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After trying several cars over 2 years (2 BMWs, an NSX, a 911 turbo) I finally found the perfect car for me...a 2006 Black/tan C4S. Last week after owning the car for only 3 weeks and 1200 miles I was rear-ended by some idiot on a cell phone. He hit me hard enough to push me in to the car in front of me.

The good news is that only the front bumper cover and hood are damaged and the air bags didn't go off. The car drives and runs fine. The rear bulkhead stopped short of the main engine pulley by less than 1/8 of an inch. None of the exterior sheet metal was touched other than the front hood.

The bad news is that the exhaust is shot, the entire rear bumper, the rear bulkhead behind the bumper and both rails that mount the bumper and run all the way to the rear axle. The engine has to come out so all the supporting metal can be cut out and new parts be welded in - $15K so far and fully covered by insurance.

My concern is probably obvious...even once repaired I'm concerned about driving the car as I'm paying for a new, "virgin" 911. Here in GA I'll get paid something for diminished value and the shop is very high-end. They do the work for PCNA, BMW and the local Ferrari dealer and they gurantee that the car wil be perfect. I've never had a car repaired before and I'm wondering if I'm being too anal. Also, I'm looking for advice on how to best maneuver through this mess...any ideas?...Scott

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The real question: will you be happy with a damaged, repaired car. I know the feeling, it's happened to me. I received a quote of $22k for repairs. Here's what I did: I took the estimate for repairs along with an estimate from a salvage firm (buy cars, fix 'em and resell them), and it was less than I had paid four months earlier so I pushed hard for $4k is deminition of value and got it. I walked away from the car and bought another. Here are the elements: Residual value + deminition of value + salvage value = your cost, hopefully. Ask the body shop for three, THREE salvage bids. They know salvage guys, trust me on this one. Do your numbers. If it doesn't make cents, don't do it. It did for me, though. I am anal as hell and can't stand having paint and especially metal work done. Life's too short to settle if you don't have to. I'm not the first to tell you they can do incredible work on cars these days, but can you live with it????

Another thing, diminision of value is not absolute, but a negotiated number you can influence with support from your local dealer on how the value of the car would be affected if you traded it in after repairs--get this from them. They'll know the shop you're dealing with and the quality of their work. Push hard (a few calls or one good visit with your local porsche service rep and used car mgr). I'm bummed for you, but you'll be back in the driver's seat soon. Don't despair.

Edited by happy911

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happ911...thank you very much for the advice... Unfortunately, it sounds like you know exactly how I feel. I'm sick over the idea of settling for a repaired new car...especially one I really love and wanted to enjoy for a long time. I hadn't considered salvaging the car although I did tell the repair shop that I didn't want it back - they didn't offer to get salvage quotes. I will definitely do this.

I've already met with the service manager and pre-owned sales manager at my dealer and they are very supportive. They even gave me the name of an appraisal firm to help build a case for higher diminished value. I'm glad to hear that this was a good move.

It's really a shame because 99% of the car is still perfect as new and when repaired it will be be a sweat ride for someone. But as you say, I just don't want to settle - I bought a new car and want a new car.

BTW, how long did it take to work through the whole process for you?

Scott

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I tried to get 3 salvage quotes and I found that the repair shop would not offer any help in this area. They simply said that they didn't know anyone. They asked an independant appraiser for a guess at the diminished value of my car once repaired adn the number was $15-20K less value. This is about where I expected and the appraiser is the same guy my Porsche dealer told me to use to argue my case with the insurance company.

The damage on the rear end includes both rear frame rails (the part that holds the rear bumper mounts) and the rear bulkhead. The estimate is now growing closer to $20K since the engine has to come out. According to the repair shop, salvage value is probably in $50K - $60K range. The only salvage company that I called that would give me a quote said probably $35K sight unseen. Obviously, I'm in a pickle...

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You should also talk to your insurance agent, especally if you have a relationship with him/her about getting you the settlement you need. Don't try to go it alone. The insurance companies have to deal with potential "bad faith" issues if they do not represent you in strict accordance with your policy. Unfortunately, it probably reads "repair or replace" at their discretion.

However, in this case, its not their money, but the money of the other driver that is the issue. Strongly (but nicely, at least at first) insist that they go after a higher settlement from the other insureds company. Press the issue as necessary after.

Lastly, if you are in the financial position to do so, don't accept their settlement offer. Drive something else until you can get the settlement you want. Consider having a lawyer that is EXPERIENCED in INSURANCE CLAIMS ISSUES make a few calls, write a few letters, etc. You should NOT try to do this on your own. Someone (like your insurance company and the aforementioned lawyer) will know better how to get you closer to where you need to be.

Hope this helps. Keep us all posted if possible.

