By on May 7, 2017

car wreck crash vintage Chevrolet

Safety enhancements are, undoubtedly, a good thing. People are walking away from wrecks that would have been fatal a few decades earlier and crash avoidance systems can keep inattentive drivers out of trouble altogether. The downside is that these features have made vehicles more expensive to purchase and repair.

Bob Tschippert, the senior vice president of underwriter Risk Theory, says that advancements in technologies have made vehicle repairs so costly that insurance companies have begun declaring substantially more injured cars a total loss. “In the past, if you had a front-end collision, you had damage to the engine or the front end,” Tschippert explained. “But now, with the number of airbags that can run from $1,000 up to $4,000 and all the sensors up front, you’re seeing more totals.” 

Speaking with Automotive News, Tschippert said the issue was being exacerbated by the increased number of drivers on American roads. Federal Highway Administration data suggests a 2.4 percent increase in the number of miles driven by Americans in the last year — resulting in a record 3.22 trillion odometer clicks between February 2016 and 2017. And more drivers covering more ground means more accidents.

Even though the criteria for deciding when a car is a total loss — and how it can be repaired — varies between insurance companies and states, all have seen an increase in vehicles that fit the bill over the last few years.

That’s great news if you’re hoping to pick up a salvage title or spare parts on a late model unit. In March, Insurance Auto Auctions Inc. announced it would be expanding on some of its largest auctions in at least seven states. However, it isn’t so wonderful if you were hoping to get your insured automobile back after what you had assumed was a relatively minor incident. The odds of it surviving being plugged into an insurance company’s total loss formula are worse than ever.

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73 Comments on “Advancements in Tech Makes More Wrecked Vehicles too Expensive to Repair...”


  • avatar

    The advancement in technology had made cars more complicated.
    Even a minor front-end collision, an insurance company may declare the car totaled as it may cost more to repair than the value of car

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      Yea but people can buy back their car from the insurance company for pennies on the dollar instead letting them go to the impound lot. Find somewhere cheap to fix and get the car retitled.

  • avatar
    Ion

    This is misleading. More vehicles that are 10 years or older are on the road than ever before due to increased reliability. The value of a 10 year old vehicle is obviously less than a brand new vehicle. If you deploy an airbag in a 30,000 new car, it’s no big deal. Deploy an airbag in a 10 year old car worth 3,000 or less, that’s a total.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Most people don’t wreck, either.

      Many who do not carry insurance, or only liability, will fix their own cars with parts from a junk yard.

      I lost count of all the hundreds of pulled-parts I used from our local junk yards to fix cars I bought for cheap from the lemon lot.

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    In 2021, a five year old BMW will be totaled because of a cracked headlight lens nesessitating a full HID system replacement. Verdict: Totaled! Off to the government mandated recycle yard where it will cost $5,000 to dismantle the vechile and recycle said parts. However, no parts may be reused per government environmental regulaitons claiming new parts are superior for the environment.

    New vechiles will have disposal fees built into new car prices and held in trust by a well connected disposal company.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      Won’t be the government (except to enforce bogus ‘contracts’). Expect every single part to be licensed instead of sold (like software, or all music since Edison invented the record player).

      Google “John Deere repair” to see where we are heading without any new laws or regulations. But keep on insisting it is “government regulations” while industry locks down everything you “own”.

      • 0 avatar
        ScarecrowRepair

        John Deere couldn’t get away with that crap without government assistance in creating crony Intellectual Property laws.

        So many times, when people complain that a private business is screwing people over, all you have to do is see what regulations and incentives exist as created by government, if you want to understand what is unseen as opposed to merely seen.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          If a private business bribes — excuse me, makes campaign contributions — to get government to pass a law benefiting that company at my expense, then yes, it is still that private company screwing me over.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            “If a private business bribes — excuse me, makes campaign contributions — to get government to pass a law benefiting that company at my expense, then yes, it is still that private company screwing me over.”

            Would the company be able to screw you over if the elected officials were limited in the scope of their control over your life? People want to do horrible things to you. Only the government can make it happen lawfully.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            .

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      …However, no parts may be reused per government environmental regulaitons claiming new parts are superior for the environment…

      If you wish your post to support your anti-government, anti regulation attitude, you should select something that at least might make some sense. What you wrote is absolutely counter to you mindset.

