Should my poor subie be totaled?

subaru
impreza

#1

tl;dr: Progressive is over-valuing my fairly new but very worn car, and cheaping out on repairs with A/M or recycled so that they can avoid totalling it.

So, I have a '16 Impreza wagon, base model with nothing extra but a Uhaul 1" receiver. It was in a front-end collision at 35-40 mph. No airbags were deployed, the engine did not shut off, and there were no fluid leaks. I actually drove it home because I was less than a half-mile away. When I got home there was a noticeable smell that I attributed to a small piece of bodywork or wheel well fairing making contact with a tire. I am in Michigan, so this is a no-fault case and I have already collected my 1K from the other driver’s insurance. From this point, I can only deal with Progressive on my own policy or claim the other driver did it willfully and intentionally (she went, then waited, then went again when any sane person would know you have no chance, and certainly passed the point we could prevent it, but I have not yet voiced these concerns.)

I am new in my area and don’t have a mechanic I’ve gotten familiar with, so I let them choose the first location for an estimate. That totalled $8000 and I have a 1K deductible, so the total cost of repairs is $7000 from Progressives standpoint. They told me they believe the car is worth 15,400 dollars based on comps and so the total is near 50% and thus they intended to repair the car.

While I was waiting for this info I had done a little research on the shop, the average cost of repairs for these types of accidents and so on, and two things caught my attention. First, they had allotted 7 hours for frame labour, but weren’t replacing any components of the frame; two, they were using a substantial number of aftermarket, and in one case a used/recycled (so from another salvaged wagon right?) parts totalling a difference of $1060 in cost.

I raised these concerns and stated that I believe the car should be totalled based on the extent of the damage, and moreover, a fair value for the car in its “pre-accident” condition is closer to 13-14. At my value or even a compromise between the two, they said they were nowhere near totalling the car, and wouldn’t even consider it unless the total of damages exceeded 60% of the value. As far as the used parts, they said the contract gives them the right to do so, and they will; if I want I can argue a price-match with the repairing/ supplying facility.

I did have it sent to a second facility, the collision wing of the dealer group that owns my local Subie dealer, with whom I had little interaction but had consulted on this matter already took over the car and did another estimate. They found damage to the exhaust header on the impact side and noted that original estimate planned to repair the lower right front rail which they were demanding be replaced.

This brought the total for repairs after my deductible to 8175, which was now 55% of their value. I argued that first, the total cost of repairs should include all OEM parts since I will pay for them even if Progressive doesn’t since cheap parts will likely lead to a situation where my extended Subie warranty won’t cover me when it otherwise would. I also argued again that a more accurate value for my car in its pre-accident condition is somewhere in the 13-14500 range accounting for the need of a heavy cleaning, new tires, a few minor dents/chips/scratches, and the likelihood of quite a few child-caused permanent stains in the rear upholstery and the roof lining.

If they used my value, which I backed up to them with printouts of price guides and a vAuto sheet for the car from the subie dealer, and used the true total cost of repairs (cost+deductible+OEM) the car was actually at 72% of loss, and dangerously near the state requirements for a salvage title vehicle. They said “ok, good points. we’ll do some more research and come back to you.”

They came back and said that actually, my car was worth even more than they thought, now up to 16,600. In light of this increase, even the new damage doesn’t rise enough to make it necessary to total it, and they want to proceed with repairs. I elevated again (already talking to claims supervisor at this point), and the last ring in the chain I talked to was a total dick, and basically told me I don’t care if your unhappy, I don’t care if you leave us, I don’t care if you hire an attorney or file a complaint, this is how it is and we’re not moving.

At this point negotiations with progressive for my auto damage have ceased, and I initiated the “appraisal” process, only to discover that progressive has contracted with everyone I could find in my local area and the best price I can find for an appraiser is $750 to hire someone in Chicago or Detroit.

I explored the route of taking the cash and selling it as salvage myself, and at least ten different mechanics, including my own Subaru dealership (who already have the car by corporate extension), were not even willing to give me half of the salvage quote I got to buy car and do the repairs at their own cost.

So no one agrees with progressives value, and no one else thinks its worth it to repair this car. I spoke with the state insurance commision, and after elevating a few times there spoke with an honest manager who told me flatly that Progressive is the worst by his account and if I submit a complaint before “appraisal” Progressive will argue I didn’t explore all resolution options; but if I go to appraisal and the result is enough to tip the scales a complaint after won’t matter because the appraisal decision is contractually binding.

What the hell sort of Bermuda triangle nightmare am I in? Has anyone experienced this before? If I take the cash route and recover my warranty and all else I’ll still owe 5K. If progressive totals it, my GAP kicks in, and I can put my warranty in my pocket to go buy a new Subie. I feel like I am owed this coverage, but maybe I am crazy. Someone, please tell me I am not crazy (unless its a lie).


#2

Non of which affects the value of your car, they don’t care if your Saint Bernard ate the upholstery and then threw up allover. They don’t care if all the neighborhood tom cats sprayed the inside of the car.

What they look for in determining the value of your car is what it would cost to replace your car with a similarly equipped and mileage 2016 Subaru Impreza.

