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Old 08-01-2014, 02:21 PM   #1
theK
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Should I keep car declared a Total Loss?

I recently got into an accident and my '99 Escort SE was declared a total loss. Here's the details of the car:

Value of car: $1713
Cost of repairs $2700-$3000
Mileage: 183,156
Miles on current engine: 146,276 (installed after 37,000 miles)
Transmission flushed at 123,650 miles

I'd like some feedback on whether I should keep the car. I have the funds to buy a new one, but I'd rather use it to invest in a down payment on a house. If I keep the car and if it lasts up to 195,000-205,000 miles,approximately two years worth of commuting, the engine would have 160,000-170,000 miles on it. In this scenario, it may be worth keeping, since I plan to work from home full-time by then. At that point, I'd only be using it less than 20 miles a week.

The problem is I don't know how long I can expect my engine and transmission to last. If I have to replace the engine and transmission within that time frame, I'd consider letting Geico have the car.

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-06-2014, 03:01 PM   #2
denisond3
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Re: Should I keep car declared a Total Loss?

I would keep the car if I could make the repairs to eliminate the damage myself. Things like hoods fenders lights and radiators all unbolt and are easy to replace. If the car needed work to be legal and safe, beyond what I could do in my driveway with junkyard parts - then I would let it go to the ins. company.

Check with your state to see if the car's title will still be valid. In some states your title gets changed to a "parts only" title. That would be find with me if I could still put tags on it and get it inspected. But each state is likely to have different laws in this respect.
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:50 PM   #3
GTP Dad
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Re: Should I keep car declared a Total Loss?

Let the car go and get another one. Although the cost of the repair is higher than the value it is possible that there are hidden issues that they didn't identify due to the actual book value of the car. Once an insurance company reaches a certain level during an estimate if it is greater than 75% of the car's value they will total it. Say goodbye and go find a good used Escort for a reasonable price.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:10 AM   #4
MagicRat
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Re: Should I keep car declared a Total Loss?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTP Dad View Post
Let the car go and get another one. Although the cost of the repair is higher than the value it is possible that there are hidden issues that they didn't identify due to the actual book value of the car. Once an insurance company reaches a certain level during an estimate if it is greater than 75% of the car's value they will total it. Say goodbye and go find a good used Escort for a reasonable price.
Totally agree. Your car's mileage means its approaching the end of its useful life. This car is mostly worn-out and has no special-interest or collector value, so there is no reason to keep it.
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Old 10-26-2014, 11:05 PM   #5
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Re: Should I keep car declared a Total Loss?

Gotta agree with the "let it go" call, I just did that with a 95 Escort GT. Engine had 220,000 on the block, about 500 miles on a recently refreshed head, new water pump, timing belt, master cylinder, booster, clutch master and slave, and new set of tires, interior was in good shape as was the body, new sound system in the car too. Car took front end damage and was declared a total loss. What appeared to be just the radiator support, driver's fender and a little bit of damage to the underlying structure forward of the shock tower apparently had also tweaked the cowl, door opening and subframe in a manner generally not noticeable to my untrained eye-adjuster had done auto repair work for about 30+ years. He said it was repairable, but that it would have to either go to a frame straightener or I could get some hydraulic rams and try to do it myself but advised against it - it would cost more to fix than the car would ever hope to be worth.

Not happy about it, but assessing the realistic time commitment and cost, even going through an extremely reasonably priced pull-a-part yard pretty much sealed it. Even considered buying it back from the insurance company and moving the parts to another car, but decided it wasn't worth the $650 buy back from them.

So, I know have a '98 ZX2 in need of a fender and some light paint/clearcoat work rather than trying to put the other one back together. Total cost of the '98 was just under 1k including the cost of buying it and dropping in a new radiator, alternator, serpentine belt, oil change, and brakes. Deals can be had, be patient and don't be shy about asking friends and family if they know anyone who might be selling what you're looking for.
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