My car was totaled by a Mack truck

Yup, I lived to tell the tale. But, my car is gone (and I JUST sunk $1000 into repairs last month) and I am suddenly in the unfortunate position to have to QUICKLY get a car loan and a car. I don?t really know how to do either since previously my ex assisted with this process. I am not getting much from my insurance company since my car was a 98. I was not expecting have to make car payments for another couple years. I can?t afford much in the way of monthly payments. I?m considering a Hyundai Accent. My questions:

1) Is getting a loan thru the Hyundai dealer an OK thing to do, or should I go to a bank, and get pre-approved?

2) I am going to show up at the dealership alone, driving a rental. Should I be honest about my situation? Or will I just set myself up to be taken advantage of? I need a car fast?it?s going to be hard to hide that fact, ?Desperate female customer shows up in tears. Oh goodie!!?.

3) Am I totally screwed?

4) Wanna come with me? :slight_smile: ? I still feel like barfing from the concussion, and I’m REALLY am not excited about car shopping!

Thank you for any advice you can offer!

Whatever you do, do not let them know you are desperate! It is good to let them know you are a serious buyer and will be buying a car today (as opposed to window shopping). This tells them they need to act and not let you walk out the door. I would try to hide the fact I drove up in a rental if at all possible. Park away from the front door and walk to the new car lot if you must.

I would shop all possible options for a loan before committing to one. They will want to know up front if you are financing through them. This lets them know how much flexibility they have to play with the vehicle price because they will be making a bundle on the back-end interest. You can turn the game around on them a bit if you say you will be financing through them and settle on a price. You can always change your mind and try to hold them to the number they gave on the premise you would be financing.

This is a time to be relaxed, or at least look relaxed! There are lots of cars for sale, and you don’t need to succumb to any sales pressure. I would line up a few potential locations and take a while to make comparison. The salesman will always say that the car you seem to like will be gone in a few hours! Ignore all that BS! If someone starts applying pressure, just get up and walk out!

It’s important to do your homework first. A friend of my wife had her Ford Escourt stolen, and took 2 days to find the right car. She did her homework, using blue book values (your library has these books) of different cars she was interested in. She ended up with an immaculate Mazda Protege, 2003 model.

Compare loan interest rates; sometimes a dealer loan is good, sometimes your bank or credit union is the best.

A Hyundai Accent, or Elantra would be a good choice, you may also find a Mazda Protege, Toyota Echo, or a very good Ford Focus of about 4 years old. Avoid older models.

You are only screwed if you want to be screwed! As stated, it’s your money and buying a car is no different than fighting off souvenir venders in Cancun, Mexico. As I tell my super-polite mother-in-law; it’s very difficult to insult a car salesman!

If you have a friend who knows somthing about cars take him/her with you for advice only. I often help my wife’s friends make a decision on car buying. Whatever you do, the car you buy should be checked out by an independent mechanic. If you buy from a Hyundai dealer, he should give a FREE warranty of 90 days or so to correct any defects. Don’t buy the so-called extended warranty; it is just very expensive insurance.

Glad you survived the collision. Most cars when hit by a Mack truck usually get flattened.

You’re right. A financial misstep here can be costly.

Personally, (in your position) I’d get a pre-approved bank loan. This way you know exactly how much you will be able to afford to cover the vehicle cost, taxes, insurance, etc.

Note: Unless you were getting a good deal from your insurance company (I’m speaking of the yearly coverage/premiums) you may want to shop around in this department as well.

This amount you total up by shopping around. Try to have a (mechanically inclined) friend or perhaps even a trusted tech, who can ensure the vehicle you like and want to buy is the right choice.

Regardless of vehicle choice, ALWAYS have a tech thoroughly inspect the vehicle for possible problems, BEFORE you agree to sign anything.

A pre-approved bank loan will assist to make sure you don’t go above what you can afford.

Dealers loans people tend to try and sell you things you do not need and therefore pad the bill. For instance they will push you to buy an ‘extended warranty’ which in MOST cases is not needed and most often isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

As I mentioned, do not look for a vehicle on your own unless the lot is closed. Temptation awaits around every corner.

You can save a lot of unnecessary work by checking out vehicles on the internet (you likely know that).

I know you mentioned you find yourself being in a position of needing a vehicle quickly. That’s fine as long as you’re cautious at the same time. Good luck and let us know how you make out and what you buy.

All good points in above posts.

If I were you, I’d get a loan or line of credit through your bank - they will likely give much better interest rates, and, in the case of credit lines, can be used for other purchases in the future, aside from cars.

Second, a Hyundai Accent is a good choice, as is it’s larger sister, the Elantra. Good copies of each can be had for a fairly reasonable price - certainly under $10,000.

