figured out… and maybe we can find someone by then to come take a look at the dang thing for us.
Does anyone else find it incredible that this woman’s moment of inattention and stupidity about traffic laws may end up costing us $2,000+? It seems like we should contact a lawyer about getting these extra expenses covered, but I’m not sure if that’s even something lawyers consider doing or if it’s only when there’s personal injury involved.
Arguably, there’s injury to our personal bank accounts. That should qualify, I think.