      • 0 avatar
        ScarecrowRepair

        You don’t know my mindset. You don’t know what’s counter to it.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        …However, no parts may be reused per government environmental regulaitons claiming new parts are superior for the environment…

        “If you wish your post to support your anti-government, anti regulation attitude, you should select something that at least might make some sense. What you wrote is absolutely counter to you mindset.”

        Spoken like someone who isn’t getting paid by his local government and the EPA to run a 53,000 BTU waste oil heater whenever nobody is in his building in the name of the environment.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    My concern is when you start hitting the law of diminishing returns.

    I would love to see statistics about how much “safer” say 10 air bags are in a vehicle versus 2. This mandated safety equipment just starts piling on to where it will make vehicle ownership unaffordable for the middle class all to chase that .001% “more safe” goal.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “I would love to see statistics about how much “safer” say 10 air bags are in a vehicle versus 2. This mandated safety equipment just starts piling on to where it will make vehicle ownership unaffordable for the middle class all to chase that .001% “more safe” goal.”

      The same goes with emissions. You can chase aftaer that .001% reduction in emissions goal for the 2018 models, or you can simply GIVE 2017 models to to the millions of people driving spewing clunkers and take said clunkers and crush them–and you would spend a LOT less, and you would realize a HUGE reduction in *actual* emissions day to day.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Get out of here with your logic. The B&B absolutely HATES Cash for Clunkers.

        Your idea works, BTW. The air quality management districts in a couple of particularly polluted California locales briefly offered money toward used EVs for low-income drivers: scrap the gross-polluting 1990 Explorer and get a used Leaf for peanuts. It’s not like you were going to risk a road trip in the Explorer anyway. Given the super-low cost of obsolete first-gen used EVs, and the super-high smog impact of gross polluters whose owners can’t afford to fix them, it was a cheap and effective strategy. The sticking point — charging, given that poor people don’t usually own a house with a garage — was addressed in part with free charging at the public library, where kids and parents could get smarter and more employable while waiting for the car to charge. Bonus: car dealers finally had someone to take those 2012 Leafs off their hands.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Well there are 240,000,000 million vehicles on the road in the US so a .001% increase in safety could save 240,000 lives or about 132% of the people in my hometown. A pittance in the overall scheme of things even with collateral damage(emotional trauma for family and friends) but still a worthy goal I think.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        There are close to 40,000 automotive fatalities per year in the U.S. A .001% improvement would save one person every couple years or so.

        Also, the U.S. does not have 240 trillion vehicles on the road!

      • 0 avatar
        AJ

        You also have to consider as new cars get more expensive, people will tend to keep driving older cars longer that are less safe and become more less safe as the cars age, just because they can’t afford a new one.

        Not to mention the cost of maintaining today’s cars with all of their additional electronics…

      • 0 avatar

        This math is not math.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    However, and I may be incorrect, are not new car prices much like the price for electronics, actually lower in comparison to gross incomes than they were? Particularly for the lower end, entry level models that you can get from $10k to $17k?

    What would it have cost, in adjusted dollars, if you could even get one, to buy a new vehicle in the 60’s to 80’s with comparable equipment to a new Dodge Journey?

    However, it is much more difficult to get a ‘good’ used car for a very inexpensive price. How many $1k used cars are there that are available and would pass any mandatory government licensing requirements?

    And was ‘Ion’ posted, with increased repair costs and more old cars on the road, more chances that an old car will be involved in an accident and written off.

    • 0 avatar
      whitworth

      No, cars have increased in price well past the level of inflation across the board.

      Obviously cars now all have technology that was simply not even available years ago like say touch screens, but comparing it to something like consumer electronics is just not an apt comparison. Something like a laptop was $4,000 20 years ago is now like $400, meaning a huge swath of new people now have access.

      The cost of ownership is what matters, and that has been going up and up to where new car ownership for the middle class is going to be something from a bygone era unless you want to be a debt slave for 8+ years.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Adjusting for inflation, old cars typically cost less than their modern day equivalents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has an inflation calculator that is pretty handy in assessing old vehicle MSRP. Granted, those old cars have fewer bells and whistles, but even fully equipped models don’t drive the price up quite so dramatically as modern cars.

