Friday, August 11, 2017

What the Heck... Answered

So as I mentioned in my previous post, our minivan got hammered by 2" diameter hail two weeks after I cancelled comprehensive insurance on it only to learn a couple months later that it never had been cancelled. I called the insurance company to start a claim to help me make up my mind if it is worth it to fix up the damage so that it looks nice for the next five years or so before we trade it in, especially since I would only have to pay my $750 deductible to do so.

The insurance company told me to go ahead and get an estimate on the damage and so I did and it came out to $3200! Holy smokes! So I forwarded on the estimate to the insurance company and they caught their breath as well and set up an appointment for their estimator to take a look at things. He showed up this morning and after a thorough inspection said that the estimate I got was low and should be nearly $4000! The van is only worth $5000 in the condition it was before the hail storm.

So long story short, they consider it totaled. Fixing up the hail damage is a moot point because I won't get enough money back to fix the thing. They will give me $5000 but I would have to buy it back for $3000, what they think it is worth in an auction setting meaning I can keep the van and a cool $2000 in my pockets. Or, I can pocket $5000 but then someone in a tow truck will come and pick up my van never to be seen again and of course, I would have to replace it. What to do, what to do?

We really love the minivan and it is our main family vehicle but at ten years old already, it won't last the other 14 years we need it too until our kids have flown the nest. So on one hand, it might make sense to get another one for those remaining 14 years. On the other hand, we could drive it as is though I still need to put another $1500 in repairs scheduled in a couple weeks and probably get another five years out of it or more. I would end up with an extra $500 ($2000 they gave me minus the $1500 in repairs) in my pocket but a van that I really can't easily sell due to it being totaled.

After much discussion, I think we finally settled on taking the $5000+ settlement and saying goodbye to it which means we have to buy another one. In my younger days when I drove a lot of junked out cars for pennies, I wouldn't go this route but we've been fortunate and I have two kids now who depend on me so I think it makes sense. We went out and test drove a vehicle which is the only one in the category with All Wheel Drive which I consider a must these days and really liked it. Today as I write this I'm doing research on what I should pay for it. Tomorrow if all goes well, I will go negotiate a final price for one.


Susan said...

Good thinking - it pays to have a safe vehicle when toting kids around. And it seems like you sure get your money's worth out of your vehicles. I am still amazed at the 2" diameter hail...

Bob said...

You made the right decision.

Kelly said...

Wow... that's a lot of damage! Like Susan, I'm still wrapping my mind around 2" hail.

Sounds like the right decision to me, too.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Thanks for letting us know.
That is a lot of hail damage!

Vince said...

Hail comes big over you way. We get things about as big as a fingernail. And you'd want to be real unlucky if they scratched the paint.
Here I know it would be worthwhile to get a new/newer one for it gets to a point about 8 yo when the savings are being eaten by inefficiencies in fuel consumption. But of course that mightn't be such a factor with you.

Ed said...

Susan - I try to get my money's worth out of all my major purchases. My old van won't make the list this time but almost all my other vehicles have.

Bob - I don't have any regrets and that is always a positive.

Kelly - Really the damage didn't look all that bad and from twenty feet away, it isn't even noticeable. But when you get up close it really looks like the surface of a golf ball and some of the dented surfaces, like the window trim, is really expensive to replace.

Pumpkin Delight - It gives me something to blather on about!

Vince - I have been in a lot of hail storms in vehicles before and small marble size was as big as I ever saw, until this time. Actually I think the vehicle we bought was a mile or two less in MPG rating than our old one due to the AWD feature on it. (More on that tomorrow.) But in general, I have always found it worthwhile in fuel consumption AND safety devices which have been coming out left and right these last few years.

Leigh said...

Ed, interesting story. It's crazy how much it costs to repair vehicles. We don't have comprehensive on our two vehicles either, but just live with the bumps and dents which, really, are in keeping with their age anyway. I hope you find just the right vehicle for the right price!