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I tried to get 3 salvage quotes and I found that the repair shop would not offer any help in this area. They simply said that they didn't know anyone. They asked an independant appraiser for a guess at the diminished value of my car once repaired adn the number was $15-20K less value. This is about where I expected and the appraiser is the same guy my Porsche dealer told me to use to argue my case with the insurance company.

The damage on the rear end includes both rear frame rails (the part that holds the rear bumper mounts) and the rear bulkhead. The estimate is now growing closer to $20K since the engine has to come out. According to the repair shop, salvage value is probably in $50K - $60K range. The only salvage company that I called that would give me a quote said probably $35K sight unseen. Obviously, I'm in a pickle...

Dont give up. Call Porsche and ask them for salvage dealers, call local Lexus, BMW and Mercedes PAINT SHOPS and ask them. They have this info. Don't trust some idiot giving you a quote over the phone. He's looking to steal your car. Don't even call him back. You want pros that deal in high end cars. Trust me, they are there. Get two, no less trade in values given the car's damage, one from two Porsche dealers preferably. You can also get one from your local HIGH END car dealer. These guys are pros at finding paint work and discounting your fixed car. Those two estimates will go a long way with the insurance company. If they are jerks, threaten to report them to the state board of insurance for ripping you off (every state has one). You have to be a nail eating a** h***. Appraisers get paid year end bonuses for keeping the claim payments down; we're talking about your check here.

It comes down to two things; how much time do you have and how p'd off are you? I fought hard for two or three weeks (off & on) to get what I wanted. The reality is I probably spent more time $$ than I'd care to admit, but it was/wasn't about the money, if you know what I mean. I had the money to buy another car, but they owed me for smashing my sweetie. If it were my fault, fine I'll take a hit since I screwed-up,..no problem. If it's not, come on..work with me here. I'll trade you a wrecked and fixed Taurus (what the adjuster was driving) for your Taurus. What do you say? I didn't think so. Let's be fair here...

I hate being tough on people, but they're getting paid to beat you up. Remember that when you deal with them.

Touch base...

Edited by happy911

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thanks for the encouraging words and advice. I will definitely take your advice. I'll canvas the local high-end dealers (Lexus, BMW, Ferrari) and see if I can locate more salvage dealers. I did find one and I'm planning to get him out to give me an estimate but he was adament that I'll be able to get the insurance company to total it if I try hard enough. My insurance company is State Farm and the other guys is Allstate. The other guy freely admitted guilt and got ticketed as well so Allstate has not been pushing back so far.

The repair shop here in GA is telling me that I'll only see $50k-$60K for salvage and I'd be better off repairing it and making a solid case for $15k-$20K in lowered value. The owner of the shop claims to have been an auto insurance adjuster and he offered to help me make my case. I also spoke to a personal injury lawyer reffered by my Porsche sales guy. The lawyer is the owner of a 2005 991 Turbo and it was recently damaged even worse than mine. He was very helpful and he strongly recommended repairing the car and going after a high diminshed value settlement (the same advice as the repair shop).

So I'm still trying to figure out how to get whole on this mess and it's clear that I'l be without my 911 for at least another 4-6 weeks - that's how long it will take to repair.

Here's a question: if I salvage the car can I still make a dimished value insurance claim? ...Scott

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I had mine salvaged because I didn't want to wait for the repairs I knew would take weeks. Waiting until after the repairs will get you a more accurate salvage value and diminished value estimate, no doubt. You're on the right path, it will just take time. Keep putting your plans together as you go so once your car is ready, you're prepared to deal with them. You will find the insurance company far more interested to take care of you if there may be a pending medical claim, as you eluded to. Car damage is easy to estimate, physical injury is not.

Edited by happy911

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My prefernce by far is not to repair the car but to walk away from it. I did sustain some soft tissue injuries, mainly to my neck AKA whiplash. I didn't think I was hurt for several hours after the crash but I've been in some significant pain since the day after my accident. The guy did hit me ahrd enough to crush both rear frame rails and I attribute the seat belt to keeping my injuries low. In fact afew days later, I found marks on the jacket I was wearing apparently from the belt tightening on me.

My plan now is to try and get some salvage quotes asap. I still need to get a full estimate from the shop. They keep telling me that they won't know the total cost until the car is done. I plan to talk with my insurance company Monday morning and ask them to insist on a written estimate from the shop. In fact I thought that a written estimate was a requirement.

With the salvage quotes and full estimate it should be simple math from there. I just don't know is I can recover dimished value if I go this route. If so then I need to get an appraisal so I'll have to find an appraiser. The diminshed value appraiser recommended by both the Porsche dealer and the repair shop won't appraise the car until it's fully repaired...

