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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Sadly my 2008 E got hit and the insurance company is going total it because the side airbags deployed. And they think the suspension may be damaged. Otherwise there is actually little to no body damage and no mechanical issues or damage at all. Car has approx 158,000 miles. I just know they're going to low ball me on the value...and probably try to not count the cost of the ecamper as well. I've never had to deal with this before and I know very little about cars in general...but I love this car she is the only car I ever want. Would you take the money from insurance and pay for repairs on this car? Buy a new E? I'm not interested in any other type of car. I just don't really have a clue how much repairs might cost for these issues and wondering if its worth repairing or if looking for a new E is the better option. Ugh. Sad day. Thanks for any advice.
 

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I doubt there is a straightforward answer to this...sorry. Couple of items to consider as you make your decision however. First, depending on where you live, you'll need to see how difficult it is to get a rebuilt title. If the insurance company totals the vehicle and you keep it you'll be issued a Salvage Title. Once you do all the necessary repairs, normally you can take it in and get a Rebuilt Title. While rebuilds aren't worth the same money as an undamaged car, E rebuilds still hold a lot of value. If the "suspension damage" is actually damage to the mounting points and such, not just the suspension components then it's a much harder fix. The E is a unibody so cutting out parts and replacing them is very hard and potentially dangerous. (think of unibody as a turtle, where a body on frame, aka most trucks, is a hermit crab). The good news, is in my experience insurance companies do take Mod's like the Ursa Minor into account when cutting you a check.

Bottom line, if it was my vehicle, I would find a local shop that specializes in salvage title repair and see what they think. If it's fixable, I would take the money and fix it. Your miles are relatively low, you have the rooftop camper, and rebuilt E's really hold their value. If the car is rebuild-able I would fully expect the insurance payout to cover the repairs, and then your car is still probably worth ~$8K with a rebuilt title. Hope that helps.
 

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Hi all,

Sadly my 2008 E got hit and the insurance company is going total it because the side airbags deployed. And they think the suspension may be damaged. Otherwise there is actually little to no body damage and no mechanical issues or damage at all. Car has approx 158,000 miles. I just know they're going to low ball me on the value...and probably try to not count the cost of the ecamper as well. I've never had to deal with this before and I know very little about cars in general...but I love this car she is the only car I ever want. Would you take the money from insurance and pay for repairs on this car? Buy a new E? I'm not interested in any other type of car. I just don't really have a clue how much repairs might cost for these issues and wondering if its worth repairing or if looking for a new E is the better option. Ugh. Sad day. Thanks for any advice.
I’d wait for quote...I’ve heard that the Air Bag can be up to $2,000 to replace. That could be a killer, dont know if you can or would not want to drive without air bags, would not keep me from fixing.
 

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In the past I've had insurance companies offer to sell back the totalled vehicle for the scrap value, with the understanding that the title will hold a branded or salvaged title status if repaired. If you have that option to buy back the vehicle, you could then have a competent body shop swap the ecamper onto a new chassis. That might be the most economical option if they total the car.
 

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You will need to advocate for yourself and be assertive. Provide all paperwork you have, and send links to the agent for similar Elements for sale. AWD Elements are getting harder to find and are not cheap. Know that you do not have to accept their first offer. I would just refuse it on principal because that's the kind of person I am. I would also contact Ursa Minor and tell them your situation. They could maybe give you an invoice or related documentation. Good Luck and sorry about your Element.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You will need to advocate for yourself and be assertive. Provide all paperwork you have, and send links to the agent for similar Elements for sale. AWD Elements are getting harder to find and are not cheap. Know that you do not have to accept their first offer. I would just refuse it on principal because that's the kind of person I am. I would also contact Ursa Minor and tell them your situation. They could maybe give you an invoice or related documentation. Good Luck and sorry about your Element.
Ok good to know that I don't have to accept their offer right away. I do have my original receipt for the ecamper which is in perfect condition. I did a quick search on elements for sale similar to mine with similar mileage and it ranges from $8-10K, that's without the camper. It's just so frustrating because it seems like an easy fix and such a waste of a perfect element. Its breaking my heart thinking about her rusting in a junkyard.

Thanks for the input so far. Not sure I'm confortable driving without airbags where I live especially haha, and I doubt my car would be insurable in CA without airbags. $2k seems like nothing in the grand scheme of things to repair compared to buying a new car that I won't like nearly as much.
 

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Yeah, you can even have your car privately assessed which they wont want to do. Know your rights and talk to an agent in the business if you can. Remember your insurance works for you that is why you pay for their services. They should want you happy. I wrecked a truck once and met the insurance adjuster at the dealership. Adjuster lowballed me with a small check and I showed him the estimate the dealership had given me. In Texas you have the right to have your car fixed at the dealership. So needless to say he changed his tune. I would not accept any less that 12k for your car. Ecamper conversion alone is about $6000 out the door. I would get some estimates at reputable body shops and see what they suggest if you decide to take the check and keep it. You could simply get some used seats and plug and play. I see seats all the time in the salvage yards.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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Posting from my phone so apologize if it doesn’t look right. Believe it or not this is my car after the crash. As you can see there is no body damage at all. It’s hard to see but the right front tire is bent in which probably means the axel or whatever it’s called is bent, and the side airbags deployed but other wise no damage at all. This is why I’m having a hard time accepting a total loss
 

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The insurance company will total your car if the cost to repair is 75% or more than the value of the vehicle.

