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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I'm sorry my first post is a sad one. My first ever car, a 1998 blue 4 door Rav4, that I've been driving since 1997 was hit on the passenger side a couple of Thursdays ago. The passenger side doors were damaged, the front passenger door was bent outward and open (no glass damage surprisingly), the alignment is all offset about 180 degrees, and there is possible frame damage as the glove box doesn't want to close properly now. Still, I was able to drive it to work and then home until the insurance company towed it for assessment. From the inside or any other side except the right, you'd barely be able to tell it was damaged except for the gap above the front passenger door.

Alas, they declared it a total loss as they say the total damage exceeds the market value, and there may be more hidden damage not immediately evident, even though it is still driving.

Needless to say, I'm heartbroken. I kept it in very good condition all these years, regular checkups at Toyota, drove it all over the place on many long trips.

I feel like it's such a loss, not only the car with so many memories, but also another classic 90's Rav4 off the road.

I will have to get a new car, but what should I do with the old one? They want my permission to sell it for salvage, and will pay me the market value, which might only be around $1500 Canadian (I'm in Vancouver).

They said the damage was at least $5000 dollars and possibly considerably more. :(

Vince
 

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No recommendations but sincere condolences. It must be frustrating to take such good care of a vehicle and then have it taken away by the presumed carelessness of others.
 

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Hello everyone,

I'm sorry my first post is a sad one. My first ever car, a 1998 blue 4 door Rav4, that I've been driving since 1997 was hit on the passenger side a couple of Thursdays ago. The passenger side doors were damaged, the front passenger door was bent outward and open (no glass damage surprisingly), the alignment is all offset about 180 degrees, and there is possible frame damage as the glove box doesn't want to close properly now. Still, I was able to drive it to work and then home until the insurance company towed it for assessment. From the inside or any other side except the right, you'd barely be able to tell it was damaged except for the gap above the front passenger door.

Alas, they declared it a total loss as they say the total damage exceeds the market value, and there may be more hidden damage not immediately evident, even though it is still driving.

Needless to say, I'm heartbroken. I kept it in very good condition all these years, regular checkups at Toyota, drove it all over the place on many long trips.

I feel like it's such a loss, not only the car with so many memories, but also another classic 90's Rav4 off the road.

I will have to get a new car, but what should I do with the old one? They want my permission to sell it for salvage, and will pay me the market value, which might only be around $1500 Canadian (I'm in Vancouver).

They said the damage was at least $5000 dollars and possibly considerably more. :(

Vince


Damage quoted is way more than what is reasonable. It is an insurance thing. If you really like the vehicle you can get it fixed way cheaper. You just have to shop.

Unless you are ok with another vehicle, I would not let it go to waste. It took me a few months to find somebody who would fix a dent in my car for 200 dollars. I had quotes up to 1000 dollars. When insurance gets involved, the scams are even higher.
 

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Well, bad luck there! Hope eveyone is OK.

A classic approach, if you have the space to store the damaged vehicle and are mechically inclined, is to find a good body with clear title (the cheaper, the better) and to transfer your parts over to it.

Insurance companies often will sell you the totalled vehicle for about 10% (it's negotible). But look into your accrued towing and storage fees first -- they may be outragious if you didn't have it towed to your own property directly from the accident.
 

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I'm so sorry for this situation. I had a very close call just two weeks ago that forced me to drive into a ditch to avoid getting hit from behind at 50 mph. I'm very lucky I checked my mirrors in time to see the truck and was able to safely get into the ditch! I would also suggest shopping around on your own too for estimates on repairs. A family member backed into my front passenger door a few years ago and they offered to file it on their insurance, but the cost was outrageous so I told them to not worry about it, as it was purely cosmetic. I eventually found a quality shop that would just replace the "skin" of the door and refinish for 500.00! So, it is worth it to shop around! I hope all works out in your favor!!
 

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Sorry to hear about the damage. After looking at your pic, I would think you could find a good body shop with frame equipt to fix for a reasonable price.
How many miles? Is all your maint up to date? Timing belt/water pump, no codes?

 

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Well, bad luck there! Hope eveyone is OK.

A classic approach, if you have the space to store the damaged vehicle and are mechically inclined, is to find a good body with clear title (the cheaper, the better) and to transfer your parts over to it.

Insurance companies often will sell you the totalled vehicle for about 10% (it's negotible). But look into your accrued towing and storage fees first -- they may be outragious if you didn't have it towed to your own property directly from the accident.
^^ Great points LugNut.

