I have a '03 Focus LX 4DR Sedan automatic, A/C and 1,000 miles. No other
fancy features (no cruise, etc...) It has AM/FM/TAPE (no CD). I
purchased it new on 6/14 and unfortunately it was in an accident on 6/23.
The car is currently in the shop and it is estimated that it will take 20
days to fix :(.
A few questions:
I am planning on taking the car back to the dealer (after it is repaired
of course) and see if I can trade it in (considering that it was only a
week old at the time of the accident). I am also going to file a
Diminished Value claim against the other party's insurance. The insurance
company says that the car is worth $12,xxx.
What do you think I could for it from the dealer?
What would this car be worth on a trade if it wasn't in an accident, but
was in excellent, showroom, ready for resale, the dealer doesn't have to
do any prep, etc, condition?
I am financing this car through Ford Credit. Would I be able to pay off
the car with the trade and then finance another car?
I know that dealers still have '03's on the lot and probably want to get
rid of them. Any idea on what kind of price I can get on another '03
Focus (maybe a SE or SE Comfort), I want cruise control and ABS would be
nice, the other features (P/W, P/L, etc...) are not important, but if I
can get a good deal, I'll take it!
Comments/Opinions please. Thank you in advance :)
BTW, I am in the US.
Yeah, but I can't find one that works with Diminished Value. My dad has a
lawyer friend and all he said was that the insurance company is obligated
to restore the car to pre-accident condition. Which I guess is more of an
oxymoron anyway, because pre-accident condition would mean that it wasn't
in an accident.
Jeff Utz wrote in alt.autos.ford.focus:
You have my sympathy. I had the same thing happen to me with my first
(and so far, only) new car. The first time I took it out for a drive
after bringing it home, it was hit by a drunk uninsured driver. Less
than 100 miles on the car and it was totaled. The insurance company
exercised the policy's option to rebuild rather than replace the car,
even though the damage exceeded 80% of the car's value.
Why don't you take yourself to several new/used car dealers in your area
(preferably during a slow sales time of day/week) and talk to some of
their salespeople. Tell them your story and ask for their opinion as to
the value of the car after it is repaired. If possible, get their
estimates in writing. Visit several different dealers and you'll get a
ballpark value. After learning my lesson with my accident, I did this
for my mom when her new car was totaled, and the car salespeople I
talked with were very helpful indeed. This helped us *a lot* when it
came to negotiating the payoff from her insurance company. We had an
idea up front what a fair value would be, so were in a better position
to evaluate the insurance company's payoff offer.
You can ask the salespeople that same question to help you arrive at
your Diminished Value figure.
Doubtful, unless you paid such a low price for the car that even its
diminished value (damage plus standard depreciation) is higher than what
you'd paid for it. Otherwise you're gonna have to roll the balance due
into a new car loan. Do you really wanna do that, or could you live with
the rebuilt car? I didn't think I could at first, but looking at the
loss I'd take on a trade told me I had no choice. Now I'm glad I kept it
- it's 14 years old and has been very reliable. Guess I lucked out even
after such a massive hit when it was brand-new.
I test drove an '03 Focus this past February. They brought the
dealership manager out to meet me - I figured it'd be the routine
glad-handing pressure crap. It was worse than I'd expected: she BEGGED
me to buy a new car from them - and this is one of the largest Ford
dealerships in the state. I parried with an excuse that we're facing
layoffs where I work (true) and I daren't sign a loan until I know I'm
not getting laid off. She offered a re-purchase agreement where they'd
buy it back from me at what I paid for it if I was laid off within a
certain time frame after purchase. Now that's desperation! It has me
wondering just how hard customers might be able to push down the price
of an '03 this summer/autumn after the '04's arrive.
Anyhow, what I learned from my accident (and my mom's):
1. New cars can and do get totalled.
2. Read your auto policy to see what the company is obligated to do for
you. For instance, many policies include clauses regarding total losses
that allow the insuror **at their option** to rebuild or replace your
3. Buy gap insurance to cover the loan in case your new car does get
4. Do your homework. Anything you think may end up in dispute requires
you to dig up data to support your claim. Read your policy, talk to
folks in the auto body biz, the car sales biz, get a lawyer's opinion.
Many if not most lawyers offer free initial consultations.
4. You have the right to hire an independent claim adjuster. He'll be
working for you, not the insurance company. At the very least he may
have advice on how to negotiate your claim. If your adjuster's damage
estimate is more in your favor than the shop's estimate or that of the
insurance company's adjuster, push hard.
5. Make friend with people in the insurance business. If they work for
the auto insuror you've got a claim against, they may have enough pull
in the company to help your case. At the very least they can be a source
of advice and strategies for how to pursue your claim, or what
additional options you may have.
Sorry again this happened to you, I know how stressful it is -
especially when you're supposed to be enjoying your new car 'honeymoon'!
Thank you for the comments. Yeah, some "honeymoon"! I see Foci all over the
place and I want mine back! My rental is a Corolla. I tried to get the
rental agency to give me a Focus, but they said it was already rented out.
I got some quotes from a few dealers. Plus there's always those "end of
year sales". There's a dealer around here that says that they will beat any
other Ford dealer's price. Maybe I can get the dealers fighting with each
I've been looking online and '03 LX's are selling for around $10,xxx -
$12,xxx (used) so I'm sure I can get a decent price.
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