      Here’s a quick example. A ’71 Ford Pinto Runabout, adjusted for inflation, comes in around $9,650 and a base Fiesta hatchback from today is $13,660. It’s not a perfect comparison but provides a little insight.

      • 0 avatar
        ScarecrowRepair

        But those older cars wouldn’t last as long, would require more repairs, and would get worse mileage.

        The increased aging of the car stock is a good starting point. If cars last 50% longer with less maintenance, you have to factor that in. How many Pintos lasted 100K miles before any maintenance expenses? How many miles between oil changes, and how long did tires last? How much fuel did they use?

        • 0 avatar
          whitworth

          You might think the “new” higher pricing represents more value, I can understand that argument, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the actual vehicle price has well passed wages and inflation, and it keeps going up. In most consumer electronics, the actual price keeps going down.

          At a certain point, it’s going to be a situation where only the 1% can buy new cars anymore. I would argue we’re pretty close to that now, creative financing is about the only way the middle class can buy a new car anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I have to say that vehicle prices have not outpaced inflation and wages but it does depend on the kind of job one has. Some job wages like unskilled sawmill or pulpmill labour has stagnated but that is more of a case of wages realigning with value of work performed.

            The 1990 F250 I purchased in 1990 ran through the inflation calculator means its price is on par with a 2017 model. The 2017 model is much better equipped. 5.0 versus 6.2. 5 speed manual versus 6 speed auto. Around 1,500 lbs cargo versus over double that. I can go on.
            If I look at wages, I’m currently well ahead of the inflation curve. The only thing reducing my disposable income is children.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            I don’t bemoan the loss of ultra-cheap new cars; it’s mostly the market speaking. Thing is, if old cars wouldn’t even make 100k mi, but 200k is no sweat for new ones…and new-car buyers don’t want to keep the same car for 200k mi…then there’s a huge pool of great used cars at wonderfully depreciated prices to choose from. You can still do it the other way around — buy a new Mirage or Versa instead of a used Accord — but most people prefer the used Accord, thankyouverymuch.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        Good point, Matt.

        But is there any or enough data out there available to plug in three things into a formula:

        1) the longer life of cars

        2) gas and oil products for vehicles, adjusted for inflation, are allegedly just about as low as they have ever been in since they started tracking it. This affects TCO.

        3) the higher residual value of cars on the used and auction markets

        I assume the insurance companies have factors like these down to the penny.

        I ask because I have a 10 yr old luxury branded car (often the steepest depreciating vehicles), and last year, I had some damage to my passenger side doors. My guess is that a large truck or van or something with a bad or drunk driver tried to park next to me. It was a long dent scratch along the lower half. Coming out of a store to see that pissed me off.

        Anyway, I assumed my car would be totaled for that, but my insurance paid $7000k plus for repairs, and told me that my car’s value was much higher than I thought.

    • 0 avatar

      It depends on what class of car and what year range. Over the last 30 years trucks and in particular SUV’s have outpaced inflation. where as subcompact cars have not. But if you go back 40 years they have. On average selling price per car is higher now after inflation then it was in most points in history. To Lou, you may have done better but in general in the US middle class wages have not done that well. Over the last 17 years or so US median wage has been even or under inflation.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        I may have based my original post on the car versus housing comparison.

        I paid $10,600 for a new ‘top of the line’ Corvette when the average house price in the GTA was around $50k.

        A new Corvette in Canada now starts at $65k. The average home price in the GTA as of last month was $916k.

        So car prices increased by just over 6 times while housing prices increased by 18 times.

        Minimum wage was was 2.75 in actual dollars then, it is $11.40 now or an increase of just over 4 times.

        However in ‘constant’ dollars it was slightly higher then. In fact the actual ‘buying power’ of the earnings of the average Canadian worker (and American worker) peaked between 1974 and 1977.

        Back then those things did not worry me as I was earning more than the average major league baseball player. The MLB average is now $4.7 million per year. My earnings have certainly not kept pace.

        Canadian statistics linked.
        http://www.canadasocialreport.ca/MinimumWages/2015.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @mopar4wd – You do have a valid point. There are multiple variables that factor into wages versus inflation. Region plays a big role and so does education.
        I was reading an article in my local paper that indicated smaller towns in “the North” were facing big changes with shrinking job opportunities due to stagnant local economies. The oil and gas implosion factors into that but also it is cheaper to haul logs a longer distance to a highly automated saw mill than it is to run them through an older inefficient mill. Larger centres have fared better. Even in my part of the world, we are seeing centralization/urbanization. I’ve seen similar job shifts as what was experienced in the USA’s automotive heartland.

