Salvage Title due to hail

It is always complicated for me?

I have a car on lease that I will be returning in three weeks (the reason this is important will become clear below).

I also have a 1996 GMC Suburban with 130K miles that I was planning on being my main mode of transport for the next 6 months. Recently it was in the middle of a hail storm and did not fare so well. It sustained $4000 dollars of damage and due to its age has been deemed a total loss by the insurance company. They will pay me $4200 to total out the vehicle (and they get it for scrap), or $2400 and I can keep the vehicle as a salvage. I then would need to make a few repairs (I believe the mirror and windshield would be the only required items) and get it through inspection so I can get a restored title to drive it legally.

As stated I had planned to drive and then replace the truck in the spring anyways, but I am wondering if I should accelerate my plan. I am disappointed because I believe (due to the pre-hail condition) that I could have got more than $4200 when I sold the vehicle, but now if I keep it and drive it for 6 more month I believe I am unlikely to get my $1800 back out of it.

The reason I was waiting 6 months is that by applying the amount of my current monthly lease payment to my wife?s car loan payment, I can have her car paid off in April.

So what does everyone think:

- Do I pay to salvage the Suburban, drive it for 6 more months and be happy with what I can get for it at that time?

- Do I cash out now and accelerate my plan to replace it without as much down or as much clearance in my monthly budget for the new vehicle? This will also extend the time it takes me to pay off my wife?s car loan by up to a year.

- Any other ideas?


Now to go find a forum where I can get some input on hail damage to a house?

Hail damage on the house should be covered, prorated by the age of the roof of course.

Maybe I missed something, but what is car on lease you are considering returning? If you have done all the maintenance and you like (what is the car) It may be a good deal, but it does bring title and insurance issues into question.

The car lease was just to explain why I want to wait 6 months to replace the truck.

Adding the money I would normally spend on the lease to my wife’s car payment will help me pay that off more than a year early. If I replace the truck now I will not be able to do that.

I don’t understand why you are limiting yourself to keeping the Suburban just six months. Can’t you keep it, make the repairs needed to make it legally roadworthy, and then drive it until it dies or gas prices go so high as to make it entirely uneconomical to keep? Any time it lasts after you get the spouse’s car paid off is just money in the bank. Just have an amount equivalent to the spouse’s car payment automatically transferred into a separate account after the car is paid off. That’s your new car fund.

P.S. How much would the repairs cost?


Seems to me when opportunity knocks, you open the door. You’ve got a chance to get rid of the Sub, although a little early, so to me makes no sense to keep it. Only question is what to replace it and the leased car with. Maybe you can turn it in early and not take a big hit if you buy a car from them. I’m not a big fan of leases being less costly in the long run.

I would keep the Suburban, fix only the necessary things to make it legal (which should not cost anywhere near $2,400), and drive it as long as possible, paying off the other loan and saving money in the meantime.

Don’t worry about what you will get when you sell it. That’s irrelevant. It could be hit by a semi next month, and then it really would be a total loss.

Call your insurance agent about damage to your house.

Hail damage on the house should be covered, prorated by the age of the roof of course.

My insurance covered the entire cost, no prorating. You coverage may vary.

How tall are you and other members of our family or nearby neighbors that you think you need to impress? Unless any of those people are over 7’ tall, they can’t see much of the roof of the 'Burban. Fix the windshield and mirror, then look for a hood that is already painted the right color at You may not be able to find a good one locally as local salvage yards may have had hail too. With that, the vehicle will be presentable and will probably serve you as long as you want to own it.

I removed the hail pounded silver hood from my BMW M3, drove it 200 miles to a salvage yard that had a matching hood, installed it in their parking lot, with their help, and drove it home. The trunk lid came courtesy of a frind who was going 175 miles in the opposite direction and volunteered to pick it up for me. The rag top was the most expensive part…

You have another choice with the truck, that will save you from having a salvage and rebuilt title put on its history:

Talk to your insurance agent, and tell him you want to bring the value of the damages to the point of being just below the limit that totals the truck, and you will accept that much.

Then, you use that money to replace the damaged windshield and mirror, plus take the truck to a paintless dent repair shop, and have them tackle the areas that are plainly obvious, like the hood, front fenders, front doors, and anywhere else that is plainly obvious.

Then, you can keep your truck for the next 6 months, and sell it without taking a big hit in the resale value at all.


Great idea Bladecutter! I will see if this is a possibility. I would prefer to keep the truck and not have a salvage title, and if your solution is possible then both will be accomplished.

If this turns out not to be an option then I think I have decided to keep the vehicle as a salvage. While I will not be able to get the $4500 (which was in no way guaranteed) when I was planning to sell it in six months, I will get $2400 now and I get to keep the truck. I will probably just keep it as a backup vehicle and for camping trips (which is what I have used it for over the past several years anyways) even after I pay off my wife?s car and replace my leased vehicle.

Thank you for everyone?s input!

If the GMC runs for another 6 months, that is $300 per month which is what your payment on a new car would be-probably even more. So after 6 months the $1800 difference is paid for and now you also have a car that can sell for whatever they buy it, or keep driving until the wheels fall off (which is what I would do) and “earn” $300/month. The only time I will get rid of an old car is if it is unsafe or can not serve the purpose it was intended for.