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Replacing a truck that's declared totaled --2000 Ford Ranger

Our fully paid for 2000 Ford Ranger XLT has likely been totaled. It was a good reliable truck even with its 155K. I’m looking for advice on finding a replacement that won’t give us a car payment. How do we negotiate the best settlement we can from the other party’s insurance? What other vehicles should we consider for the same price with the goal of obtaining a safe reliable means of transportation. Having a pickup is not a priority, though I would consider one. My wife has been hearing friend brag about Subaru. I’m guessing we’ll be in the $5K price range from looking at autotrader for 2000 Rangers in our area.

–T

You can find the value of your truck at Edmunds.com, go to used cars and click on appraise your car. At 155K for a 2000 I think your $5000 is much too high.

If you were buying a new Subaru, they are reliable. Old Subaru’s ($3,000-5K) are not cheap used cars to repair. I don’t think a 2000 or older Subaru would be “reliable” car, and if the AWD goes bad it can be expensive to repair. Head gasket failures and repairs are frequent problems with old Subaru’s, an expensive fix too.

My insuror uses nadaguides.com for their pricing information (retail listing). It is transparent and in the cases where our vehicle was totalled, I found it to be reasonable. If you don’t know what the appraiser will use to value it, then have several sources of information to review when you receive the offer. Keep in mind this is a negotiation process. Even though I am a 3 time Subaru owner, I would not buy used from anyone outside my family. Reason is you don’t know and probably cannot verify kind and quality of maintenance the car has received. Proper maintenance is critical for the Subaru drive train.

Nothing wrong with trying to find the best possible deal on another, younger Ranger or other small pick up.

You can find deals on craigslist…Toyotas are likely to be overpriced but Nissans and Mazdas will be more reasonable…On this forum, Subaru’s are #1 in problem posts…

Thanks!

Regarding negotiation with insurance companies, this is my story:

My 2000 Altima was hit by an 82 year old lady. It was parked at the time and luckily nobody was in it because the car bounced 12 feet onto the curb after all was said and done.
Their insurance company offered 3800 for the car but I knew there’d be no way I could replace it for less than 5000. It went back and forth for about a month and their last offer was $4600 and they treated it like they did me this huge favor. That was “their absolute last offer - it is more than the car is worth”.

I said “I guess you leave me no choice: I’m going to try and get the rest of what I need out of your client in small claim’s court…”. Cars of that year with that kind of mileage went easily for over 5K. It would be easy to prove.
The insurance adjuster threatened "Do I need to remind you that our company’s legal resources will be at the disposal of our client?"
I go “Do I need to remind /you/ that in Connecticut one cannot be represented by legal counsel in small claims court??”

I go my 5K within two days.

You don’t have to be nasty but do push back. Don’t take their first offer.

The insurance company will almost certainly try to “low ball” you. I had that experience about 17 years ago. We had let our son take a car to college. He was working with a church and loaned the car to a family who needed to take their own daughter back to another college about 70 miles away and their car wouldn’t start. An older woman got out of her lane and hit our car head on. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
My first problem was in obtaining a rental car for my son to drive and to get the insurance company of the woman who was at fault to pay for the car. After my son got the run around, I called the insurance agent. I used my “doctor” title. I had my graduate assistant prepared to say the following when I gave the signal: “Doctor, you are needed immediately in the lab”. Of course, I didn’t say that my doctorate is in statistics, and the lab was the computer lab. The agent at the other end, after giving me a rough time about not being able to supply a car since my son was under 25, suddenly changed her tune when my graduate assistant loudly announced that I was needed in the lab. My son had a car delivered to his door in 20 minutes.
A day later, the claims adjuster from the insurance company called me and said that our vehicle was totaled and that they would send me a check for $3125. I had done my homework and found that 1988 Ford Tauruses were selling between $3800 and $4100 in my area(this was in December of 1995). I called a dealer that knew my car and he said that he wouldn’t take less than $4000 if my car were on his lot. I told the claims adjuster that I wanted $4000 and how I determined the price. He countered that he had a computer printout that showed the market value of my car. I told him that market value was what I would have to pay for a replacement car in my locale. I told him that if he would locate a replacement car and get a guaranteed price, I would look at the car and if it was equivalent, I would take the car or the cash. He responded, “I do not go shopping”. I then said, “I receive $200 an hour when I do consulting work. If I have to shop for a car, I will charge you this for my time”. He became indignant and exclaimed, “I don’t have to listen to this crap” and hung up. Since I had their rental car, I didn’t care. I figured he would call back the next day which he did. He started by saying, “We have to get together on this car business”. I then responded, “Young man, I want two things. I want an apology for your conduct on the telephone yesterday and I want $4000 for the car your insured party destroyed”. He then said, “I am putting a check for $4000 in the mail today. When you get the check, return the title”. He then hung up. I was one for two–I received the $4000 for the replacement of the car, but I didn’t get the apology.

My wife totaled our 10 year old 2000 Passat. It ran like a top, got 38 mpg on the road, and was the best car I ever had. My collision insurance with State Farm offered me more than I expected, even after the deductible.

What kind of collision was it? Was culpability clearly and easily determined?

If you were rear-ended or something, and the other party was clearly at fault, this will be pretty simple. Go to kbb.com and edmunds.com and check the value of your vehicle with the options you had. Print out that information and bring it to the insurer that will be issuing the check. You should be able to wrangle an amount pretty close to the actual value without much struggling.

Thanks everyone. This company was fair offering NADA clean retail right off the bat.

Now to look for a dependable car for around 5K. Any recommendations?

My only recommendation is to budget $100 to have a prospective used car checked out by your mechanic before you buy. Don’t trust the “certified pre-owned” tripe, and don’t let them talk you into letting it be checked out by a mechanic who has a conflict of interest.

Thanks!