Hit/damaged brand new car 2008 with 3000 miles, repair or demand new car?

my subaru impreza 2008 with only 3200 miles was hit by a driver who ignored traffic light. it was hit at rear end on the left side.

The insurance agent stated:

Rear bumper, Rear Lamps, Rear Body and Floor, Quarter Panel, Back Glass, Rear Door, Pillars, Rocker and Floor, Exhaust System Restraint Systems (air bags) need work. It would be around 9000 dollars to repair.

I contacted Subaru to get advice on good repair (body work involved) facilities - they were not helpful.

My car is at a local Auto Body Shop near by the accident site.

1)Should my car be saved and repaired?

the car was bought for 18000 dollars: cost of the repair is 9000 dollars or more.

If it is repaired, still manufacture warranty (3 years/30000 miles) is valid?

2)Will my car be safe to drive after this work?

Or will break down quicker?

3)How to find whether some facility is reliable or not?

How to find the best facility where body work and some mechanical work (Exhaust system, wheel alignment) is performed?

I do not know the reputation of this Auto body shop.

I am at loss, although I found a lawyer to help my accident injury, and damage to my car.

Please give me advice…

Many thanks.

Warranty will only pay for manufacturing defects or workmanship flaws. Warranty will never pay for collision damage no matter who manufactures the car.

Since you mention floor and pillar damage along with a 9000 dollar repair bill (and that’s not even counting any unknowns that may crop up, maybe much later) my opinion is that the car should be declared a total.

Here in OK a car is usually declared a total if the repair costs meet or exceed 60% of the value of the car; with the car value being the “real” value, not an inflated value.

If it were my car I could live with 3 or 4 grand in repair bills on it but I would never feel good about driving a vehicle that required 9000 dollars worth; especially with the pillars and floors being involved.

This is a topic for you and your insurance agent. It should be that the other guy’s insurance is paying because he’s at fault BUT…
When the insurance is completely in charge of the outcome, you don’t get to pick.

But definitely bring up this subject with your agent BEFORE any work is done on your car reminding them of the almost certain future of continued related repairs and down time due to the severity of damage. That it could logically be to their advantage to total it and get you another.

And the final word is ultimately the insurance company’s.

Thank you for your helpful advice. The responsible party’s insurance company has not authorized any work yet. So I will talk to my lawyer to demand TOTAL - since it exceet 60% of the value.
It is true that the car may show more problems later.
I follow your advice.
Many thanks.

Like others have said, your insurance agent should be taking the lead on this.

Also, not knowing what features your Impreza has, I checked the trade in value for a 2008 Impreza with just a few features at KellyBlueBook.com and the trade in value for one in fair condition would be $12,675.00. If that’s anything close to what yours would be worth and you’ve already been quoted $9000.00 or more - there’s a good chance it will be considered ‘totalled’ because, in my experience, insurance work always ends up increasing.

When I was in an accident my insurance company picked the repair shop and dealt with all of the details. In my opinion, you need to tell your agent that you don’t want that car no matter how well they say it can be fixed.

That’s what I would do.

Good luck and I hope you’re not hurt too badly.

Thank you so much for your research on my subaru. KellyBlueBook.com showed that my car trade- in value is around $12000~14000. I will bring up this objective value figure to my lawyer to pursue TOTALLED.
Many thanks.

With all this said, Your lawyer could get you another car from this deal AND the insurance could still elect to repair and re-sell the damaged car on the open market.

Thank you for your help. In this case, my damaged care would become a property of the insurance company? Am I not able to donate to a charity or some good clause?

True, if the insurance pays for another car the old one is theirs.

Thank you for clarifying.

If the demand for the car to be totaled is not honored you can nit pick them to death when you go to pick the car up as you must sign that the work is done to your satisfaction. Stress you want a second party to inspect all structural work before it is painted and covered by carpet and you want a second party to do a 4 wheel alignment check before you will sign off. If they know you are going be paying this much attention it may motivate them to total it.

Thank you for your helpful advice.
I will make sure to pursue what you suggested me.
I will do all may best to appear to be very thorough with full attention.
Many thanks.

