Repair vs totaling a car

Our 2009 Prius was side/rear ended when another person ran a red light. We could have it repaired. The insurance will cover the cost of about $4,700 to repair the car. The car has 126,000 miles on it. The insurance company will offer $6,369 to total the car. We are in a quandary about which option to take. The Prius was never in an accident before & had no problems. We have another car to use but thought we would have the Prius for years. Having 2 cars with our schedules is a definite convenience but probably not a necessity, We are trialing using 1 car presently. Should we take the money to use toward buying a new car in the future or repair it to keep a second car. WE were not planning to buy a new car for a while. The other car we have is a 2010 Honda CR-V with about 94,000 miles on it. We put very little mileage on the Prius at this point in our lives.

That payoff your insurance company is quoting you is at least $2000 low in my area of the country. You need to visit or to price out what it would cost you to purchase the exact same car you have now… a 2009 Prius with 126K… and print out the pages.

Show the company (especially if it is not YOUR insurance company) you will not accept the amount they are offering. They are obligated to make you “whole” by compensating for your loss.

They are also required to cover your medical expenses. Even those that occur long after the accident as long as they are FROM the accident so be SURE not to sign away those rights.

I also seriously doubt you could get a proper repair on your car for only $4700 if the buyout offer is $6369. The company may also think that, too. If the repairs are started on your car the cost may increase once the body repair shop gets the car pulled apart and the insurance company will be on-the-hook for those extra costs.

If this is getting too complicated for you, you might want to hire your own lawyer to represent you in this matter. It might be money well spent.


I have visited & appraised the value of my car. The appraisal on Edmunds is $2,000 less than what insurance is offering. I did not look at what a 2009 Prius is selling for,

Is that 'Trade-In" value or selling price? You want “Selling Price” as that’s what you will be paying.

My story goes back to 1963 and occurred in California, so your situation may differ. I totaled my 1958 Porsche. There weren’t nearly as many Porsches around in those days, and we didn’t have databases to search for comparable vehicles. But I looked in the newspaper ads, and when my insurance company made an offer, I replied, “I think the car was worth more than that.” So they did further research and ended up paying me more.

As for repair versus replacement versus no second car, we’ve have been living with one car for over two years now. The nearest bus stop is 4 miles away, and the nearest supermarket 7 miles. No problem for the 2 of us, both retired. Depending on where you live, and your situation, using a taxi service and/or public transportation could be less expensive than owning a second car. When I lived in San Francisco (70s and 80s) I did the computation. It was much less expensive to not own a car and rent one for my occasional weekend trips. I did buy a car, with the realization that it was an expensive luxury that I could easily afford at the time.

Many decisions in life. We make our choices and somehow figure out how to live with those choices.If I had made different choices, my life would’ve been different, but there’s no way to tell if it would’ve been better or worse. Just different.

Not true if the OP lives in a no-fault insurance state.


Not trade in value. I never trade a car. On Edmunds website it’s titled car appraisal. Found a 2009 Prius with 22,000 more miles for sale for 7,200 on Kbb. The insurance quote is minus a $500 deductible plus $67 fees.

It’s 13 yrs old. Time to move on


When totaling the car, insurance should also be covering the anticipated cost for you to register the replacement vehicle, and also cover the prorated loss of your existing registration. That could add several hundred more dollars to your payout, make sure it’s included.

Where do you get that ? I have never heard of any insurance company doing that.


You need Gap Insurance for that.

They don’t.

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It was covered for me, when my car was totalled by a rear-end collision. And I did not have gap insurance, only comprehensive and no collision coverage. Paid by the at-fault’s carrier.

Why shouldn’t they be paying that? They are supposed to make you whole, not left with potentially thousands of dollars of sales tax out of your pocket.

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How is an insurance company able to cover the cost of registering a replacement vehicle?

In my state, the cost of registering a vehicle is dependent on the price paid for the replacement vehicle.


Because they already know the expected price of the replacement vehicle. That’s what the re-registration estimate is based on.

Apparently only 34 states have that type of coverage and it depends on several factors that only a persons agent can answer .

What state do you live in? Sorry, but over 50 years of driving and working 10 years as a Software Consultant in the Auto Insurance industry what you’re saying it NOT the norm. Normal auto insurance does NOT cover any of those items you’ve mentioned.

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Cool. Well it was in WA and it was 2015.

You got the insurance company to pay for 12 months of registration on the replacement vehicle? How many months were remaining on the old vehicles registration?

In NY if you cancel your registration and have 12 months left you get a refund for the 12 months. 1 day short of the 12months -no refund. never heard of getting it through the insurance company