My twin brother (from Ontario) imported a pristine southern 2000 Jeep TJ Wrangler.
- within a few months, it was totalled by a dump truck, failing to yield right of way

Brother & I, looked at his unavoidable collision, as a new opportunity ($$ gain):
a) he took a $11,000 cash settlement from Insurance company
- value upped, after heated negotiations & much documentation & used vehicle pricing research
b) found a quality body man locally, that does auto body side jobs in his garage, behind house
c) also used a 26 year experienced frame guy, to work his magic / finished with perfect door gaps
- and frame alignment, came back perfect
d) insisted accident kept off car fax / due to no change in ownership
e) paid 1 week storage fee, at reduced rate / cash under the table
WHY - its best to instruct tow truck operator, to drop off vehicle, at your home / far cheaper
f) bought Jeep off Insurance Company, for like $1200 + paid garage a cheaper storage fee
g) fixed Jeep up (as good as new, laser straight), with new & used parts, my brother and I sourced
h) brother ended up putting $5,000 cash, in his pocket & still driving his mint reconditioned TJ
i) if one intends to buy their accident vehicle back cheap, get it towed home...now
- avoid over-priced storage fees, continuing to add up
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi, thank you all for your thoughts. I really appreciate it!

Are storage fees charged only in the case that you want your vehicle back? ICBC (insurance) hasn't said anything about this, and the tow should be included. After all, I was able to drive it to work and then home (even with the wonky alignment) and they didn't do any towing until they took it from my home to the estimator. Also, what's this about buying it back as salvage?

I'm not particularly mechanically inclined, alas. Not sure I'd have the time or patience (or space - I live in an apartment) to personally look up parts much less swap anything myself - I'd leave repairs to the experts at a body shop.

I had, however kept all maintenance up to date from a local Toyota service centre right up until the accident. It had about 300,000km's on it over the past 19 years of driving it but everything was in good condition.

They've offered to cut me a cheque for $3500 as long as I agree to allow them to sell it for salvage, but I haven't yet given them that ok. If I can possibly get it fixed for under $10,000 I could stow it in my underground parking spot (and park my new car in the visitor parking of my complex) until I save enough to get the fix - if I know it can be fixed for a reasonable amount. ICBC said in their opinion it couldn't be fixed for a reasonable price but anything was possible with enough money.

They really do not care about anything beyond it being 19 years old, sadly; they absolutely refused to help get it fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Cousinabe: the video you posted shows a case where the hinges are damaged but what if the frame itself is subtley compressed? I could tell the glove box itself wasn't closing properly so this is likely, that the frame is compressed and pinching the plastic of the glove compartment. How hard/expensive is it for a body shop to fix this?
 

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There is even a chance, that most damage could be pulled out & covered with body side molding.
- here in ON, standard storage fee is typically $85 + HST, get the RAV4 now & drive it home
- puts you in a better negotiating position
- research Kijiji old RAV4 values, in BC / $3,500 looks low
- never sign ownership over & take cash settlement & keep 1998 vehicle, with limited damage
Hard to replace, that quality of SUV, with $3,500 - so have it fixed, with the money you accept.
- there is no unibody/aka frame damage there, if vehicle was years newer, low book value would not write it off

 

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There is even a chance, that most damage could be pulled out & covered with body side molding.
- here in ON, standard storage fee is typically $85 + HST, get the RAV4 now & drive it home
- puts you in a better negotiating position
- research Kijiji old RAV4 values, in BC / $3,500 looks low
- never sign ownership over & take cash settlement & keep 1998 vehicle, with limited damage
Hard to replace, that quality of SUV, with $3,500 - so have it fixed, with the money you accept.
- there is no unibody/aka frame damage there, if vehicle was years newer, low book value would not write it off
Last month I had the exact same dilemma. I struggled with the decision because I didn't want to let my RAV go. It was totaled. I could take a settlement and give them the title, or I could take a slightly less settlement and keep it and put that towards repairs. I was just ready to move on with my life so I went with my gut, ended up taking the loss and the cash. I ended up with a RAV that's a year newer and 20,000 fewer miles. (see my garage). I know how lucky I got. I don't think my nephew will ever understand what a good thing he did when he took it upon himself to find a suitable replacement. :smile
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Feedback appreciated

Thank you all for your stories, advice, and sympathies. It has been a rough couple of weeks. I've managed to secure a permanent replacement vehicle (a much newer model suv), as I need a car to use and even if fixed, it's unlikely I would have anything to drive for a while if I just waited. I still haven't given them an answer about the old vehicle yet :(

I don't believe ICBC here is willing to negotiate on anything - it sounds like from the discussion that they're barely even willing to entertain the option of me taking it home; and if I did, that would be the end of discussion, no negotiating.

I've done some research and $3500 actually seems pretty standard for that age of Rav4 locally. Mine is the base model too without aluminum rims, the fancy stuff, or power anything. I've been getting feedback from a number of people that even if fixed, it might never be perfect again with cumulative wear and tear problems popping up in a few more years, and as a post-accident vehicle, I might never be able to sell it for that price.

All of this back and forth pondering has been wearing me pretty thin. I'm glad at least I have something to drive now.
 
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