  • avatar
    Windy

    Aside from this interesting topic the image of the early 1920s Chevy withe broken wooden wheels is quite fascinating to me.
    I recall my grandfather telling me that long dry spells after a wet and humid period could dry out the early wheels made of wooden spokes… to the extent that when he had a job in Arizona right after it became a state he watered his wheels regularly and one year he even would remove the wheels and soak them in a horse trough every weekend… at the time he was there he had a monocle Stutz.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Another aspect. If a new/newer vehicle is written off, add-ons like extended warranty & rustproofing vaporize. Just something to keep in mind when shopping.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Extended service contracts are cancelled and pro rated. Once the car is deemed a total loss, and the bank is notified they contact the warranty co to cancel asap to minimize their potential loss.

      Rust proofing is a hard add and can’t be cancelled.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    IIRC in BC 60% value is the cut off as to what constitutes a write off. A colleague of mine was told that her 2 year old CR-V would have been written of if the passenger airbag had deployed.
    One solution to all this is to consider replacement cost insurance. If your vehicle is a write off, it gets replaced. If write offs are becoming more common, it makes sense to purchase.

    • 0 avatar

      Depends where you are and what company. I know in some places they can go up to the value of the car less value of salvage. SO 10k car 8k damage with 2k salvage equlas totals. 7k damage not totaled.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        mopar4wd – valid point. In BC we have a provincial “socialized” insurance. So it is consistent across the board. Basic coverage is mandatory through “them”. One can chose to get collision, glass, theft insurance through private carriers.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Back in the late 80s I was at a salvage yard inspecting the totalled Chevy A-body that my wife and daughter had walked away from with bruises from the restraints and little else. The guy who ran the place told me “in the old days, we’d bury the people and fix the car.”

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      This. I was surprised to find that insuring my new sportscar was not as expensive as I thought it would be comparison to the insurance on my then 20 year old Probe GT. The Geico rep told me that due to the advance in safety and crash protection, the added cost of more totaled cars was way outstripped by the cost saving in terms of injury. So, a fair trade off. The car gives its life to save yours.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @golden2husky – agreed. A write off is a simple math calculation. In my jurisdiction it is 60% of market value.
        What is a human life valued at?
        An over-simplistic calculation is retirement age minus age at death multiplied by annual income.
        I’m betting that if most on this blog did that math, it would be much more than the payout on a wrecked car.

        • 0 avatar
          pdieten

          Yeah, that’s just the thing. Total out a car, the payout is in four or five figures. You total out a human, the payout is in six or seven figures. It’s not too hard to figure out whether the insurance company would prefer to preserve the human or the car.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    The misunderstanding here is thinking the insurance companies have much say in the decision.

    I believe most states have a law based upon a formula the insurance agencies must follow.

    I recently had my home burglarized and while going through the drawers they found the keys to my Escape in storage.

    When the police finally did find it….after following the state set rules… they had to total.

    Nothing they or I could do about it.

    The only negotiating was the amount. I got a few dollars more just because I could prove the car was seldom driven and had a fraction of miles for its age.

    I still got hurt…but not as badly as I could have been.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I myself would rather junk the vehicle and walk away from it. Vehicles do last longer but when they get some years on them they are too expensive to fix when they are in an accident. There will always be some who are do it your self fixers who will fix damage from salvage yard parts but most people will not and most vehicles that get totaled will not be repaired especially if they are older. Many states also will reissue titles showing that a vehicle was salvaged even if it is repaired if it was declared totaled by the insurance. It is much harder than it was in the past to hide that a rebuilt vehicle was totaled. VINs are not that hard to track.

    The trend in new vehicles appears to be toward not being able to change your own oil or any type of maintenance. I believe that eventually all vehicles will not have engine oil or transmission oil dipsticks nor will you be able to add any type of fluids. Fluid levels might be sealed in and will only be changed by dealers or repair facilities. This is not something that I look forward to but we are seeing this with BMW and some GM products. There are even a few lawn mowers that have sealed oil that cannot be changed. There is more of a push to get people to lease vehicles instead of buying. Manufacturers and dealers do not want people to hold onto their vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “The trend in new vehicles appears to be toward not being able to change your own oil or any type of maintenance.”

