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  • 06-28-2010, 02:35 PM

    Re: Crash!

    You're lucky it was the passenger side. Any crash you can walk away from...
  • 06-24-2010, 03:40 PM
    Robert Platt Bell

    Much more than that, actually

    They paid the $22,000+ repair bill, $3000 in depreciated value, $1000 in "soft tissue damage" (I was sore for a week), replaced my digital camera, paid for a rental car, and airfare for a flight up to pick it up.

    But even then, you don't come out "ahead". You never do. You don't even really get "made whole". But that's life.

    If they were smart, they should have cut me a check for $16,300 the first day, wholesaled the car for 3 grand and called it a day. It would have cost them 13 grand and be done with it.

    (And the longer they drag these things out, the more time the victim has to think about calling a P.I. Attorney. Pay them off and get them to sign off, that's the smart move!)

    If I didn't agree to take back the car once the work was done, they'd be looking at close to $30 grand ($22 grand in repairs, $16 grand for totalling, minus whatever they could wholesale the car for), so I save them some dough at the end there.

    The point is, take the car to a good body shop, not those fix-em-up places the insurance company will try to steer you to.

    I took my Camry to a place State Farm recommended. They did an OK job, but with aftermarket parts and the car was not really the same after that. But it was my own insurance company paying the bill, so I didn't bark too much.

    Another time, I had a fender bender and went to the State Farm claims center and they cut me a check on the spot. That's OK, too, as I fixed some parts myself, but the headlight turned out being more than they estimated (SHO headlights are not the same as stock Taurus).

    When it's your fault, no sense soaking your own insurance company. When its the other guy's fault, get it fixed at the best place possible.

    Ask around in your area which is the best body shop and take it there - at least for an estimate.

    Some folks do play a game where they get a cash payout from the insurance company based on a high estimate and then have the work done someplace cheaper - and pocket the difference. Not illegal AFAIK.

    A friend of mine had a hoary old Subaru that was in a minor collision. They paid her off for the book value of the car and then sold her the car back (salvage title) for $1. She threw a new radiator in it and is still driving it, with no front grill (and 300,000 miles on the clock). Nothing illegal about that, either. Happens a lot.

    You never get made whole, though, much less "make out" on any of these deals, particularly when you count your time involved.

    And injuries....I have a compressed disc in my neck, which really acted up after that. Did the accident cause it, make it worse, or what? I don't know. Some lawyer would no doubt have made a big deal about that, for sure.

    I didn't.

  • 06-24-2010, 02:16 PM

    Re: BMW Dealer

    so.... If I follow you right....

    $8K (what thy "could" fix it for) plus $3K for depreciated value = $11K?

    or did they pay the whole repair bill plus $3K?
  • 06-24-2010, 10:57 AM
    Robert Platt Bell

    BMW Dealer

    Sorry I wasn't clear. The other fellow's insurance company said "take it to the tow truck company, they'll fix it!"

    And I said, "I don't think so!"

    There were two local BMW dealers at the scene of the accident (this was out of town). One had a body shop, the other didn't. I took it to World of Cars (near Tarrytown, NY) and they did a nice job.

    See the link I had to the pictures, which tells all.

    I would go to a "high end" shop, like a BMW Dealer or Wagonwerks (Alexandria, VA) that will use all OEM parts and make it look like it never happened (as much as possible).

    If the other fellow is at fault, there is no reason they shouldn't pay to have it done right.

    On the other hand, when it is your own insurance company, I am not sure it is worthwhile to do so - the costs of repair will no doubt be reflected in increased premiums down the road (I don't have collision on my cars anymore anyway, so the point is moot for me).

    The game the insurance company was trying to play with me, was to do it on the cheap and save money. The car should have been totalled, really.

    In NY, if the repair cost exceeds 3/4 of the book value, the car is deemed totalled, and you can demand they send you a check for the book value and take the car.

    They chose a high book value (bad mistake) to try to argue the car was fixable at $8,000 and thus within the 3/4 limit.

    It could have been fixed for that price, but it would have been ugly!

    No matter how you slice it, you come out behind in these deals. The car now has an accident provenance, which will reduce its resale value somewhat.

    That's why they gave me $3000 (cash) in "depreciated value" in addition to fixing the car.

    Good luck, sorry to hear about it! But the average person gets in an accident every 11 years, so it is the cost of doing business in our car-based economy...

  • 06-24-2010, 09:09 AM


    I'm sorry but I had trouble following your story. Did you get the car repaired at World of Cars (Are they the guys in Rocky Point?) and the insurance company paid for it? You lost me (not hard to do).Read "Through The Esses" on

  • 06-23-2010, 06:30 PM
    Robert Platt Bell

    It's not like in the movies...

    A while back they had an ad on the TeeVee from an insurance company that showed this lady wrecking her SUV. They showed the airbag inflating like a comfy pillow and when her face came out of it, she sighed like she was just getting up from a good night's sleep.

    Nice fantasy!

    The reality is, airbags are explosive devices that detonate almost instantaneously. Most people don't realize they have gone off until they notice the deflated bag (sometimes obscured by the steering wheel cover) or slight burns on their body.

    It's like BANG! and then they deflate just as fast. Faster than you can see, frankly. You'd need a high speed camera to capture the deployment of an airbag.

    So his experience was typical, really.

    Someone once compared an airbag to having a shotgun mounted on the steering wheel, aimed at your chest. The analogy is probably apt, if the shotgun was shooting blanks. And of course, they don't use gunpowder, but it an explosive chemical that detonates the airbag.

