Mother-in-Law crashed her car, do we still want it?

So, my elderly mother-in-law has recently moved into a facility, and was going to give us her car, a 2001 Honda Civic EX with about 35k miles. We were pretty relieved when we thought she was no longer driving, she is nearly blind. Unknown to us, she took her car to her new home, and had been driving it around, even though the place has great transportation options. So, on the way home from church last Sunday, she turns in front of an oncoming car and it plows into the right rear quarter of the civic. Fortunately, she’s not hurt, nor anyone else. But the estimate for repairs on the car is about $5700. I’ve looked over the plan for the repairs, and it’s mostly replacing body panels, rear windshield and stuff like that. Nothing in the engine or drivetrain except replacing the suspension on one wheel. The mechanics doing the work seem reputable, and insurance should cover most of the repairs. So, my question is, do we still want the car after it’s repaired? It’s really low miles, and, until Sunday, was in excellent condition. But will an accident like this leave the car unreliable or possibly dangerous to drive? Any specific things I should look for from the repair shop? Thanks in advance for any help.

Is insurance covering the damage or would you need to pay it? I would say that a 2001 Civic after repairs would be worth more than $6000 so I would keep it.

If it is the insurance company paying for the repairs, they are not going to pay for repairs that will not result in a proper safe car. When the cost of repair exceeds the value of the repaired car they just total it. If anything they total some cars that could be fixed.

This is too bad. The car will be OK after the repairs but not the same quality of paint etc. Over time where the repairs were made may not hold up as well as the rest of the car. Yet, this is a free car. So if it still free you might as well take her up on the offer. If they do a good job on the rear suspension and the car aligns up properly it should drive fine.

If the insurance company wants to give her a cash settlemant perhaps see could use the money. $5,700 is close to the value of the car and with its salvage value for parts a cash settlement might be the best option for her.

Joseph, Found In The Original Post, Oregon Dave Said, . . .
"The mechanics doing the work seem reputable, and insurance should cover most of the repairs."

I would lean towards Uncle Turbo’s words “and the car aligns up properly”.

A hit sideways can do unseen damage. A very thorough inspection must be done.

sounds like a simple repair for any quality body shop
i would get it fixed

The key here is how badly has the rear suspension been displaced?? Getting all 4 wheels back into alignment so it tracks true is not as easy as it sounds…The rear suspensions in these cars is not very robust to begin with…

Ask these questions. "Has the spring tower been crushed, the strut bent? Have the control-arm mounting points been displaced?? Yes answers to these questions could spell problems down the road…

Is the damage behind the rear wheel or was the rear wheel pushed in, too? The underbody can probably be straightened, but the shop won’t know for sure until they pull on it. The procedure is to stretch the unibody on a rack with the hope of correcting the damage enough so that the wheels can be aligned and the car won’t feel like it’s rolling down the road sideways (crabbing). Ask the body shop if they think they can straighten this car out. I had this done to one of my cars and it worked fine.