Advice Regarding 1994 Honda Which Has Been Wrecked


Help! I need advice from someone else who has perhaps been in a similar situation and/or who is an expert in the resale of damaged cars, etc. Here?s the deal: early last month, a person with no insurance pulled into my beloved and immaculate 1994 Honda Accord EX, smashing up the passenger side. Aside from the laws that were broken with the driver who hit me (no insurance; no driver?s license; and left the scene with his car, returning later on foot (!)), this situation has caused my husband and me much consternation about how to best solve this situation for our both our automotive and monetary interests.

The car was the “top of the line” when we bought it in 9/04 ? leather seats; 4 cylinder, 5-speed; electric doors and windows; sunroof, etc. As far as damage from the wreck, the car is driveable?the two doors will have to be replaced, and there also is some damage to the front fender (I have been told there is no frame and/or mechanical damage). I have had two verbal estimates for repair as well as two written ones – the lowest written bid was just given to me last week by a body shop owner who was referred to me ? he does a lot of work for one of the renowned area Lexus dealerships and is supposedly very good – but less than many other shops in the city. His bid was $1,520 (I had another written estimate for $1,800+; the verbal estimates were closer to $2,500).

Regarding our insurance company, when the adjuster first looked at the car, he said he could give us a check that day for $2,254 to repair the car. When my husband asked him if it was totaled, he said it was going to be “on the border” but didn?t seem to want to make a definitive statement saying it was totaled. We just told him we would think about it. Then in a subsequent conversation three days later, my husband asked him whose decision it was to total the car ? he said it was the insurance company?s decision?so my husband told him after we talked to the “totaling” department, we might switch back to the “repair option” if we didn?t like what we heard about the value.

So the next week we heard from the totaling department representative who offered us $2,534 (including taxes and fees and less our deductible) for our car, and that was after we provided receipts to him from our complete A/C repair last summer (2006), which cost us $2,000. We were very unhappy with this offer (only approx. $300 more than the repair #), and based on advice from a friend who is a former claims adjuster (she said we were being “jacked around”), we have been non-responsive on this offer. So we into the viable possibility of getting the car fixed and then reselling it to an individual?from what we have been able to ascertain, we would most likely come out ahead this way (anyone’s thoughts here?)

From a maintenance standpoint, one of the main reservations we have had about keeping the car and/or reselling it is that just before the accident, we were planning to have the timing belt replaced (we were told when we bought the car that the timing belt needed to be done at 90,000 miles). As everyone knows, this isn?t cheap?it will probably cost between $600-800 (it?s a VTEC engine). The original replacement was done seven years ago at 85,913 miles ? we did it a little early because we were having other work done; today the car has 174K. In deciding what to do on this matter, I talked to a mechanic last week who said that he didn?t think we needed to have it replaced at this time because he said now “they” now are saying the timing belts can go longer than first thought. His opinion was don?t spend the money now. Obviously, if we sell it someone, we would disclose that the belt would need to be done within the next 10,000 miles (does anyone have any specific thoughts on the timing belt issue???).

So with all this being said, here are our possibilities as we see them:

1) Accept the insurance damages and get the car fixed and try to resell it to an individual (I?m told by the service manager at the dealership where we bought the car that a car like ours, which has been well maintained and is in excellent shape, is what?s called a “cash car,” meaning people will pay good money for it on the street).

2) Accept the insurance damages and sell the car “as is” for salvage.

3) Total the car and take the standing offer (which we feel is NOT a good deal).

We would be thrilled to hear advice opinions on this matter! It has been a real hassle. It’s sad that after taking such great care of a car for all these years, those of us who obey the law are put into these situations…

Thank you everyone!!


[b]This is a forteen year old vehicle with 174,000 miles on it? And they’re offering you $2,500? It’s a no-brainer!

Take the money, retain the salvage, and sell the car under the PARTS/REPAIRABLE section of the paper for as much as you can, and get another vehicle.



