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Should I Try To Convince My Insurance To Total Or Repair My Car?

I agree, best idea is to bring it back to good operating condition, but not worry about the dings and dents. You’ll have a vehicle which will win in any crinkle fender contest you run up against. Nobody in a newer car w/no dents is going to pull in front of you, b/c they know you have no reason to worry about dents :wink:

Your post reminds me when I took a trip to NYC from small town Colorado for a job interview many years ago. The interviewer decided to drive me in his car to Manhattan (from Manhasset where the interview was) for dinner. We got in 2 minor fender bender accidents caused by taxis in just that one trip. Nothing major, both parties got out, took a look, and said not to worry about the damage. Me, being from a small town, I wasn’t used to being banged up that much just driving to dinner, but the fellow driving just shrugged his shoulders, says a few dings and dents along the way is part of driving in Manhattan … lol …

I did some research after the mechanic said what he did about salvage titles; to quote the NY DMV on the matter:

DMV regulations require the DMV to mark or ‘brand’ a title certificate if

  • a vehicle is 8 model years old or newer and

  • the owner indicated that the vehicle was destroyed or received damage of 75% or more of the retail value of the vehicle at the time the damage occurred

Further down the page:

The DMV must examine the vehicle. If the DMV issues a title certificate for a vehicle 8 model years or newer, the title certificate will display ‘REBUILT SALVAGE: NY.’ Generally, titles for vehicles older than 8 model years are not ‘branded.’

I have thirty plus years of property and casualty insurance. The insurance company would like to total this car, as that ends their involement. Do you have rental car coverage? This can push the cost of the claim over the threshold.

The Insurance company would rather you keep the car then transport, store and auction a beat up 11 year old Camry. Each step costs money and an auction would bring scrap value.

If you keep the car, the insurance company may not be willing to provide collision coverage. Most people would not buy it on a rough 11 year old car anyway. You won’t have accident forgiveness on a second loss. Would you turn in a claim involving only physical damage to this car, if it raised your rates? No? Then why pay for collision coverage?

I would tell the adjuster that you would like the car to be totalled and that you want to buy the remains. Make your decision based on his reply.

Setting aside the good points above that you may not have much sway with the insurance company (which has no agents by the way), you only live once. You’re in a beat-down Camry and have a chance to get out. Do it!


It’s good theft prevention.
If I lived in NYC I’d want a beat-down Camry too. :grin:

Update: It looks like they’ll cover it!!

Somehow they miraculously valued my car at about $6,800??? I have no clue how that happened o.o

And apparently, they think they were way overestimating about suspensions issues and think it looks like the wheels were just knocked badly out of the alignment, as the tire / fender took the majority of the damage…?

But anyhow. They’re covering it. And my car is worth more than I feared. Both good things, right?

I’ll also say I totally agree with, and take advantage of, the beat-up camry anti-theft sentiment. Like… I’ve never had a break-in to my car, in spite of often having non-valuable-but-stealable items in the back seat, and often valuable things in the trunk. I think a lot of that has to do with the condition of the car not causing people to bother o.o

And the “urban combat vehicle” sentiment definitely rings true too :stuck_out_tongue:

If it were me given the condition I would let it go, I mean the description of the car is it is beat and at of end of life, take the money and move on imhop.

Better urban combat vehicle:


You’re not the OP.
The OP is happy about being able to keep the car. What’s wrong with that? I’m happy for him/her.

[quote=“phnord, post:1, topic:110455”]
The right side is scratched up, has a dent that makes the front right door have issues, and needs a new mirror

Both bumpers have dings, dents. A rear light has missing plexiglass on it.

I was recently in a small accident that caused the front left bumper to be dented, and has damaged the suspension / shocks / steering in some capacity (it thinks it’s driving straight when the steering wheel is crooked, turning feels strange, some noises from the shocks)
[/quote] @the_same_mountainbike

If you love it keep it, but I see it as time to let it go imhop


It looks like I’m keeping it — not so much because I love it, but because:

  • They aren’t declaring it totalled and are covering the repairs

  • I thus don’t have that option really on the table

  • With where my life is at right now, I don’t have the time and energy to try to figure out buying a different car to replace it

Do you see an alternative that you’d still suggest?

i guess you are stuck with repairs then, Trade it in on something else soon, my best advice.

I am with Mr. Barky and John Gorham , this vehicle has paid it’s dues . I am really having a hard time wrapping my head around it getting valued at $6800.00 .

You have the choice of keeping or selling the vehicle whether or not the insurance company declares the car “totaled”. It seems that you want to keep the car.

If I was in your situation, I would be happy about keeping it, it doesn’t sound like anything mechanical wrong with it, and sounds like an ideal car to commute to NY City with and leave on the street. Some people’s self unage is wrapped up in what they drive. Mine is not and it sounds like yours isn’t either.


There’s no way I’d let bumps and bruises stop me from keeping a NYC car. I doubt that there’s a car owned by a working stiff in NYC that’s without bumps and bruises. Checker Marathons were actually designed to enable very fast and easy replacement of their body panels… as well as bumpers of heavy gage steel with shocks in them… specifically to survive urban combat and stay out of the repair shops and on the road.

It’s a matter of preference, but if I were the OP I’d keep it.