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Good value for totaled vehicle?

Hi all,

I’ve done a lot of research but can’t make sense of all the numbers since they seem to vary a lot.



I totaled a 2001 good condition Subaru Forester with only 53,000 miles on it. The insurance company is giving me $8633, minus the $500 claim deductible and $300 for a prior dent that I never filed a claim to get fixed.



I’m in Oregon where Foresters are very popular and it seems like a fair price given my research. But when I search for actual cars for sale (both dealer and owner) I won’t be able to replace my car for that amount. I can, if I get a car with double or triple the mileage.



Am I getting a fair reimbursement value? I’m inclined to take it rather than haggle.

I think you are getting fair reimbursement. Remember the dealer prices are asking not actual transaction prices. You know fair value, bargain if you want another.

Owner prices are dreamland too mostly.

It’s a tough situation. I had a Caravan stolen. I got above realistic market value for it, but had just put a long block in it that was in excess of the amount of the total loss value. I lost, but got a “fair” deal from the insurance company.

Depending on your state’s insurance laws, you may have the option of not signing the check and bringing the amount in for arbitration. You’ll need to read your policy carefully and do some homework to find out.

Edmunds says the mileage adjustment is +$1082. See if your insurer will include that in the reimbursement. According to the Edmunds estimate for Portland, the mileage adjustment might already be included.

Now is your big chance to drive something decent…

Sounds like a fair deal.

If you’re going to be looking for another Forester, which would be a wise move, you might call a few dealers and see how much they are willing to deal on one for a “cash deal”. That doesn’t mean that you have to show up with long green folding money. A good check will do. Most dealers will do much better than their asking price if there is no trade-in involved. DO NOT roll over and play dead. Haggle Haggle Haggle! It’s a given in car buying.

Also note that the first offer from the insurance company is just that, a first offer. You need to show them the ads from local dealers with Foresters for sale. This is also a good time for you to upgrade to a newer Forester. You will never be given a retail price when you trade a car in. You should get full retail plus sales tax (because you will have to pay that too) from the insurance company.

Don’t hesitate to look for a replacement from out of your area. There are deals to be had elsewhere where Subarus are not so valued. Do an internet search for cars in the Los Angeles area, for example. Look on eBay, cars.com, craigslist.

It might be because more people would crash their cars if they could get a perfect price from the insurance company. You would probably get the same deal that the insurance company will give you for a totalled car as a dealer will offer for a trade if you didn’t crash the car. You usually lose something when a car gets wrecked.

“Do an internet search for cars in the Los Angeles area…”

Things must be different out west. It’s at least 700 miles for Oregon to LA, probably more than 1000 miles if around Portland. That’s like driving from DC to Miami.

What insurance companies like to do is offer the LOWEST price possible. On average across the entire nation Vehicle A may be worth $5000…but locally that vehicle may be worth $7000. The insurance company is only going to offer you $5000. Talk to them. You do NOT have to take their offer. Try negotiating a better deal. Go prepared. Get clippings of similar vehicles in the LOCAL newspapers…or even on-line advertisements.

Second…the price you found in advertisements does NOT mean that’s what the vehicle sold for. Find a similar vehicle advertised…and see if you can negotiate with the dealer for the price you’re receiving from the insurance company.