Seeking advice following accident in 2012 Prius V

Discussion in 'Prius v Technical Discussion' started by JHMG, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. JHMG

    JHMG New Member

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    new to board. My wife hit a light pole in a parking lot head-on at low speed. The pole is essentially a sharp edge so it pushed the center of the front bumper in. None of the sheet metal on the car is damaged in any way . All the lights are intact, the hood metal is intact but moved back as a result of impact and unable to open as it ismisaligned with the latch. The radiator is bent in and anti-freeze fluid leaking. My wife drove the car back home (3 miles or so) and car starts and drives fine (no pulling or wired noises or rubbing). The check engine light is on as is the Hybrid system warning light.
    Here is the kicker. We contacted our insurance company and had the car towed to a local auto body shop recommended by a local Toyota delearship. We got a call from the adjuster, that they are calling the car totaled! This seems absurd. They are offering $12k for the car, but that will not buy us an equivalent (this one is fully-loaded and low miles, looks almost new).
    My questions are: what is my recourse here? I at least want to get a 2nd opinion. I can pretty much do the repair ( new bumper and radiator myself) but am concerned about hybrid system warning light. Can anyone recommend a good independent mechanic in and around Nassau/Queens NY? Any other thoughts or input will help. Thank you
     

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  2. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Need to find out what they think is wrong, especially with the hybrid system and the subframe. The body work is manageable cost wise unless the hybrid inverter, transaxle with electric motors, or subframe are damaged. All are costly replacements. What is the actual mileage? If over 100k I would not even investigate further. Around here its worth less than $12k. Even a 60k car is worth only $13.5 and that is without a record of a crash. These cars are complicated especially with the five package, therefore it could be a lot of money only to find more issues.
     

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  3. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    There is a lot that was crushed behind the bumper. The bumper you see is cosmetic. It is structures behind that that matter and you drove those structures back far enough to impact the radiator. There could be damage all the way back to the front of the doors.

    I was involved in an accident where I hit a truck and there was no damage to the truck and I didn't think there was much damage to my car. But when they started counting up my mental $3.5k ended up $26k which is where they stopped.
     
  4. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    Several radiators, sub frame, engine itself and hybrid systems. I'd really want that to be totaled if it were mine. Argue about the value, yes. You're about to learn how good your auto coverage is and where to not buy it in the future.
    Don't waste another minute trying to save that car, but get more opinions about its value. The car's safety "crumple zone" did its job and she walked away unhurt. I'm guessing that the pole didn't move at all?

    Likely this was done with no coolant in the inverter and/or ICE. Bad idea.
     
  5. Offline

    Offline Active Member

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    I suggest that you ask for an itemized repair estimate and verify that it doesn't include replacing parts that obviously are not damaged, e.g. front turn signals, headlight washers, fog lights. If this v really is "fully loaded" with the Advanced Technology Package, I can tell your from experience that replacing and calibrating the radar unit alone will likely cost over $2,000.

    It's a huge plus if the fenders and headlights aren't damaged. Front bumper covers are pretty cheap - almost looks like a new one would mostly snap back on in a few minutes ... not much holds them on.

    If you really want to preserve the car and the real cost of repair is reasonable, you could buy the car back from the insurance company, have it repaired and get a salvage title.
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how fast was she going? that is quite a dent.(n)
     
  7. JHMG

    JHMG New Member

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    Thank you all for your input. There is a lot of wisdom here and it is very helpful. A few answers to posted questions. The mileage is a tad under 59k and the condition of the car (was) nearly pristine. It is a trim level 5. The insurance assessor looked at the car with a guy at the auto body shop - to me that is not a mechanic and they did not diagnose engine damage other than by a visual glance at the car. The auto body person did not think the subframe was damaged. They did not provide a list of what is damaged, rather said that they think (without really diagnosing) that there is more damage than the car is worth. It just seems fishy to me. They offered us $12.5k for the car, which is in the blue book range, but when I did a quick search of used ones for sale near me with this mileage I was looking at $15-$17k and then have to add sales tax (8.75% in NY) on top of that. So I am looking at out of pocket cost of approx $5k to replace this car. Wondering if they have the right to deem the car a total loss without really diagnosing the extent of damage by having a mechanic look at it and run thru fault codes, etc.? I have done a lot of work on my own conventional gas powered cars, but have no knowledge of hybrids, so forgive my ignorance. Thank you all again.
     