Thirdly, I wouldn’t mind going with you… if you lived in Eastern Ontario, but I bet you don’t. Oh well.

Lastly, if possible, take public transit to the dealerships - it eliminates the downside a rental car showing up on the dealership lot.

Well you happen to be in the drivers seat (excuse the pun) with car sales being their lowest in 16 years. With the exception of Hybrids and some of the really high gas mileage vehicles you should be able to get a really good deal.

  1. If the Hyundai is offering a good loan, go for it. Just be careful…read it carefully. Pre-approved is a good idea. It’ll give you an idea what you can afford and what the payments should be. I’ve always found that Credit Unions offer the best rates in Car loans. If you belong to one or have one can become a member of it might be worth looking into.

  2. Don’t worry about driving a rental. That should make no difference in the world.

  3. Do you homework. Looks like you’re going with a Hyundai. Do some on-line searching to find the model with all the options you want and what a fair price is. This information can be found with maybe 2-3 hours of work. The best way to NOT get screwed is to be informed. Figure out what a good price is for the vehicle you want. Have a list of what each option costs too. Sit there in front of the salesman with your information in hand. Let him know you have all this information. Be firm. If they won’t meet your price…WALK. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that. I say “Thank you…I’ll think it over.”…then leave…right to another dealer who’s willing to work with me. I’ve seen as much as $10k price difference between dealers for the same car.

You make it sound like you have not received a settlement yet from your insurance company. This being the case or if you haven’t cashed the check yet or “signed off” on the loss, maybe this can help.

I have settled on (profitted on) 3 total losses (none my fault, which helps a little). It takes a little work.

The settlement amount is negotiable and somewhat arbitrary. The insurance company, at best is trying to economize. You on the other hand should be trying to capitalize or “cut your loss”.

Believe it or not you can be compensated for recent repairs, to some extent, if you have receipts. You can reasonably “argue” that the car was in excellent condition or above average, more valuable, etc.

Find similar year, model, miles, cars in newspapers, car lots, online, and see what they are selling for. Let the low ones slide and try for a couple of expensive ones to make your case as to the value of your former loved one (car). Cut them out or print them out. You are now ready to negotiate with the adjuster. I’m sure I don’t have to say to be very nice and polite, but firm.

Refuse to accept a lowball offer and go home and call your insurance agent if necessary and explain that your car is worth more than what is offered. They want to keep you happy and they have some clout.

You don’t say if the car is driveable, creamed, or where it is damaged. Take a driveable car for estimates for the insurance company and see how much for you should you “contract” (cheaper) to get it fixed. Some totalled cars are repairable if the owner “contracts” with a collision shop to fix it with used parts, left over paint, instead of new, etc. This is usually the case if the car is hit in a non-mechanical area, like in the back-end. You buy the “salvage” (wreck) from the insurance company and get a check, too, and get it repaired. The best I’ve done is to come out $1800 ahead by taking a settlement and repairing the salvage, some by my just bolting on used bumpers and stuff. I got hit from behind and tapped the car ahead of me.

This was done legally. I made sure my insurance company knew exactly what I was doing. They said “fine.” "Bring it by so we can take pictures of it when it is repaired and we can reinstate your collision insurance,"
which I did!

All three totalled cars served us well for years after their crash. They were side or rear damaged.

Anyhow, start by getting the biggest bucks from your settlement. That’s why you have insurance, so you aren’t financially damaged. Good luck.

  1. Check rates at a local credit union and your bank for reference point. It should cost you nothing to do this.
  2. Don’t tell them about your situation, it is irrelevant and will only cause the pricing to go higher for you.
  3. Great position given lack luster sales.

Take your time to try out a few cars as it is very expensive personally and financially to change vehicles.

all good advice. I would also suggest that purchasing a new car with zero or a low percent interest rate can be as good or better than choosing used, montly payment and warranty-wise. It all depends on the new car offer and what you can find on the used market. Take your time. I don’t think any salesman will ask about your rental, but just point out that while you want to purchase soon, you have other cars to transport you, so you are not in a real hurry. Some dealers also mark up their used cars way above book retail, and then appear to “come down” quickly, in an attempt to clinch the deal. If purchasing used, make sure you check, and for a decent set of info on the used car you want to buy. Seriously consider a pre-purchase inspection by an independent, trusted mechanic, also.

If purchasing new, obviously a pre-purchse inspection is not needed. Post back if you need more help. Talk with the salesman and make sure he understands where you are coming from; that you don’t want to play games; and the salesman who wins will be one who provides the best deal on a car that meets your needs. Walk if anyone starts any kind of gamesmanship.