Just An Idea . . .
. . . I managed a dealership (different brand than Subaru) body shop for a couple of years.

The way I understand this situation is that as the car owner, You decide where the car will be repaired and You must authorize any repairs with your signature before work begins. You are the owner.

Here’s an idea if your Subaru Dealer or one nearby has new car sales, used car sales, and a quality body shop of their own and you decide to have the car taken there. I’ll explain what I’ve seen happen in similar situations involving almost new cars that were badly damaged but not totalled.

A couple of times where I worked, the accident victims would trade-in their wrecked car to the dealership and drive away with a brand new car from the new car department. Their body shop would fix it after the victims were long gone and then the car would be put on their used car lot. The dealer got a new car sale, body shop business, and a used car to sell. The victim got a new car.

I’m sure you would take a loss, but it might be mitigated by the fact the the dealer gets all the business and they get parts discounts, etcetera. They can maybe make the loss more attractive to you. The insurance company pays the repair costs that were estimated. It might work for you and it might not. Also, if your lawyer gets you a decent settlement, you may be able to afford the loss easier.

I’m just throwing this out as something to think about should there be no way that the car will be totalled. It sounds like you would be much happier starting over.


Thank you for your thoughts.
I have not signed any paper work for the repair, nor has the responsible insurance company. While the responsible driver is denying, and his insurance company is delaying the process of repair, my pain surfaced and has been worsened - the situation forced me to obtain an attorney.
Sad part is it is very rare to find anyone among auto body shops, dealers, and insurance companies whom I can rest my full trust upon.
I will talk to my lawyer including your advice.
Many thanks.

If you can convince the insurer to total the car, you should be given enough money to buy an equivalent 2008 Impreza with several thousand miles on it, not a new car. Do not accept trade value because you are trying to replace a car, not sell one. You should be able to buy a low mileage one-year old car from a dealer with the settlement. BTW, did they rent you a car until this one is fixed? They owe it to you. And you can use that as a bargaining tool. Every day that you are in the rental is more money they are pouring into your case. There’s no need to hurry to a settlement.

Your insurer can suggest repair shops in your are that do good work. My insurer sent me to two body shops over the last few decades and they were outstanding. Insurance companies deal with repair shops every day. They know the business better as anyone.

Restraint Systems (air bags)need work

It’s my understanding that most, if not all, insurance companies total a vehicle whose restraint system has deployed regardless of other damage to the vehicle

You state the other driver is responsible and yet the other driver is denying responsibility along with a little balking by the insurance company.

Has the other driver actually been cited by the law and convicted of a traffic violation?
If not, the stonewalling may continue to go on for a long time or until it’s settled in a civil case in court.

Thank you for your point, which I am going to bring up to my attorney.

Thank you for your input.
Local Collision Guild told me that these days responsible insurance companies tend to delay approval/authorize necessary repair/coverage on purpose to irritate the other party so that he would use his OWN insurance to pay for the cost. (although they will go after the responsible company to recover the loss.)
I was not aware that the insurance companies are not on victims side until now.

The responsible insurer warned me that they only can pay $25 dollars per day for rental, and they cannot pay storage fee (for my damaged car) more than 5 days, and I need to move my car until they conclude the investigation.
While I am in pain, not able to use car freely (they did not yet authorized the coverage as of last week), I was on the phone all morning every day for what someone caused on me.

I will talk to my lawyer regarding the repair, bargaining with the insurer this coming week.
And surely will talk to my insurer to find a reliable facility, if it is to be repaired.
Many many thanks.

You are in pain. Did you go to the hospital? You need to have it checked out. The insurer will pay for it. You may also be due some money for your pain, though I am not a fan of large settlements. But don’t think about the money until you are cleared by a doctor. That’s the most important thing now.

Your insurer should be handling this, not you. If you talk to the other insurance company, tell them you hurt too much to discuss it and will get back to them when the pain subsides.

YOU move the car? I think not. If the offender’s insurance company can’t do their job, make your insurance company set them straight.