      I haven’t noticed that. Pull off some plastic pieces and everything looks basically the same to me as it always did.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    Ok, so the parts are more expensive. BUT, shouldn’t there be an offset because of the reduced propensity for the driver and passengers to suffer injury? People are the most expensive to repair, not the car. Just sayin’ Insurance companies are bandits.

  • avatar
    brn

    “can run from $1,000 up to $4,000 and all the sensors up front”

    I cry BS. Most cars don’t have much more than a light sensor up front. A small minority have a couple of distance sensors up front. They’re about $20 each. Sure, some cars get pretty advanced, but they’re still very rare.

    For 99% of the cars on the road, the range should be from $100 to $400. If it’s higher, there’s a couple of reasons.
    1. Your car is better at driving than you are.
    2. 4000% markup on parts.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Read it again. They’re talking about the cost of replacing the airbags. It sounds right, considering I just looked at a $3,700 estimate for some SIPS airbags for a fifteen year old Volvo S80 that went bad with age. The car is now junk, even though it started, looked, and drove fine. No Virginia Safety Inspection with a lit SRS light.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        Yup. I bought a wrecked 2001 Lesabre with both front airbags deployed. It got totalled because of the almost $4K to replace the airbags, airbag module, dashboard, and windshield. If not for the airbag deployment, the very light front end damage would have been repaired and the car returned to its owner.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Sometimes lights just go out don’t ya know, you just have to hack it till it works.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Yep, I screwed up in my reading comprehension on this one.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Recently I had 2 neighbors crash their new Corollas and I expected them to be repaired since the damage did not seem that bad, but to my surprise, they were both declared total losses by the ins company. All airbags deployed, that alone costs a small fortune.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      In Virginia an airbag deployment is automatic total loss. I don’t care if you were the victim of a squirrel falling off a tree and hitting just the right spot, if an airbag pops the car is totaled.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        In Virginia, a vehicle is a total loss if the damage is 75% or more of the actual cash value. That being said, if there is an airbag deployment on a $10K car, chances are the repair cost will be near the 75% ACV number.

        I’ve handled claims in Virginia for an auto insurance company. I can think of a few examples that we did total out that had an airbag deploy. It’s been a few years though. Things may have changed.

        http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title46.2/chapter16/section46.2-1602.1/

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          The rule of thumb on airbags is somewhere around $2500 per to replace. So a new Corolla has a value of 20k. 75% is 15k.

          Wreck with a passenger and pop four bags front and side curtains you have 10k in damage before you even consider sheet metal, paint glass so on and so forth. 15k in body damage is not a hard figure to get to, depending on the make with out air bag deployment.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            You are right. If more than on airbag pops on a sub $20K car, it’s probably getting totaled.

            Also, you someone gets rear-ended pretty hard, and the bumper has to be replaced, the sheet metal behind the wheels is messed up, and the trunk is pushed in, that vehicle is getting totaled.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Back in the early 2000s, there was one insurance company I dealt with, I seem to think it was Liberty Mutual, who would, under very specific circumstances, repair an otherwise-total-loss for really elderly drivers. The rationale was that the person would be more prone to have another wreck if they had to learn the controls in a new car, and it was statistically safer and cheaper for the insurance company to get them back in a car they were familiar with.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The insurance company I worked at would do that too. We’d cut a check for the total loss amount, and the owner could keep the vehicle. If they decided to have it repaired, they could do so.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    It is my understanding that a lot of the late model cars that are deemed total loss, it is actually cheaper for the insurance CO to sell the car to scrappers than pay for the parts and labor to fix the car, in the US.

    It is however….an affordable option to put the wrecked Lexus/RR/MB/insert high dollar make in a shipping container with some parts and send it to a country that has people willing to work for $1.75 an hour and put the car back together. Especially if said country is run by war lords or what have you and don’t necessarily have a concern that airbags are re-inserted post detonation. Cost of repair comes down quite a bit if you don’t put the bags back in.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s still your car, you get to keep if you want, but with light damage you’re only buying it back for scrap value, and the balance of the settlement is yours. If it’s a 10 year old pickup with “golf ball” size hail dents, they only add character.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    I believe it. My father has a BMW F-10 5 series. He’s been rear ended 3 times and each time, not a single airbag deployed. Those first 2 times did not require too much work. However, this past incident, he got rear ended with enough inertia for the Headrests to deploy in a protective angle. (this was in Rush Hour stop and go traffic) The car’s warning lights lit up upon impact and told him that the car is not safe to drive thus,we had to go pick him up while the other car, could still drive away. In total, his car costed 10K to repair and his rates did not go up.

