Sunday, December 18, 2005

How Quickly It All Changes, Part 2

It's been a week now since we lost our Honda. I'd be lying if I said the last week had been carefree.

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, 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

— Posted by Michael @ 9:06 AM


Again, It's good that none of you were seriously injured. it seems that you have taken the correct steps to get a reasonable settlement on the car. Here's to hoping the claim goes through without any major problems and that you find a suitable car at a good price in the used parking lots.


I hope the both of you get better, and about your car the reason it proably got so smashed up is that cars are not made out of steel anymore they are made mostly out of cheaper not so good metal and plastic. If we all wrote back to car companies we would have better cars to protect us. When cars were made of steel the metal was there to protect us and we did not get hurt as badly as we do now. So in a sense/reality you or anyone else in the united could sue the car companies, and the government who bring in steel from out of the country.


You seem to have all your ducks in a row. As an claims adjuster, you are doing everything right to make sure you get a fair settlement. Good Luck and if I can answer any questions for you, let me know.


You'll be in a much better negotiating situation w/ a dealer at the end of the year, so that's a plus - I guess.


You are doing all the right things. You were fiscally responsible and protected your family financially for just this type of eventuality.

I am sure your search for a comprable used car will be rewarded. Stay positive and hopefully it will all work out.

Good Luck!


Clearly you have done your homework. I have dealt with insurance companies before and it always seems like they lowball the value of your vehicle. The lady that I HAD to talk to with our last accident told me that they had their "own" book. That ticked me off. You know as well as I know that "their" book is going to come in lower than everyone else's book.

Good luck. Hopefully you won't have any problems.


I am so glad that you and your family were not seriously injured. I am sorry that you are getting ready to deal with an insurance company.

I finally got done dealing with an accident my husband had in my truck four months ago. I can only imagine how bad it would have been if the accident had been his fault, or if he'd been unfortunate enough to have been hit by someone with no insurance like you were.

In Maryland, we have an auto insurance fund (MAIF), which is what the driver that hit my husband was insured under. Since we didn't want to wait for the wheels of a government sponsored agency to slowly grind along, we went through my insurance, then let my insurance company go after MAIF.

Although I believe this was the best way for us to go, it was still like pulling teeth. Just getting my truck back from the body shop took 6 weeks! Then I had to take it back because my own insurance adjuster tried to deny some of the damage was not a result of the accident. I finally got everything fixed, and got the hospital to stop being impatient and trying to bill me for an emergency room visit that is the responsibility of MAIF. The last loose end was being reimbursed for a $250 deductible. The check arrived two days ago.

I gave you the short version, but believe me, this was one of the most aggravating experiences I've had. I'm just thankful that, thanks in no small part to your wonderful website, we were prepared for a financial emergency such as this. I wish I could return the favor and give you some advice that is as valuable as what I've gleaned from your site, but the best I can come up with is to tell you to keep pushing for what you want no matter what the insurance company offers you. I made the adjuster look at my truck four times. It'll take a while, but stick to your guns and I'm willing to bet they'll see things your way. Good luck!

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Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
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