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It doesn't really matter if the shop does a perfect job. I don't want to buy your car and neither does anyone else who really knows these cars. The liquidity of these cars and their value is based on very few factors: mileage, condition, service and paint/body work. Any and all of these determine the car's value more so than any other non-exotic. They cannot give a great estimate until the car is done. I told them to base my estimate on perfect work. They did and even with that the dealer gave me very reliable numbers they would stand behind, which I presented to the adjuster along with a couple of salvage offers, we compared them to what the car "was worth" before the wreck and we struck a deal. If you want to walk away, approach all parties with that intent in mind. "Why should I wait for the repairs when I already know I don't want a fixed wrecked car?". Insist they work with you on this. If this is what you want, you'll get it if you're hungry enough. Also, how high can your blood pressure get wihout your head blowing off?? Careful,..this is business-remember that. :cursing:

By the way, I too sufferred whip lash and still have problems with my neck to this day and I am in excellent physical condition. Part of me wishes I kept an open book on my neck so I could have gotten more treatment (something to think about). <_<

Also, fair warning: don't let the other guys insurance company insist your insurance pay for it and they subrogate. This means your company pays and then goes after them for the money. Your insurance company will get reemed and they'll tell you this if you ask them. If you feel you are in over your head at any point, contact an attorney for "real professional" advice. Also, call you claims dept., they'll give you really good advice on how to deal with the other company. I have USAA and they told me how to play hard ball and it helped alot. Hope this helps. You should know I am not a lawyer. :unsure:

Edited by happy911

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In my case, I made it very clear to everyone that I didn't want the car repaired - although I did take it to a repair shop the same day. I didn't know where else to take it. I had the option of dealing with Allstate (the other guys insurance) or State Farm (my insurance) but I decided to let State Farm handle it and let them go after Allstate.

The repair shop is alao a State Farm appraisal shop and they told me that Allstate is cheaper on repairs and may try to have them use aftermarket parts if available. They would certainly add significant time to the process since they're much slower at getting adjusters out and so on. In fact, the Allstate adjuster just called almost 10 days after the accident.

Also, I was hoping to get State Farm on my side and make it a battle between me/State Farm against Allstate. It sounds like I may have made a few mistakes. But I did tell both SF and Allstate that I didn't want the car repaired. I plan to call SF tomorrow morning and make it painfully clear that I want the car totalled and replaced...

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A quick update...

State Farm has decided to total my car even though the damages came to only $20K. Thats $15K in parts plus another $5K to remove and re-install the engine. The engine has to be removed to replace the lower rear frame rails that hold the rear bumper. I go a salvage price of $60K but then I would have to fight for at least another $15K in dimished value. This is possible but it will take more time.

I pushed SF to total the car and since I bought the gap insurance when I bought the car I'll come out completely whole. In fact, the total claims adjuster on my case has already started looking for an identical 911 and they may even buy it and just hand it to me as a full replacement!

I've never heard of this but if it they give me a replacement (I should know in a day or two) I'll certainly be thrilled with State Farms service...

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I read your first email and was pi***d they'd even consider using aftermarket parts. Do you know what that means?? Any manufacturer other than Porsche. Yeah, good luck selling that car. You're on the right path. Don't drop your guard with State Farm, either. Keep your goal in mind constantly and settle for nothing less. Continue to keep all documents and search the internet for similar cars to arm yourself with accurate values. If necessary, provide the information to the adjuster. You'll get what you want, just keep at it. I haven't kept up with the forum since I've been traveling on business. As things develop, please provide and update.

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A quick update...

State Farm has decided to total my car even though the damages came to only $20K. Thats $15K in parts plus another $5K to remove and re-install the engine. The engine has to be removed to replace the lower rear frame rails that hold the rear bumper. I go a salvage price of $60K but then I would have to fight for at least another $15K in dimished value. This is possible but it will take more time.

I pushed SF to total the car and since I bought the gap insurance when I bought the car I'll come out completely whole. In fact, the total claims adjuster on my case has already started looking for an identical 911 and they may even buy it and just hand it to me as a full replacement!

I've never heard of this but if it they give me a replacement (I should know in a day or two) I'll certainly be thrilled with State Farms service...

State Farm is awesome. I got in a car accident 2 years ago. I decided to have my car totalled instead of fixing it. The car was only 2 months old and State Farm wrote me a check that was the same amount I paid for the car! Tax included also!!!! And the best part was, I got the check 6 CALENDAR DAYS after my accident!!!!!

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State Farm finally decided to total my car even though the repair costs came to only about $20K. They paid off my loan and gave me a check for my equity. Essentially they gave me a full refund for my car. I've already ordered a replacement that is identical to my wrecked C4S and it wil be at my local dealer in a couple days. The GM at the dealer even gave a small discount over the discount that he gave me on the first C4S (about 8%).

It was a rough 3 weeks but I feel like SF made me whole and I dodged a bullet. Thanks to all the advice here I was able to work through the process with confidence and I hope I never need to again! :-)

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