  8. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Have it taken to a dealer and let them quote the damage beyond the body work. I am not sure what the insurance adjuster would have to gain if the car could be fixed for much less. The adjusters are usually pretty knowledgeable of the reality of continuing repairs after the obvious problems are handled. Second opinions may be in order and a few hundred dollars for a tow and diagnosis might be helpful.
     
    #8 rjparker, Jun 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  9. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    As for settlement...research and find comparable cars.
    Blue Book does not take into consideration locale.

    If the value of the car per BB is 12.5 that doesn't look like a total to me.
    Remove the bumper cover.
    Get itemized estimate.
    If frame & suspension is not bent could be saver.
    Unsure on the radar components cost et al.

    Again, in the interim, find comparable cars for sale.
    jrparker above also has a good idea...change repair shops....but you may have to pay for that second tow....you really need accurate diagnosis of the damage to make a decision.

    Good luck....crashing sucks.
     
  10. Offline

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    Instead of having your car transported to a Toyota dealership, I suggest taking it to a collision repair facility recommended by the Toyota dealership. Some dealerships or their parent companies have their own collision repair facilities and are more experienced in repairing particular makes and models.

    One does not total a vehicle for insurance purposes by guessing. This situation makes me wonder who your insurer is and if they use their own or independent adjusters.

    I've had two cars that were fairly expensive when new (both Lexus LS) repaired at nine and twelve years when they were hit very hard in the rears. Both had damage repair estimates that approached the vehicles' then current values. My insurer didn't balk at having the vehicles repaired and I was prepared to buy both back and cover any excess damage costs myself. Both cars were as good as new after the repairs.

    I'm retired from 31 years in the home office of an insurance company but I never insured my vehicles with it - always with a competitor since I don't poop where I eat. Being associated with my employer probably made it easier for me to work with my vehicle insurer. I had the same insurance agent for over 40 years and he went to bat for me several times.

    It would be interesting to see a photo of the car with the bumper cover removed to see the extent of the damage behind it.
     
  11. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    Keep in mind the car's you are comparing your to in terms of price have no accidents on their records. Yours, once fixed, would be worth much less.

    Could it be a convenient relationships between an insurance guy and a body shop where the body shop wants the car to fix it up and sell it on?

    My only experience in totaling a car had me going to the shop of my choice, seeing a detailed estimate (computer generated, parts listed, labor hours involved with each task), agreeing that it made no sense to fix the car (future liability issues too). The insurance company then turned the case over to a company specializing in insurance settlements and I got a check for about $3k more than I paid for the car 6 months earlier plus all taxes and registration expenses (and the insurance company knew exactly to the penny what I had paid for it, granted I had negotiated a good deal). I removed all personal items from the car and any modifications I had made (things like tail-lights, CDs, specialized relays) leaving the original OEM equivalents in the trunk. Handed the keys to the body shop owner and walked away happy. Bought a two year newer car for less than they paid me.
     
  12. taxibuddy

    taxibuddy Junior Member

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    Yes, keep that in mind, but don't let it influence you to accept a lower settlement. The insure company is responsible for putting you back in the position you were in immediately before the accident minus your deductible.

    You have the right to hire your own public adjuster who will represent your interests because the insurance company adjuster isn't on your side. You can also represent yourself (that's what you're doing now) and negotiate hard. Be prepared to wait if you go it alone because the insurance company might just try to wait until you capitulate.

    Buying the car back is risky and I wouldn't do it unless you are handy or shrewd.