My daughter owns a 2005 Saturn Ion coupe with about 67000 miles on it. Recently, she was driving home on a four lane highway at about 50 to 55 mph. She reports that suddenly she heard a loud thumping, saw sparks, and saw stuff hitting her windshield. She called me to come and get her. When I got there I saw that her right front tire had disintegrated. It had completely blown off the right fender and damaged the front bumper. That was the damage that I could see. She says she did not hit anything and was not going over 55 mph when this happened.
We had the car towed to our local Saturn dealership. The insurance adjuster claimed that the car was totaled (which was a complete shock to me after seeing the damage) and gave us $7600 for the claim. But here’s the problem. My daughter is physically disabled and uses a wheelchair. The Saturn coupe has those “suicide” doors, which enable her to disassemble her wheelchair and put it behind her in the back seat. Unfortunately, the Saturn coupe is no longer manufactured, and the only other car I could find with those doors is a Toyota cruiser which might be a little too pricey for us.
So, I’m really wondering what’s going on here. Why would the insurance company be willing to give us $7600 rather than pay to have the car fixed? Could that amount of damage possibly come to more than $7600? I asked the guys at the dealership what it would cost to fix the car, but they just passed the buck to the adjuster. After further questioning, it came to light that the insurance company takes a “totaled” car and sells it to a scrap yard for parts. Hmm. With the Saturn out of production, could it be that the parts are now worth more than $7600? If so, that would explain why they would prefer to “total” it.
I also found out that I have the option of buying back the car from the insurance company at the “salvage price” and then pay to get it fixed myself. Under the circumstances, I’m considering looking into that. I have the dealership doing an estimate for me (for a $75 fee, since I’m not guaranteeing that I’ll have them do the work). Could it be that they have the gall to tell me that that amount of damage is going to cost more than $7600 to fix? Or is the insurance company going to give me a ridiculously high price to buy it back?
Any ideas of what’s going on here? Any advice would be appreciated. You can respond here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org