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Lots of damage, totaled?

I drive a 2016 Toyota Rav4 with 35k miles on it.
I was rear-ended about 2.5 weeks ago, and my car has been at the auto body shop since then. The KBB value of my car prior to the accident was about $15,000, and the estimated cost to fix was just over $9,000. i was shocked when my car wasn’t totaled. I have been in communication with the shop and they told me they found extra damages past the original estimate, and it sounds like they are having a difficult time with repairs. The shop told me the they were basically rebuilding the back half of my car from the inside out. I got of the phone with them today, and it’s going to be in the shop another week or so. At a certain point, if the car has been in the shop for a long time and the are having a hard time fixing it, can I ask my insurance to total my car. the cost of everything including labor has to cost more than the car is worth. There has also got to be a fee for keeping the car on their lot, and insurance is also paying for my rental car.
There has to be something I can do, I am not sure I feel safe driving my family around in car that has had that much damage/repair. I would appreciate any advice. thank you

Of course you can ASK the insurance company to total it. They can only say Yes or No. I suspect they will say No considering the body shop must be paid for the work they’ve already done so they will just finish the job.

If you don’t feel safe in the car after it is completed, then trade or sell it. Easy solution to your concern.


And since you will get less money for it than you should because it has a major accident on its title, make sure to go for diminished value damages from insurance as well.


Every question you have about what the insurance does can only be answered by the insurance company . As for not trusting the vehicle I doubt if that is really a problem . But as Mustang says if it keeps you awake at night just trade or sell , life is too short to stress yourself out over something that can be eliminated .

Since the damage is in the rear it’s unlikely there will be any lasting effect, safety or otherwise, once everything is repaired. I’m presuming you are using a body & repair shop approved by the insurance company, right? Make sure you check the fluid levels and do a test drive before accepting it or driving it off the repair shop’s lot, once the body shop says it is done of course. You might notice something the body shop won’t, b/c you are familiar with how it handles, and can just give it right back to them. This avoids a later claim that whatever is causing the problem happened after you drove it home. If you remain unsure you can always pay your own mechanic to inspect the work done after you take possession. The fee for that service shouldn’t be overly expensive, $100 to $200. I think you are over-worrying though.

That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever


It has only been two weeks or less, relax, collision repairs of this type can take more than two months.

The body shop is not going to charge a storage fee while they are performing repairs. In the event that the insurance company will only pay for rental car for 30 days sometimes the body shop will pay for the additional days due to the delay in the production of repairs.

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I hope you have a rental paid for by the other guy’s insurance company.

Seems like Nate does have a rental car . . . but it isn’t entirely clear just whose insurance is paying for it

Don’t be shocked by the cost, painting alone might account for half of this. A competent shop will endure the work is done properly, or tell you they can’t do it - sometimes the latter becomes apparent once the car is opened up. It’s up to you to determine whether the shop is reputable, read reviews and ask around.

I went through this a few years ago with a conscientious body shop. Per his recommendation:

  • verify whether the body was knocked out of alignment - it should have been measured for this initially and, if out of alignment, “stretched” back to spec. on specialized frame straightening equipment (some shops will need to send the vehicle to a specialist for this) - review the before and after measurements and compare them to the published specs (they’ll have these, if they did it).
  • If any of structural metal, like roof pillars, required cutting out and replacement, verify that this was done with proper reinforcement and not just with butt joints. The same for anything else affecting subsequent crash safety.
  • Verify that sun roof drains were reconnected and are flowing properly. Electrical and fluid connections to the rear should work properly (rear wiper, washer, all lights).
  • The rear hatch and all doors should align perfectly and close and latch properly.
  • Especially if this is an AWD vehicle, have shafts, linkages, transmission mounts and motor mounts checked. The transmission case of a friend’s RWD vehicle cracked a few months following a severe rear end event, the reasoning was that it was damaged by the shock load when the drive shaft was pushed forward but took a while to present.
  • Check wheels and tires for damage.
  • When road testing, look for even braking with no directional pull (both slow and firm braking), and symmetrical handling such as with quick lane changes on the freeway. The car should steer straight with steering wheel centered and hands off (level road). There should be no unusual directional pull when accelerating or braking (there may be some torque steer, compare this to an undamaged model of the same year, like at a dealership).
  • If problems are discovered later that are reasonably related to the accident or its repair, it’s been my experience that a reputable shop and insurance company will “own” them.