Keep totaled vehicle?

I have a 2004 Subaru Forester with 142,000 miles. My insurance company declared it a total loss after it incurred hail damage. They offered me roughly $8,000 to take the car and $4,000 if I want to keep it with a salvage title. We generally keep our cars until the bitter end, but with this old of a car, am I better off just putting that $8,000 towards a newer car or taking the $4,000 and gambling that I won’t have to replace the head gaskets or face another major expenditure any time soon ?

It’s difficult to give you a good answer. We have no idea how well it was taken care of, and even if you took care of it meticulously, we have no idea if there’s some manufacturing flaw waiting to rear its head if you keep it. On the flip side, we also have no idea what kind of maintenance or flaws anything you replace it with might have.

In short, either way is a gamble.

I will say this - Kelly Blue Book shows dealer price for that car to be somewhere between 4700 and 8300 depending on what trim level it is.

In short, you seem to be getting a pretty fair, and possibly more-than-fair offer from the ins. co either way. If you take the 8 grand, and you can find one, you could replace the car with an identical one even if you have the top-end model.

Take the $8,000.

How bad is the hail damage? If it is driveable, but just “excessively lumpy,” I’d take the $4,000 and not have to worry about the quality of the car I replace it with.

The car looks fine to me! I’m just concerned that something will go wrong sooner rather than later, as it’s an older car. It is well-maintained and runs just fine.

Take the 8

Can you post photos of the damage?

The choice you’re being offered is very fair. The decision is largely subjective. Some of it depends on your lifestyle. If you live in NYC or Boston, or in an agricultural area of the great plains states, the $4K and drive it as-is would be the choice I’d make. If you live in an area where image counts, or you occasionally use the car for business, it would make more sense to take the 8K and look for a good replacement.

Just remember, at some point you WILL trade it or sell it and with the damage and the salvage title it will not be worth much…So if you have new car fever, take the eight grand…But if you think you can get another couple of years out of it, accept the $4000 and drive on…

Take the $8000. You’re never going to get a better deal than that. You’re going to have to trade sometime so why not now?

Take the 8 grand. It’s the smart move.

If you buy a new Forester Premium CVT trans with the all weather package, it will cost you about $24,500, less the $8000; a total of $16,500 plus taxes and registration fees. If you have the cash or can take out a loan, you will have a car that will last up to 15 years instead of one that might last another 5 years. But you will have $4000 to use. Which sounds more attractive to you? The new car is what I would do, but you have to make the choice.

It’s the same car you were driving before, with the same risks. Ignoring the dents, you can get $4000 and the only ill effect is your car now has a salvage title. You have to figure how much that matters to you. If you rrally do expect to keep driving this until you need to call a wrecker to haul it away, the salvage title is meaningless. If you expect to sell it within the next couple of years, the salvage title matters a lot. In that case I’d take the $8000 and go shopping.