JMHO, but you should take the money, keep the car, and sell the car “AS IS” for parts to get some of your money back. Someone should jump on it.

The insurance company is only going to give you the real value of the car, unless you want to take them to court.
The fact you spent 2 grand (Ouch?) on an A/C repair a year ago does not figure into value estimates. What’s a year old A/C repair worth? Nothing in the insurance company’s eyes.
Generally the only way you have a chance of getting extra back would be if you just spent a lot of money having a paint job done two weeks before or installed new tires/wheels the day before; or something along those lines.

It’s been 7 years and a lot of miles since the timing belt. This means the belt needs replacement NOW. That’s a big financial incentive considering the wreck to be done with it.

For a better look at what cars like yours will actually bring, check eBay on a regular basis.


Fix it and drive it for another 10 years is not an option?


$1,500-2,000 does not fix a lot of damage these days, so I’d suspect there is no significant structural damage to your car. I’d consider two options if I were in your situation.

  1. Take the repair money from the insurance company, fix the body damage, replace the timing belt (which needs to be done NOW), and continue to drive the car. You might get another 100K miles out of it.

  2. Take the repair money, sell the car as is, combine the two amounts, and go car shopping.

Since none of us can see the car, we can’t really tell how badly it’s damaged. Only you can decide.


Here’s the one question I have, and since it has not been addressed, is this.

OP, just how much money do want from the insurance company as a total?


i can relate what i did with my sons mazda. i got rear ended. the car was book at 2800 (retail value). it needed 2100 in repairs. so the insurance wanted to total it, and give me 2200 (cash value) and TAKE the title. (in other words they were goging to sell it for scrap or re sell to a dent and scratch shop to get rebuilt.)

i refused their offer, and got them to give me 2100. to fix it, and they let me keep the car. i fixed it myself, for 1100, sold it for 2000 and gave the 3000$$ to my son so he could buy another used car.

the moral of the story is, you dont have to TAKE what the insurance company first offers you, you CAN negotiate for more, or other options, and then, when you agree, take the offer.


Your offer is great. Repairs/maintenance are meaningless to a car’s value. It depends on condition/mileage/age/market value.

On fixing it I personally would move on.


Thanks for writing…

…to answer your question – we were advised that when dealing with the insurance co. we needed to start with the retail number in mind (which we pulled up as being $4,630); even the “private party” number we pulled up was $3,310 – so that’s why we weren’t happy with the $2,500 figure to “total” the car. Thanks, again for writing (by the way, what is “OP” – I’m new to these abbreviations)…!


Hi…thanks for writing…

…your thought is valid…I have considered fixing and continuing to drive it – I don’t think it would be for 10 years but maybe a year or two…

…my husband, however, had already been talking about getting a newer car (before this wreck occurred), so I don’t think he wants me (or either of us) to keep driving it due to the amount of mileage. He says if we really need to drive very far, he doesn’t think it would be reliable due to the mileage…

…it’s a hard decision because I don’t really want a car payment…thanks for your thoughts…


OP simply means “original poster”.

Here is where the disconnect occurs in regards to the car value. You may be pulling values off of Edmunds or KBB which are often not indicative of what they sell for in the real world. There is a lot of variation car to car, even the same year and mileage.

You may have noticed those yellow/gold colored NADA value guides sold at car parts houses, book stores, and even Wal Mart.
Those copies are for you the consumer. The copy the insurance companies uses looks like it on the cover but is different inside. It’s the one that car dealers use and reflects the “real value” if you want to call it that.

I totally agree that the “real value” and what you actually have to pay for a comparable car may be different. As usual, the ins. co. holds the cards and much depends on how hard you want to push them.
You might try making copies of ads for comparable year/mileage cars like yours (newspaper, eBay, etc.) and present the adjuster with a list of a dozen or so (higher priced ones of course!) and maybe you could nudge them a bit further.


Do yourself a favor and take Testers advise…