So far, we've:
1) Acquired copies of the police report. The driver of the other vehicle had no insurance. The owner of the other vehicle, who was not the driver, did have insurance. Big fun here.
2) Each of us has been to our physician to be checked over. Nothing spectacular there; we're both still sore and stiff to varying degrees, and we'll just keep monitoring how we feel in the near future.
3) We've initiated a claim with, and given our accident statements to, the other vehicle's owner's insurance company. We're waiting to hear back from the adjuster pending his contact with the other parties involved.
4) I've put my PrePaid Legal membership to use, and called our provider law firm to ask some questions. They put me in contact with an attorney who specializes in auto-accident cases. PPL took my information and forwarded it to the attorney, who called me back in a little over 24 hours. He gave me a lot of information — so much that it was really difficult to jot down all the notes, and I'm sure I missed a few things. Most of it won't come into play unless the insurance company balks at the claim for some reason. I am told that this could, in fact, happen, but that it's not likely. With my luck . . ..
5) We've taken the Honda to the body shop. The estimate for repairs stands at well over $5,000. Easily a total loss, I would think, as far as insurance is concerned.
6) In an effort to ensure a fair assessed value for our dearly-departed car, I have rounded up all the Honda's maintenance records (I have them all, going all the way back to when we bought it in 1996). I've researched and printed out market values from NADA, Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book. I have spoken with my dealership's used-car manager regarding the market value of our Honda before the crash ("I'd put it on the lot and ask for four thousand," he told me, "and I'd get it easy."). I hope to acquire an "expert" value assessment in writing from him this week. Courtesy of Autotrader.com, I've printed out examples of comparable, for-sale Accords in our area. This way, I figure I can have some tangible evidence of what it'd cost me to purchase a similar car right now. (Not that I've actually found a "similar" car. They all have more mileage, more options, and seem not as well kept.)
I've been told by acquaintances who've been through this that having all this documentation can be very helpful when it comes time to counter the insurance company's initial property settlement offer. (If they come in low, that is.)
7) The search for our next car is underway. We're considering late-model Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords exclusively. I've analyzed our spending and budgets over the last six months, looking to determine the car-payment range that we'd be comfortable with. We've not yet decided whether to go with a new vehicle, or used. I've used my insurance company's online quote system to get an idea for what I'll be paying on the insurance side of things with the next car.
As far as working at a car dealership, and one that's part of much larger auto group, I do have some avenues available when it comes to purchasing the car. We don't have any Honda or Toyota dealers in the group, though, so if we want new, we'll have to buy it elsewhere.
Currently our auto group has no used Camrys on any of its used-car lots. They do have 4 Accords. These, however, are all either too old or too high-mileage to suit me. I have another option or two on this front, but they're of a nature that could take entirely too long (namingly, months) before we could come up with a vehicle that we'd feel comfortable purchasing.
The plan is for Lisa and I to hit some car lots this Tuesday, and see what we come up with. Where most folks probably roll around in excitement at the prospect of "car shopping," I feel anxiety. I feel frustration. I feel trepidation.
I have good money coming in, and I have money saved. But this is not how I wanted to spend any of it.
Posts In This Series
How Quickly It All Changes, Part 1
How Quickly It All Changes, Part 2
And Now We Wait ... Some More
There's Something New In the Garage
How Quickly It All Changes, Part 3
How Quickly It All Changes, Part 4