With you trying to prove your car is worth less than they say is going to come back and bite you.

What are you going to do when the legally binding “appraisal process” determines your car is only worth $5000.00?


#3

I’ve got State Farm and never had a problem. When they determine the value of a car, they use three sources for the data. They actually paid me more than I thought my car was worth. I don’t like after market parts which are nicknamed sorta fit parts, especially on the hood, but used parts are after all what is on there now, so I don’t see much problem with used.

I guess you can keep on arguing but I’d just push for a quality shop and a new/used cradle. Then trade if you don’t like it. The other thing you can do is hire a private adjuster type to plea your case.


#4

I have GAP coverage for this exact reason. If they say it’s worth 500 I don’t care, it won’t cost me anything out of pocket.

What they’re doing is essentially forcing me into a car that otherwise should have been totalled, simply by playing with numbers.


#5

Are you sure you know what GAP insurance is?
If they total the car and your GAP insurance covers the rest of the loan that Progressive doesn’t, you’ll walk away with no car and no money.

GAP insurance only works if you owe more on the loan than the car is worth.


#6

Right, so to address your first post, no I am not concerned with a low value, exactly because the defficiency will be made up by GAP.

My extended warranty is mine to refund, and I have confirmed this with my financier and the GAP carrier.


#7

Mechanics don’t want collision damaged cars, they want cars with mechanical problems that they can repair.

Body shops are not going to offer much, there is too much risk. After the damaged area is disassembled there is usually additional damage or damaged parts found and an estimate revision is submitted to the insurance company. This is when the insurance company will make the decision whether or not to total the vehicle.

You should let the professionals do their jobs, they may have totaled the vehicle after further inspection but now want to prove that they were right and have it repaired.


#8

Let me get this right, you want the car totaled and payed off buy insurance just so you can be refunded the $2,500.00 for your unused extended warranty, and be without a car ?


#9

I simply don’t want a car that has sustained this level of damage. I bought it brand new with a doubled warranty for a reason, and I am no longer confident in the cars longevity and reliability.

Not to mention two grand is enough to replace the car with something else new if I so choose.


#10

It varies by state but for example, here in OK if the repair costs meet or exceed 60% of the car’s actual value then the car will be considered a total. You might check and see what your state allows.

Actual value does NOT mean roughly what the retail prices are on the lot. It means the actual loan value.

For 8 grand+ in repairs I always strongly suspect there is more damage that has not been found or will be found during the repairs. The old saying is that it’s one thing after the other usually holds true. If it were me I’d want the car totaled and walk away from it.


#11

Quite a few people have told me simply to allow them to repair it, then be a total asshole about the work done. I get the position, but I am not trying to be deceitful here.

Michigan sets the limit for salvage at 75 percent, and I firmly believe their valuation of my car is unreasonably high.

Good condition trade in is around 14500, average is about 13000, loan value for the car is only 12000. Private sale is about 16000. These are all pre-accident figures. They are retailing for about 16, but to say mine is retail ready is just absurd.


#12

They don’t care what the value of your car is…

They only care about the replacement cost, which you are claiming is about $16,000.00

75% of $16,000.00 is $12,000.00 your car would have to have $12,000.00 worth of damages before they total it.


#13

Don’t see the issue here. “Frame” straightening usually does not need any materials. It’s all set up on the machine and labor to do the pulling. Highly labor intensive operation in set up and doing the work. Secondly, it is well known and established practice to replace damaged parts with used or aftermarket equivalents. You have a used car, their obligation is to make you whole. Your parts are used now and the replacements will be used. Only if they cannot locate any used parts will they pay for new parts.


#14

This is not homeowners insurance. The contract language states “actual cash value”, not replacement cost.


#15

Some people would argue that they would rather have a used genuine Subaru part vs a “Like kind and quality” part from the Pacific rim.


#16

After the second opinion they are now replacing components of the frame, three infact: left lower right rail, lower front tie bar, and right lower rail plate.


#17

Exactly, now used parts are worrisome too but at least maintain my warranty (I think).

Only one person here, and the progressive rep think A/M parts are quality, everyone else has told me their about one step over tin-foil. For example my entire radiator assembly is being replaced, OEM is $475ish, the one they are using is $150.

Now I know there is some markup on an OEM part, but less than half the price for a critical compenent?


#18

You were involved in an accident just as many of us have been. You really need to stop worrying about minor things like the price difference of the radiator. Step back and let the collision center do their job. After all is done you will either sign off on the work or not. Then drive the vehicle for a while and decide if you are going to keep it or if you will feel better trading it off.


#19

After this car is repaired I will be lucky to get 12 for it in a trade, assuming I paid the additional thousand for all OEM parts. I don’t consider the loss of thosands of dollars trivial, when I already paid over a thousand dollars to be protected from this exact sequence of events in this exact scenario.


#20

Either progressive or your state is different, here in Washington it’s replacement cost.

My 95 Toyota truck that was paid off, blue booked at $4,500.00 when it got totaled, my insurance gave me $9,500.00 for it because that’s what it cost them to replace it.