Your car’s value

Extending on What’s My Car Worth from October 2010

Nothing wrong with the post from 2010 or the updates from 2015.  I followed the advice recently, twice.  You can check LinkedIn starting on August 11 2018 for a series of posts related to a claim.  Sadly, these posts continue since claim 2 is still pending.  But, What is a car worth?

2009 Scion Xb is hit, airbags deploy so I know it is totaled.  I spend some time on Kelly Blue Book and then a basic Google search.  I narrow in on $5000.  Total time on this was less than 30 minutes.  BUT, it made a huge difference since State Farm was a bit less.

  1. Do your homework!  No different than if trading it in
  2. DO NOT factor in tax, settle on the cars value FIRST

So, car one is “sold.”  While this is going on I get a crash course in buying a new car.  Similar tactics apply.  Once you know what you want, settle in on a price.  LOTS of tools available to help with this.  But, what if you buy a car on August 30th, with financing, and it is totaled on September 1, 44 hours later?  You’d be me 🙁

This time, it is tricky since the other driver had Progressive, part of the problem, and $10,000 in property damage(the real problem).  No easy settlement here.  Then, my company, Safeco, “low balled” me.  How can you make that worse?  I used my steps and knew what I just paid for it, and had value.  They hired a third party who got twelve comparable models.  Seems good.  Until you realize they ignored the two dealerships in my county and used Connecticut where the fees are different.

I’ve been beating myself a bit and asking ” Where did my process fail?” It really didn’t it just needs more emphasis on the part that this is your claim, no one else’s. You need to own it as such.  Sadly, the companies are not using them as marketing moments like they should. Not loyalty building times like they should.  Instead, inefficiencies rule as does the hangover of wondering what will happen next August when my policy renews.

Back to value; I knew the number and I pushed a little.  Ended up fine but why did I need to counter offer?  Just take care of your people.  Why hire a third party when in less than 10 minutes you can do it?  Want to really hire a third party?  Look at the tech USAA just released.  How about Edmunds and KBB they were more than happy to sell me as a lead to four dealerships.  How about working with Enterprise to put their rental places IN car dealerships.

Bottom line(s)

  • YOU set or at least influence the value of your car
  • PLENTY of tools to help
  • It shouldn’t be this way but it is, embrace it

What’s my car worth?

It is your means to get around town, to work, to play to kids activities.  it is worth a lot to you but what is it worth to an insurance company?  The cost to repair a car is going up so if your car is older you need to keep in mind that if the cost to repair your car is more than the value of the car it may not get fixed.  Now what is the car actually worth in dollars?  It may not be as much as you want.

Try and find a consensus.  Visit Kelly Blue Book ( and/or Edmunds ( to help determine the value of your car.  Be reasonable with the condition and figure the middle number is about where you are.  How do you double check this try a car buying site like .  Give yourself a reasonable driving radius and try and find your car.

When should you do this?  NOW and/or right after an accident

Maybe it is not worth keeping collision coverage on your car?  It is also a great idea to know what your car is worth when the car is being assessed for damage.


5/11/2015 UPDATE

I’e been paying closer attention to this for 4+ years.  Despite the tools suggested above there are a few other things to consider.

  • There seems to always be a market for pick up trucks.  The color does not seem to matter, dents don’t seem to manner either.  Somebody is always looking for one
  • Older Hondas.  They are just popular across a variety of segments of people.
  • Subarus. Especially the all wheel drive ones.

Im sure there are lots of others you can enlighten me on, these are just a few that seem to stand out.  Why does it matter?  Because the market for your car or a car that you may buy can vary for a bunch of reasons.  The computer models mentioned above are solid but don’t overlook “market” factors.