    I wonder how well they work in 20-30 year old cars?

  • 06-23-2010, 06:03 PM
    Robert Platt Bell

    Take it to a dealer or excellent body shop

    I went through this with Bostongruen. It was the other fellow's fault, and his insurance company said the book on the car was $16,300 and they could fix it for $8,000.

    I said "I don't think so" but was happy they valued the car at $200 less than I paid for it three years prior.

    They wanted to have the TOW TRUCK DRIVER fix the car!

    I took it to World of Cars (BMW dealer) in New York.

    $22,000 later, a like-new car.

    At that point, I could have said, "No thanks, send me a check instead" and they would have been stuck with a $22,000 repair bill, sending me a check for $16,300 (their valuation, not mine) and have only the repaired car to auction off.

    They offered me $3000 in "Depreciated vehicle value" and I agreed to take the car. They also paid for transportation, rental car, some items damaged in the accident, and "soft tissue damage".

    A good deal? Not really. The car is a good driver, but is depreciated due to the accident. It will never be collectible, that's for sure! And I found hidden damage later on, in the form of a broken CV joint (The aforesaid tow truck driver and his dreaded J-hooks).

    But I am glad I didn't go along with their $8,000 repair suggestion. At least it has a nice paint job now...

    Go to a high-end body shop. Get it done right. I went to the local dealer at the scene as they had a body shop (the other neighboring dealer "farmed out" their body work).

    Regardless, you never come out ahead in these can only hope to almost be made whole...

    Good Luck!
  • 06-23-2010, 06:02 PM

    All while involved in an unsolicited 180 degree


    I'll bet there was a lot going on. Easy to miss something that happens that quickly. Glad you're ok.
  • 06-23-2010, 05:25 PM

    Re: Glad you're Ok, but I'm a little confused how the

    I'm sure I would have noticed if the front-impact airbag had blown up in my face, but this was the side-impact bag at arm level. It opened, my arm bounced off it and it deflated, I guess, all without me really noticing.Lobo
  • 06-22-2010, 04:50 PM

    Glad you're Ok, but I'm a little confused how the

    airbags (or even just one) could have deployed and you not have noticed.

    I mean, I've been there when an airbag went off, and short of being dead already I'm not sure how anyone could miss something like that. lol

  • 06-22-2010, 01:56 PM

    Re: Glad you're okay...and the bass clarinet, too!

    Yeah, the bass clarinet was fine, fortunately. I might have freaked if it and my car had gotten damaged at the same time. I noticed that one of the keys was binding the next day, but it may have been because the instrument got sprinkled on during a rained-out concert on Sunday evening. Key oil seems to have cured the binding.

    Now that I think about it, I may have been lucky that I wasn't carrying the contra too, as it rides shotgun, not fitting in the trunk. I might have been hit by instrument case.Lobo
  • 06-22-2010, 01:51 PM

    Re: Crash!

    I thought about pics, and if I had been thinking, could have got some when I visited her at the tow yard. I guess I could call the repair shop and see if they'd allow me to come take pics before they take her apart.Lobo
  • 06-21-2010, 05:55 PM

    Glad you're okay...and the bass clarinet, too!

    97 2.8 Arctic Silver - Tanin Red interior with wood console - black top

    Whalen Shift Machine, polished - Type II windscreen (non roll-hoops) - Bilstein HD shocks/struts
    Axxis Metal Master pads - Brembo rotors - Doug Whalen seat bushings
    Passenger Eject (unfortunately non-functional) - OEM Passenger Airbag Disable switch
    Polk Audio all around - Blaupunkt PA amps - LeatherZ Mark II armrest - Strong Strut Trio
  • 06-21-2010, 04:53 PM

    Re: Crash!

    Welcome to the crowd. Never owned a car that was hit so many times.

    (4) minor rear ends (bumper cover repainted)
    (1) major rear end (trunk replaced)

    No frame or alignment damage luckily.

    Good luck on the repairs.
  • 06-21-2010, 02:32 PM

    Re: Crash!

    Wow... Glad you're OK!! Good to hear the car is repairable, and I'm sure you'll make sure that is brought back to as good as new! Keep on top of those insurance guys and the shop...


    '00 2.3 Oxford Green/Tan/Tan
    And yes, I drive my car in the snowy winter!
  • 06-21-2010, 02:18 PM


    A week ago, my car was hit on the driver's side, denting the door and rear quarter panel, as well as bending the left-rear wheel. I was going through a very green light when a pickup ran the red light and broadsided me. After spinning around nearly 180 degrees, I jumped out of the car and pointed at the truck as it sped off.

    At least one witness went searching for the hit-and-run driver.

    As I was standing around visiting with witnesses while waiting for the police to arrive, I got curious as to whether any of the airbags went off. I walked back to check and found that the one in the driver's side door had gone off. I just didn't notice it at the time it happened. The car had saved me from any injury from he Dodge Ram that had hit me.

    After a bit, the officer arrived, took information from witnesses and from me. I retrieved my musical instrument from the trunk and climbed into the police car, as it was starting to rain.

    After all this had happened, the other driver returned, apologized to me and admitted to hitting me. He used a stuck accelerator as his excuse for not stopping. He finally got it stopped at his apartment, where, I'm sure, his wife told him he better get his butt back to the scene if he didn't want to be sent to jail.

    Well, the adjustor finally looked at my car today and told me it's repairable, which is good news. I really didn't want it to be totaled. I've planned on keeping my Z3 as long as possible, if not forever.Lobo

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