You guys are great! Since my head is still spinning, I am starting off a bit slowly by going to my local credit union to join and apply for a loan. Their rate seems to be the best - better than our banks. I printed off info on the Elantra and Yaris. I’d love a Civic, but they are too pricey. Dang, that Yaris 3-door is…profile appeal challenged. Tonight I’ll find all the Hyundai dealers in the area. Also need to ck out other alternative comparable cars. Then I shall silently curse out the driver of the Mack truck a bit more. Then tomorrow I will dare to talk to a salesperson or two. I do wonder what impact actually barfing on the showroom floor might have? Will they give me a good fast deal just to get me out? Concussions suck btw. Feels like I got hit by a Mack truck! Oh, yeah… :slight_smile:

I saw some nice cars locally online then looked at their histories. The first FOUR I looked at had all been in accidents! I am considering actually trying to buy new now. I like the fact that the Elantra has airbags everywhere. Right now that’s very comforting.

Sub-total MSRP : $13,320

Rebate : $-1,000

Freight : $675

Total MSRP : $12,995

Soooo…with no trade-in, what do you think I should offer?

I have a question. Why would you be getting a settlement from YOUR insurance company? Were you determined to be at fault in the collision?

Okay, I also have another question. Have you be fully checked out medically? Years ago, my mother had an argument with a telephone pole, aided and abetted by an icy road. The telephone pole, the car, and my mother all lost the argument. The pole and the car were total losses, thankfully, my mother was not. See didn’t feel right, and it was over a week after the accident before she found out her jaw was broken! And she was a nurse, working in a hospital.

Barfing would be terrific after they make a counter-offer. Also, have you checked out Mack trucks? They hold up well in collisions, I hear.

The cheapest 2008 Elantra GLS 4-door I could find is 14K in my area. The invoice is only about $800 less than MSRP, for the cheapest Elantra I could find, using invoice info, so this pricing sounds OK. The rebate helps out a lot. Offer $12.5 and see what happens. If you are going to use insurance proceeds as the down payment, notify the insurance company that you are closing a deal and they need to be quick about the check. If nothing else, put $50 to $100 as deposit to hold the car until the check arrives.

Talk to your doctor about how long you should tolerate the nausea without being checked out further.

I have a question. Why would you be getting a settlement from YOUR insurance company? Were you determined to be at fault in the collision?

That happens a lot. Your insurance company is negotiating on your behalf for the damage done to your car. To quicken things up they’ll give you a check and then get reimbursed by the other insurance company.

I like banks but the best interest rates will be either from a credit union or from the manufacturer. They are crazy to sell iron right now-at least for new ones. Read the whole contract though and ask questions, and make sure you know the interest rate. Keep the length as low as possible. 36 or 48 on a new car and ofter that is the danger zone where you need to know what and why you are doing it. If you can’t afford that, go for a used one. Interest rates right now should be anywhere from 2% to 6%. If more than that be careful. Under no circumstances go to one of those no money down car lots that finance. They are mafia type rates at 18%. Honda, GMAC, Toyota, Ford Credit, etc. are ok.

Just like on the street, you never want to look vulnerable or you risk an attack. They don’t need to know you are desperate or are driving a rental car. Just need to know if you have a trade or not. They are not your friend. Personally I would go to the more upscale no nonsense places that post the prices on the cars and don’t pay their sales people commissions. There’s just not much haggling except for how much down. Also if you are getting a used car, do have a mechanic check it out. Well worth the $100 or so to avoid a money pit.

Definately not my fault. Big truck just musta liked me, cuz he wandered right into my lane and smashed right into me. I have that affect on men…and Mack trucks apparently.

Yes, I was checked out medically, CT scans were OK. Doc says I have “Post concussion syndrome” which means I will have a headache and be dizzy, stupid, nauseous, cranky, etc. for some undetermined amount of time. My brain is jello-ish. No Fault insurance is somehow paying the medical bills…I don’t understand this piece at all. I have medical insurance.

Yes, my auto insurance company is negotiating on my behalf with his insurance company for the totaling of my car and issuing a check to me. They say it will be in the mail tomorrow. My insurance company has been VERY helpful.

Actually I think the truck was stronger after the collision…like those dragons that, when their head is chopped off, they sprout TWO new replacement heads.

Whoa!!! You were hit by a Mack truck? Not your fault??? You have injuries??? Dizzy, nauseous, cranky for an undetermined amount of time??? Your insurance company is negotiating for you and has been very HELPFUL??? For whom?? Talk to a lawyer before you settle anything. You might be able to afford the whole dealership and, Yes, I WILL come with you.

Ambulance Chasers

You must have TV ads in your area like we have: “Are you sure you haven’t been bitten by a dog, fallen down, or been hit by a Mack Truck? Call 1-800-SCOTT-FREE !” (Scott Steinburner, attorney at large)

Maybe Countrydriver is on to something. I guess one little call couldn’t hurt.

Take a look at the first video, if you haven’t already been hoodwinked by the dealer.