Two weeks ago this past Saturday evening I was in my car, heading into Seattle for Theatresports. I pulled out of my condo’s parking lot and behind an SUV at the traffic light, when I suddenly got rear-ended by a Volkswagen Jetta going about 30 MPH, sending my car hurtling forward into the back of the SUV.
Nobody was seriously injured, thankfully… I suffered some minor whiplash but that seemed to be about the extent of it. A cop happened to pull up within about a minute or so of the collision, so we didn’t even have to call 9-1-1. Driving the car behind me was a seventeen year old girl, who immediately confessed to not paying attention to the road (she was trying to adjust her floormat) and was tearfully apologetic. Her car needed to be towed away… mine was drivable back into my parking lot, but barely. (The SUV didn’t suffer any visibly significant damage.)
There was no question of who was at fault, and her insurance accepted responsibility without a fuss. Monday I took it to an auto body shop to have the damage estimated and was provided with a rental car by the insurance. There was a good question as to whether the insurance would pay for repairs or write it off as a total loss, but when the estimate came back at over $9,000 I thought they would do it, since my car’s blue-book value was at least a third higher than that. So I was extremely surprised when the insurance called and told me that they were writing it off, and offered to pay me the full amount it was worth… I suppose with the engine still working and most of the damage to the exterior enough of it was salvageable to make it more cost effective to junk it.
With that, I was forced to say goodbye to my dear Audrey Two, purchased when I first moved to Washington back in 2005 and faithful servant for the past five years.
It took until the middle of this past week to get to that stage, and I was suddenly put on the spot to purchase a new car before my rental expired on Saturday. My instinct was to just purchase another Corolla since I didn’t really have time to explore all of my options, but after talking with my parents I also test drove the Hyundai Elantra, which was actually quite a nice car and I might have even purchased one had things been slightly different.
I didn’t have much success negotiating with dealers in person, so I wound up discovering TrueCar.com, which was able to give me a good summary of the way prices range between dealer cost and sticker price in my area, and even quote me on a better-than-average price with a specific dealer. So I wound up purchasing a new Corolla LE, which I have named Audrey Junior:
It cost me about $5K more on top of the insurance settlement. I wish I could be happier about my purchase, but before long I discovered that a good number of features that were in the 2005 LE had been removed from the 2010 LE, including the variable adjuster for the intermittent wiper blades, and general quality of the driver’s compartment and console such as the wood-grain trim and several of the storage compartments. So while on the one hand I guess I can’t complain for upgrading to a brand-new car for only $5 thousand, I miss my old car quite a bit.