My 1998 Dodge RAM 2500 was in a collision last month in which I was
t-boned by a car that ran a red light. There's extensive damage, and
the frame is bent.
The insurance company first said that the truck was repairable, but the
2nd inspector said they were going to total it. I assumed they were
going to give me the blue book value of around $8000, so I asked them
to please repair it instead. They agreed, but mentioned that they had
valued the vehicle at just over $13k.
The repair estimate is $9055, and that doesn't include possibly
replacing the dash (until they pull the frame they won't know if the
dash will pop back). Should I have it repaired, or take the total
Truck is a 1998 V10 quad cab with only 69k miles. I've also added a bed
liner, trailer brake controller and a removable gooseneck hitch.
I'm concerned about pulling my horses with this truck. Also, I could
get a newer truck with similar features for around $15k. Does totalling
a car affect my insurance rates any more than repairing it? Will
repairing it affect the long-term value or reliability?
I doubt you will have a choice to repair or total, the insurance company
will make that decision! no if you are going to let the insurance company
total it and then buy it back to repair I still would take the money.
I bought a totaled Ford pickup years ago. I did all the repair work myself
so I ended up with a pretty nice truck for about 1/2 the value. I drove it
for ten years and never did get all the bugs out of it! The frame was
supposed to be straight, and I even had it checked, but it never "drove"
If they will give you anything over $10,000, (two wheel drive?), for it I
would take the money and run! The insurance company will more than likely
let you remove the hitch, box liner, and brake controller.
I would take the money and run to another truck. My 2000 Sierra took the
front off a 95 Z28, and then totalled a 99 Cavalier, and launched it
over 100' into a ditch. They had to cut the Cavalier open it was tweaked
so bad. Nobody but me was hurt.
My truck looked remarkably good, like all it needed was a wheel and
tire. Looks can be deceiving. Two months, and about a dozen return trips
back to the dealer got it to where it didn't shake, whistle, moan, and
had normal brakes, but it had bizarre electrical problems, and just
didn't feel "right". After another three trips back to the bodyshop to
try to fix the electrical issues, the thing that finally made me decide
to dump is ASAP was when I was driving down the freeway at 70, and the
dome light comes on and then turns off, then the 4 ways come on all by
them selves, the headlight on dinger starts up and then the dome light
comes on again. I couldn't turn the 4 ways off, and then suddenly they
went off again.
I went to the dealer one more time, was ready to buy a nearly identical
2003 Sierra, and the salesman left me out in the back lot and didn't
come back in time for me to catch the shuttle home. I sat and fumed for
two hours and swore I was done with them.
I went to the Dodge dealer that night, so far, my Ram has been great,
the only major problem has been my rear end ate itself, and most of the
innards had to be replaced at 17K. Under warranty, of course. I'm going
to have it looked at just before the 36K is up to make sure it's not
I've never seen a vehicle with more than minor damage that was ever
exactly right again after a wreck.
I'd take the dough and get a newer Dodge truck -- preferably one with a
Cummins Turbo Diesel (that's good for 400K miles or so before overhaul)!
Even if you have to float a few thousand of your own for the newer CTD
truck. You'll save lots of money on gas. Plus, that reassuring Diesel
sound and all that torque is great. Nothing like a diesel for pulling
heavy loads. According to KBB, a 2000 Dodge 2500 Pickup Quad Cab Long Bed
with a Cummins and 50K miles retails at a dealer for $17K -- only 4K more
than what the insurance co. says your old truck is worth and hopefully what
they'll pay you. Plus the gas mileage and greater longevity of the CTD
will pay for that $4,000 fast. If you buy from a private party, you can
get the newer truck even cheaper.
A bunged-up bumper or fender is one thing, but once a vehicle has
sustained major damage, as yours clearly has, it will *never* be the same
no matter who does the repair.
The damage will **always** be detectable by a trained expert (a used
vehicle appraiser) and you will therefore never be able to get top dollar
for it in trade.
Before ever agreeing to repair, consider the DIMINISHED VALUE that the
repaired vehicle will hearafter always have in the eyes of a professional
In general the total amount of repair has no impact on your insurance,
only the fact that you've had a chargeable claim will affect what you pay.
If the insurance company is hedging about totalling it, mention the two
words "Diminished Value" and tell them that if they elect to repair it
that you will ask for an additional settlement payment for 15% of the
current market value as compensation for diminished value. If they balk,
it's time to stop talking to them and to contact your attorney.
Also, for your stated use, I would definitely get the diesel.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.