    3 months later, his car was involved in a hit and run while parked at his work. Even after parking far away from everyone else in the lot, someone still managed to hit his car, setting off the alarm and, they drove away pretending nothing happened. He did not find out his car was damaged till he walked back 14 hours later. Even with a small dent, they still managed to hit the blindspot monitoring camera causing a hassle to fix (2 weeks, a $4k bill and higher rates.)

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Late braker no doubt! Rear ended 3 times in the same car? I won’t ride in a car if the driver is late braking. Drives me nuts! Here I’ve driven well over a million miles of mixed driving and not a single rear end collision involvement, giver or receiver.

      Why? ‘Cause I brake gradual-like and bring those behind me to a nice casual stop. They may hate it and try to get around me, but what’s the damn hurry racing up to a set of stopped cars?

      Always assume cars behind you are paying less attention than you. But they sure notice you when you’re “holding them up” coming up to a red.

      As a passenger I was in a rear end collision and it won’t happen again. She was a late braker and it definitely wasn’t her 1st time rear ended.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Where in the hell does your father live? I don’t think I’ve been dinged that many times in ~15 years of driving.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The photo looks like one by Theodor Horydczak, who was active in DC and the surrounding area in the first half of the 20th Century, usually doing commissions for architects and construction companies.

    http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/thc/

  • avatar
    Salzigtal

    Matt, thanks for the photo. Time to call a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheelwright I haven’t even seen that in crossword puzzles.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Denver Mike and Lou_BC agree. If you get into an accident by tailgating someone or late braking it is your fault and you waste your time by spending it with police reports and insurance claims. If you see someone tailgating do not speed up if you are going the speed limit–either get over to the right lane if it is a multi-lane road or slow down. If I see a traffic light change I will take my foot off the accelerator and prepare to coast then stop. There are times that you have to emergency brake but it is better to anticipate ahead of time when possible.

  • avatar
    barionw7

    this just happened to me. I bought 2010 Chrysler town & country loaded with options and only 77,000 for $10,990 last month. Carguru had it as being $2200 below market value. I got into a minor accident, less than 30 mph, only the front drivers side damaged. I have had harder hits in bumper cars. I even told adjuster that it didn’t even need an alignment job, it still drove straight. I was presented with an estimate of nearly $8000 and they want to total it. It is hard to find a decent used minivan and I got spoiled with the options on this one. I feel they inflated the estimate, there is over $1200 for my rear bumper and side quarter panel which were not involved in the accident. Also, he put down I needed a new radiator, air condenser, and horn although he never even popped the hood. My radiator is not leaking, a/c and the horn are working fine. There are a bunch of +$25 on the estimate that I do not understand. They have a used headlight listed as $175 + $25, but I can buy a brand new one at Auto Zone for $140. Instead of listing a hood assembly kit, they listed the hood and every hinge and latch separately. I have no idea what they are doing to my antenna that requires 1 hour of labor, its is on the passenger side and was not damaged. I had also told the adjuster that I may be able to get most all the parts from a certain salvage year because I had 2 2005 dodge caravans that I want to get rid of and they were interested in making a deal. He stated that that salvage yard was not listed in the estimate, probably because their used parts are from high mileage vehicles. I understand that maybe a concern with engine parts, but I am pretty sure a hood from a van with 200,000 miles on it functions the same as a hood from a van with 20,000 miles on it. I am trying to negotiate the claim and I have gotten two of my own estimates, which if you use my estimates, I would be just below the salvage threshold, so they would have to pay for the repair and not get the benefit of reselling the salvage vehicle. Also, since the claim would be lesser in dollars, my premiums would not increase as much as if taking the total loss claim. So repairing my van would cost them more than salvaging it. They can get a high dollar value still for the salvage and someone would get a good deal and I am stuck looking for another minivan, I hate car shopping and it took 2 months to find this one.

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