I wrote about the first part of the hail-damage adventure, and our options in Adventures in Car Ownership, part one. Here's the conclusion of the matter:
Wednesday was a whirlwind day. We got the check, then talked about our options. We were really hesitant to fix the damage for a car we're not in love with, especially considering the cost of fixing it is such a high percentage of the value of the car. Driving the damaged car and saving the money would make sense for a time, but selling/trading in a hail-damaged car would be bad enough- it would decline even further in value as those dent spots started to rust.
We decided to see what dealers would offer us for trade-in for the damaged car, to see what range we would be considering when buying a car. Our first stop was CarMax, who will buy your car even if you don't buy a car from them. This would give us a reference number for the other dealers, and a back-up if the other dealers' offers were lower. Next we went in search of a new-to-us car with similar miles to our current one, with a price in the ballpark of the insurance check + our deductible (which we're going to have to spend anyway) + the hail-damaged Civic's trade-in value.
We've had our eye on a station-wagon-like vehicle for a long while. I like the more car-like aspects to it, and the fact it's not an SUV. I like to be SOMEWHAT environmentally conscious. It will be a long time, if ever, that my husband is caught in a minivan, and he wants a 4-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicle for winter driving. These requirements left us with a short list of possibilities: a Subaru Forester or Outback, a Volvo station wagon, or further down on the list, a small SUV with AWD. My husband's a car guy, so he had thought about this and researched it for a long time.
We went to a couple dealers, saw a few small SUVs but no Subarus or Volvos, until we finally found a car my husband saw online. The Volvo wagon had comparable miles to our Civic was priced right, and the dealer offered $1000 more than CarMax did for our trade-in. We bought it.
All in all, we didn't take into account sales tax when figuring out what would make us "break even" in the price formula, but didn't end up spending too much. We're happy with the deal we got, and this car should serve our family for years to come. I was taken aback with the speed at which everything happened- I'm not one for "spontaneous" anything- but, even if we had waited, the end result would have been the same. It's a good car. I like it. A lot.
By JB at 10:08 AM