Driving car after accident because cant afford new one

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So  I have been driving my car for about 4 months now after rear end accident  I don't have enough money to buy a new car with what the insurance gave me which is $8000, which I did not cash. The insurance company wants me to Salvage my car.  I called DMV  and found out my car has not been listed as  Salvage and can I renew my registration in about a month. What kind of car can I get with $8000 down payment? I am hesitant to call the insurance company thinking they will tell DMV my car is totaled and I can't drive it anymore. When I got a estimate the repair is $11,000 for repair with insurance and  $7500 without insurance.

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dfres said:   So  I have been driving my car for about 4 months now after rear end accident  I don't have enough money to buy a new car with what the insurance gave me which is $8000, which I did not cash. The insurance company wants me to Salvage my car.  I called DMV  and found out my car has not been listed as  Salvage and can I renew my registration in about a month. What kind of car can I get with $8000 down payment? I am hesitant to call the insurance company thinking they will tell DMV my car is totaled and I can't drive it anymore. When I got a estimate the repair is $11,000 for repair with insurance and  $7500 without insurance.
 

  Is 8k the salvage value? Can you get a comparable vehicle for 8k? If not, insurance is not making you whole.
There are lot of (used) cars that you can buy out right for 8k. With 8k downpayment, you can buy most cars other than super luxury ones (say > 50k total price). Not that you should buy such a vehicle.
ETA: "salvage value" is not the right term. What I meant was, is insurance going to total the vehicle and are they you offering 8k. Or are they not totaling the vehicle and offering 8k towards repairing it. In either case, looks like you are not made whole.
ETA: What do you mean by " repair is $11,000 for repair with insurance and  $7500 without insurance"? What exactly is the difference between the two estimates (for the large variation in dollar amounts)?

dfres said:   So  I have been driving my car for about 4 months now after rear end accident  I don't have enough money to buy a new car with what the insurance gave me which is $8000, which I did not cash. The insurance company wants me to Salvage my car.  I called DMV  and found out my car has not been listed as  Salvage and can I renew my registration in about a month. What kind of car can I get with $8000 down payment? I am hesitant to call the insurance company thinking they will tell DMV my car is totaled and I can't drive it anymore. When I got a estimate the repair is $11,000 for repair with insurance and  $7500 without insurance.
  This doesn't make sense at all. Did the insurance give you $8,000 to fix the car? Then it wouldn't be totalled. Did they total it and let you keep the car plus gave you $8,000? If so, they might want you to salvage it for liability reasons. Once it's rebuilt and inspected, it can be driven again. And why after 4 months don't you cash the check? Wait any longer and you won't be able to. And it was a used car. Why do you think you have to buy a new car?

Buy a 3k car and bank the extra.

You can get a 3 year old compact car like a nissan sentra, toyota yaris, ford focus, mazda3 for about $8k. If your car needs $8k in repairs I would not drive it for safety reasons

You can get the following cars brand new for under $12,000 + tax fees etc.

Mitsubishi Mirage
Nissan Versa
Fiat 500
VW Jetta
Ford Focus
Hyundai Accent
Chevy Spark
Kia Rio
Ford Fiesta
Kia Forte
Jeep Patriot
Hyundai Elantra

dfres said:   So  I have been driving my car for about 4 months now after rear end accident  I don't have enough money to buy a new car with what the insurance gave me which is $8000, which I did not cash. The insurance company wants me to Salvage my car.  I called DMV  and found out my car has not been listed as  Salvage and can I renew my registration in about a month. What kind of car can I get with $8000 down payment? I am hesitant to call the insurance company thinking they will tell DMV my car is totaled and I can't drive it anymore. When I got a estimate the repair is $11,000 for repair with insurance and  $7500 without insurance.
  
You need to clarify this, a lot.  Do you still owe on the car you have? Me guesses that's the case and the $8k isn't enough to cover the difference and I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume you don't have gap insurance.

For some perspective, I had a 2000 Audi A4 a few years back that was vandalized (kids at a park scratched paint on all sides). Insurance gave me two options:

1. Sign the title over to them for salvage. They would pick the car up. This would net me $3.8k.

2. Keep the car and they would "total" it but hold back the income salvage would have produced ($380). This gave me ~$3.4k and let me keep the car. The title was not salvaged and I registered the car as usual drove the car for another 3 years.

Being that I only paid $2.8k for the car, I opted to keep the money and not repair the paint damage. I'm assuming they have "totaled" the car in their books and gave you their claim adjusters value for it.

gade2003 said:   For some perspective, I had a 2000 Audi A4 a few years back that was vandalized (kids at a park scratched paint on all sides). Insurance gave me two options:

1. Sign the title over to them for salvage. They would pick the car up. This would net me $3.8k.

2. Keep the car and they would "total" it but hold back the income salvage would have produced ($380). This gave me ~$3.4k and let me keep the car. The title was not salvaged and I registered the car as usual drove the car for another 3 years.

Being that I only paid $2.8k for the car, I opted to keep the money and not repair the paint damage. I'm assuming they have "totaled" the car in their books and gave you their claim adjusters value for it.

  This doesn't make much sense. Were you able to get another insurance policy on the car again? What happens if it's vandalized or crashed again in the future, you get another payout?

Other than dents and paint scratches, it the car safe to drive including all lights properly aimed, turn signals, airbags, car doors open, seat belts, other safe driving needs?

sailinlight said:   
gade2003 said:   For some perspective, I had a 2000 Audi A4 a few years back that was vandalized (kids at a park scratched paint on all sides). Insurance gave me two options:

1. Sign the title over to them for salvage. They would pick the car up. This would net me $3.8k.

2. Keep the car and they would "total" it but hold back the income salvage would have produced ($380). This gave me ~$3.4k and let me keep the car. The title was not salvaged and I registered the car as usual drove the car for another 3 years.

Being that I only paid $2.8k for the car, I opted to keep the money and not repair the paint damage. I'm assuming they have "totaled" the car in their books and gave you their claim adjusters value for it.

  This doesn't make much sense. Were you able to get another insurance policy on the car again? What happens if it's vandalized or crashed again in the future, you get another payout?

  Liability should be no problem, it's comp and collision that may be hard to get, but on a cheap car most people skip it anyway. If it's wrecked or totalled again and it's another driver's fault, their insurance still has to pay. 

There is a lot of different experiences here.A tree during heavy winds crushed my car & years ago another was consumed by an electrical fire. In both cases insurance would only pay off if I released possession of vehicle. No check in hand without turning over the car. So I don't understand the OPs situation.

taylor0987 said:   You can get the following cars brand new for under $12,000 + tax fees etc.

Mitsubishi Mirage
Nissan Versa
Fiat 500
VW Jetta
Ford Focus
Hyundai Accent
Chevy Spark
Kia Rio
Ford Fiesta
Kia Forte
Jeep Patriot
Hyundai Elantra

  Where are you getting a new Elantra for under 12k? Link please.

From 2010 maybe?

If I cash $8000 check they will report the car to dmv as salvaged. That was what I was told. So I did not cash check.

How is this an either or or? Insurance totals out car pays OP 8k & takes car & auctions as salvage. Hows does OP get to keep the car & 8k?

dfres said:   If I cash $8000 check they will report the car to dmv as salvaged. That was what I was told. So I did not cash check.
Ok, so what is next?  

You can keep driving the car with rear end damage and never cash the check?  

Just cash the check and pay the $7500 repair.
 



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