Can't afford new car - please advise!

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Post  Wed, Mar 06 2019, 4:48 am
I am not in a good place financially at all unfortunately. I got into a very bad car accident and the insurance company is saying my car is a total loss. My car is about 10 years old but could have lasted another 10 years as it is maintained well and doesn't have a lot of miles.

The problem is that the insurance only gives a few thousand dollars for the value of the car. You can't buy a new car for less than $10-$15k. So that extra $5-$10k I don't have. I can't make car payments every month, I do not have money for even more basic things.

My car could have lasted and most of the damage is external. But a salvaged title on a car comes with its own issues (car insurance may cost more or may only want to cover it for liability, car can never be sold, etc). I don't want to put the money into fixing my car, but it really could last a lot longer.

I don't know what to do. Can anyone give me advice? Did you save a car that was a total loss and just keep it even though salvaged? Did you buy a new one?

The risk for me is that if I buy a used car for $10-$15k and someone crashed into me tomorrow, the value of the car that the insurance gives is always less and I could literally have this same problem again. This isn't the first time I have had a total loss on a car. It seems so risky to me to put money into buying a car, especially since I didn't need one. Sad
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Post  Wed, Mar 06 2019, 5:23 am
Hugs! Bumping for you.
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Post  Wed, Mar 06 2019, 6:28 am
Don’t buy a used car for $10-$15K; that sort of defeats the purpose of buying a used car.
Look for something for less than $5K on Craigslist and take it to a mechanic before you buy. (I did this and found a great deal on a used Altima for $2K.)
It’s important to look at the make and model of the car, the mileage, and repair history. PM me any questions you have about the process and I’ll ask my husband, who’s very knowledgeable about cars and guided my ignorant self through the process.
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Post  Wed, Mar 06 2019, 7:21 am
How much would the insurance company sell you back the car for and how much would you have to put into it to fix it?

When I was in a similar situation, they declared my car (minivan) a total loss and gave me about $6k for it. They then allowed me to buy back the salvaged car for around $2k and I put around $1k into it so that it was drivable. I don’t care that it has a salvage title because I don’t plan on selling it (a salvage title would make it worth very little but as long as it’s in good working condition for me to use, I’m happy). I plan on driving it until it dies (it’s a few years later, it now has close to 160k miles on it, it would be a few years away from its natural death regardless of its salvage title).

I put aside the extra $3k I made from this transaction for when I have to buy a new one (which I realize will likely be within the next 3-5 years) and will iyH add money to it to buy another car when I absolutely have to.

So far I’m very happy I went this route.
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Post  Wed, Mar 06 2019, 7:50 am
I don't know why you think you can't buy for less than 10k. We're currently selling a used mini van for 3k. It's obviously old but it's in driveable condition with no immediate repairs needed. I'm sure there are similar options where you live.
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Post  Wed, Mar 06 2019, 7:59 am
We always buy used cars (Toyota only) for under $15k and put many miles on them. (DH paid 12k and put 175,000 miles on his last one). And we don’t spend a lot on repairs.
Buy from someone reputable and get a good inspection and it can last for years.
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Post  Wed, Mar 06 2019, 8:41 am
Also if you're looking to buy in a busy city, one suggestion is to consider looking places that might be a couple hours drive away where used cars might go for cheaper. The inconvenience might not be worth it for you, but it's a suggestion if you're able to dedicate a day to traveling out and bringing the car back.
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