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salvage value of totaled car

I was driving my son's 2000 volvo and we were rear ended in CA. The insurance company totaled the car even though it still runs fine; the rear lights and trunk were smashed. We have been fighting with the insurance co about value of car,and now salvage value. Any advice about salvage value?
<br/> Also where do I find info about the cost effectiveness of maintaining an older car versus getting a new/er one? My son changes the oil regularly and maintains it, but he lives in Hollywood and is getting advice from friends to get a newer car. I say he should keep this one as it is dependable.


  • edited December 2009
    The only time it makes $$ sense to trade an older car for a newer one is when major repairs start costing a lot every month or so (as in hundreds of $$). Regular maintenance will never reach that point. Of course, if the car is so unreliable that it causes problems with his job, security, etc, that's another thing. But his friends just want him to 'look good', I imagine.

    As for your 2000 Volvo's value, you can look up the value at various web sites (google used car value), see how it compares. I don't know about the salvage value, though.
  • edited December 2009
    Salvage price is the price the junkyard will buy it for. They will strip it down for salvageable parts, then send the rest to the crusher. Just drive it to a couple of junkyards, and have them give you a written offer.
  • edited December 2009
    I can't answer the value question any better than others. I can say that I bought "my" totaled Toyota back from my insurance company in the late 80s. I knew it was reliable and I did not have the money for a newer vehicle.
  • edited December 2009

    I've done this twice.

    But where I live the Salvage value was equal to the highest bid from the salvage companies. If no one bid on the vehicle it was $0.
  • edited December 2009
    Folks in Hollywood change everything frequently, including spouses!

    As per the previous posts, if the ongoing repairs, for 3 years say, are suchg that they exceed the average annual 5 year (=50% of purchase price) depreciation of a new car, you should trade. So, on a $20,000 car, the average 5 year depreciation might be 50%x20,000/5=$2000. As pointed out,that can be a long time, considering the price of new cars. On a $40,000 car, that would be about $4000 per year in repairs and maintenance.

    We have may posts of drivers who have owned the same car for 20 years, driven 500,000 miles or more and still have an economical, reliable vehicle.

    Having said that, there are other overriding considerations:

    1. The car becomes unsafe, such as through underbody rust

    2. The car can no longer meet emission tests.

    2. The car was not too reliable to start with and the frequent repairs(although not excessively expensive) make it unsuitable as a daily driver.

    4. The car becomes unsightly, and affects the way your employer judges you.

    5. You work in sales and image is important.

    If you worry about the opinion of your friends, time to get other friends. I drove an immaculate Chevrolet Caprice for 19 years and was constantly asked questions about how to make your car last.
  • edited December 2009
    One thing you have not taken into account is the safety of your son if he should get hit from behind again.

    When the car was hit, it caused enough damage to the rear of the car to cause the insurance company to balk at wanting it back on the road again.

    Is your son's life worth only the $1k difference between keeping this car, and getting another one that hasn't been in an accident?

  • edited December 2009
    Thanks for all your input! After the car was hit, we tied the trunk down and drove the car for another 400 miles to get home. It drove fine and we couldn't tell the difference. The rear bumper was not damaged, just the trunk and rear lights, as it was a tall Ford 150 pick up that hit us. The frame wasn't damaged at all according to the body shop.
    The only safety issue is the rear lights and the trunk which will be repaired.

    What are the other things he has to do after the car is totaled?

    Does he actually have to get a new "salvage" title for the car in order to put it back on the road? My insurance agent in Denver said he doesn't have to, since the car is still registered correctly in his name.

    What documentation will he have to show a buyer of the car eventually when he sells it that it was in an accident? I was thinking that he could get a statement from the body shop about the work they did and show the buyer pictures of before and after the accident.
    Also, if he wants to get comprehensive insurance again or collision, he will have to take the car to a "certified mechanic" who will document that it is "road worthy". If he doesn't want to get this insurance, he can forget having to go the DMV, etc. At what point is it wise to stop getting collision and comprehensive insurance? I was thinking that if he saves $25 a month, he could put this toward future repairs/car.

    This has been a good car and he hasn't had to put practically any money into it for the three years he has had it-just regular maintenance.

    Thank you for all your help; this is sure an overwhelming process and we have been operating in the dark. You all are great, new, reassuring sources of light and information.
  • edited December 2009
    Edmunds says that you could buy one from a dealer for $5000 with only the optional power driver's seat. Other options will increase the value somewhat. I believe that the insurer should pay replacement value at a dealer and nothing less. After all, you are replacing it and should get replacement value. Trade-in value is utterly unacceptable, and private sale value is not much better. You didn't tell us what the mileage is, but if it's under 120,000 the value should still be about $5000. If you give us a list of options and the mileage, we can assess the value better.
  • edited December 2009
    Just pull it out,make it safe and drive it.My brother has done this with a Sentra for several years,it has cost practically nothing to own and runs great-Kevin
  • edited December 2009

    I am not sure what you are referring to whenyou say "you could buy one from a dealer" what is this referring to and what about the "optional drivers seat" what does that mean?

    The mileage is 124,000 miles.

This discussion has been closed.