Hail damage dilemma

<p>I can't decide what to do.....</p>

<p>Daughter's 2000 Dodge Neon was severaly damaged by a freak hail storm over a month ago. There are dime to half dollar dents everywhere. Hundreds of them.<br>
The insurance adjusted looked at it and said he thought paintless dent repair would fix the dents - 'maybe'. They valued the car at $4000, we paid $4500 for it two years ago.
They sent me a check for $2800 and said to call for an appt. Any damage over $3000 will total the car.
We had the paintless dent repair guy look at it. He can do everything but the hood and roof for $1700. He said the hood should be replaced. </p>

<p>I basically have two options -
call the insurance company back, sell the car to them and get a check for $1200....
or
try and sell the car, if I get over $1200 I would come out ahead.
My daughter's boyfriend thinks I can get over $1200 for salvage.</p>

<p>WWYD???</p>

<p>If the car is otherwise reliable and dependable, I would fix what I could with the insurance $ - perhaps go back to them with the revised estimate. While it is not impossible to get a reliable car for $4,000, it is not guaranteed either.</p>

<p>Then again, I don't particularly care what my car looks like, as long as it runs reliably.</p>

<p>It is fairly reliable and she needs some cheap wheels to last her about two more years, until she graduates.
I know I can find a pretty good used car for under $4000. The car does have some issues, it will need new headlights at a couple of hundred dollars each and has a 'shaking' problem that the mechanic can't fix (apparently common in neons). So, it is kind of an opportunity to trade in those issues, although I hear what you are saying. My daughter was thinking she could find someone like you who would pay $1500 for it and she could get a 'better' replacement. </p>

<p>The dents in the hood and roof are really awful and it looks very 'ghetto'. Think golf ball.</p>

<p>You could try repairing it yourself and keeping the money... I mean, it's ten years old and it's a Neon. I wouldn't fix; I'd just keep the check.</p>

<p>However, painless dent repair works like this:</p>

<p>Get car very hot (park in sun). Put dry ice on the dent. Wait.</p>

<p>Maybe just paint it white and paint "Titleist" on the side and see if you can get some advertising revenue.</p>

<p>I just looked up the used car pricing on a 2000 Neon and on Edmunds (will be higher depending on options, mileage, condition) -
Trade-In: $1173
Private-party: $1815
Dealer retail: $2539</p>

<p>I looked it up on kbb.com as well and the price is also less than $4K.</p>

<p>Given the above, you might want to seriously consider taking the money and using it to buy an equivalent lower mileage undamaged Neon or add a bit to the money and get something newer and maybe safer. It sounds like the insurance cmpany is being pretty generous on the reimbursement. Also remember that the 'fixed' car, especially from a cheapo dent pulling job, likely won't be the same quality as it was before the damage. The hood and roof will likely not match well even though they'll try to blend it due to this being a 10 y/o car with 10 years of paint fade.</p>

<p>I suggest checking out the pricing as well via the way I did it as well as seeing what autotrader.com has for sale for a car like this and then seeing what else can be had with the $4K or $4K plus if that's what's desired.</p>

<p>I'm with the prior posters of Scotch descent ... cheap fix or no fix. A ten year old Neon? In good shape? With a 100K or so? $1,200 in our "high cost of living" area ... drive it home today. IMHO the $2,800 check from the insurance company is essentially a gift!</p>

<p>PS, If there are any trade school in your area you might consider having students there fix the most objectionable damage. Or, as ucsd<em>ucla</em>dad suggested, write something witty over the damage ... something like "Still wait'n on FEMA"</p>

<p>
[quote]
Maybe just paint it white and paint "Titleist" on the side and see if you can get some advertising revenue

[/quote]
</p>

<p>ucsd ucla dad....that's the greatest laugh I had all day. Thanks</p>

<p>Take the money and run! Quick, before they change their minds or realize their quote was mistaken.</p>

<p>ucsd ucla dad & new hope - too funny!
The neon is a dark orange. The insurance adjusted marked all the dents with green marker, then the 'dent wizard' estimator circled them all with black marker. It just looks lovely now!</p>

<p>She was hoping the insurance company would pay to have it repainted - she wanted it "Barbie pink".</p>

<p>I was actually shocked when the insurance company offered nearly $4000. They will give us the 'suggested retail value' - not the trade in value. I wisely/stupidly had only a $100 deductible for the comprehensive coverage, so I only lose that amount.
Any repair over 80% of the value will total the car. </p>

<p>Once problem I see with keeping the car is it needs to last about two more years. I am somewhat concerned that if it was not repaired, the dents will eventually cause the paint to peel and the car to rust. So while it's drivable now, it might not be in a year.</p>

<p>It shouldn't rust through on the top - any moisture there will dry off, not get trapped and stay wet. That money was a gift - bank it, and have dd contribute to that account until in two years, she can buy a new used vehicle.</p>

<p>Yes but.... if she kept it and the $2900 in the bank at the end of two years she would stll have to get rid of it. What would she do with it - junk it?
At least if she got $4000 and bought a $4000 car now, that would still be running and saleable in two years.</p>

<p>Hail damage should have no effect on the operation of the automobile ... the effects of hail are cosmetic, psychological, and in most cases financial (though in your most unusual case the financial effect is a substantial windfall rather than a substantial reduction in value!).</p>

<p>Suggestion: Check your local craigslist.org and autotrader.com to see what a replacement car would cost. Better yet, post your D's car on craigslist to see if you can sell that unique piece of artwork. "Well cared-for Neon with Heavenly modifications!!!" If it sells, problem solved!</p>

<p>^^^^ she wanted it "Barbie pink"</p>

<p>Uh, it appears someone beat her to it:
1997</a> Plymouth Neon Sedan 4D</p>

<p>Re post #13 - NewHope, that's original paint on the car in the ad. I know... that's the color of the Neon I used to own.</p>

<p>It has its advantages. Now I am driving a silver-colored sedan. When I go out to a parking lot, I see a bunch of other cars that look like mine. I never remember where I parked, so I have to walk up and down the rows until I find a car with a "Barnard" sticker on the rear window.</p>

<p>I used to be able to spot the purple Neon a mile off.</p>

<p>NewHope - thanks for that giggle!</p>

<p>I would paint a dollar sign next to each of those dents and keep driving it.</p>

<p>Oh wow! I posted this on her facebook wall. She can rip out her stereo and replace the cassette and make money! Perfect.</p>

<p>I posted her car for $1600, we'll see if there are any takers. </p>

<p>Hunt - I offered for her to keep the repair money and the car. She is in Spain right now blew her budget out of the water and is thinking about it. always is better when it's their 'idea'.<br>
;)</p>