That said, the damage doesn't appear to be too extensive.

Good luck, that looks like a very nice E.
 

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They are saying there is frame damage. I would get your own quote independently and challenge their assessment. All within your rights. Not much to lose doing that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
USAA is just the best...I simply suggested they look into how much used Elements sell for W/O the camper and told them I'd be happy to provide them with links to similar Es and what they're selling for in addition to my ecamper receipt...THEY'RE GONNA FIX HER. It was breaking my heart to think about this perfectly good car rotting in a junk yard.

Thanks everyone for all the advice.
 

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These things happen. It's a total loss and not worth keeping. Chances are it won't happen again, so just keep your eyes open for another one-------and, you don't have to wait for another 'camper'-----any Element can be improvised to be a 'camper' of one sort or another. Move on!
 

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Bummer about the accident - I hope you find a good resolution.
I think we'd all be curious to hear how your company treats it (as upstanding and helpful as insurance companies are known to be ;-)

FWIW, I posted this discussion about an Ecamper transplant from one totaled vehicle to another:

And then this one about insurance concerns:


I never got a really satisfactory answer to the insurance question, though here's what I gleaned from my own research:
  • Despite marketing promises about "Collector" or "Custom" car coverage, specialty insurance companies (e.g., Grundy, Chubb, Hagerty, Heacock, etc.) really only cover "Classic" cars of a certain vintage...and they will FREAK OUT if you mention the word 'camper' or even hint that you might sleep in the vehicle...but of course they will cover a VW Westfalia all day long because those folks are only going back and forth to car shows and only ever stay in hotels
  • Almost nobody really offers "agreed value" coverage, which fundamentally should be the simplest thing in the world ("I want my care to be covered for $XX,XXX"..."ok, your premium will be $Y,YYY")
  • Best solution I came up with is to find a carrier who has a decent provision for "custom equipment/upgrades" (Nationwide - yes...AmFam, USAA, StateFarm, Farmers - no) so I added $10k on top of the base Element to account for the Ecamper.
Hi all,

Sadly my 2008 E got hit and the insurance company is going total it because the side airbags deployed. And they think the suspension may be damaged. Otherwise there is actually little to no body damage and no mechanical issues or damage at all. Car has approx 158,000 miles. I just know they're going to low ball me on the value...and probably try to not count the cost of the ecamper as well. I've never had to deal with this before and I know very little about cars in general...but I love this car she is the only car I ever want. Would you take the money from insurance and pay for repairs on this car? Buy a new E? I'm not interested in any other type of car. I just don't really have a clue how much repairs might cost for these issues and wondering if its worth repairing or if looking for a new E is the better option. Ugh. Sad day. Thanks for any advice.
 

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Registered
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You will need to advocate for yourself and be assertive. Provide all paperwork you have, and send links to the agent for similar Elements for sale. AWD Elements are getting harder to find and are not cheap. Know that you do not have to accept their first offer. I would just refuse it on principal because that's the kind of person I am. I would also contact Ursa Minor and tell them your situation. They could maybe give you an invoice or related documentation. Good Luck and sorry about your Element.
Remember too that your car insurance policy has an appraisal clause. If this is your insurance you can use that (it would be in Part D of your policy). If it is the other person's insurance, don't settle until you get the repairs or amount you want.
You're in charge, you were the one damaged.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
These things happen. It's a total loss and not worth keeping. Chances are it won't happen again, so just keep your eyes open for another one-------and, you don't have to wait for another 'camper'-----any Element can be improvised to be a 'camper' of one sort or another. Move on!
Fortunately they're gonna fix my E! So I don't have to move on just yet haha

Bummer about the accident - I hope you find a good resolution.
I think we'd all be curious to hear how your company treats it (as upstanding and helpful as insurance companies are known to be ;-)

FWIW, I posted this discussion about an Ecamper transplant from one totaled vehicle to another:

And then this one about insurance concerns:


I never got a really satisfactory answer to the insurance question, though here's what I gleaned from my own research:
  • Despite marketing promises about "Collector" or "Custom" car coverage, specialty insurance companies (e.g., Grundy, Chubb, Hagerty, Heacock, etc.) really only cover "Classic" cars of a certain vintage...and they will FREAK OUT if you mention the word 'camper' or even hint that you might sleep in the vehicle...but of course they will cover a VW Westfalia all day long because those folks are only going back and forth to car shows and only ever stay in hotels
  • Almost nobody really offers "agreed value" coverage, which fundamentally should be the simplest thing in the world ("I want my care to be covered for $XX,XXX"..."ok, your premium will be $Y,YYY")
  • Best solution I came up with is to find a carrier who has a decent provision for "custom equipment/upgrades" (Nationwide - yes...AmFam, USAA, StateFarm, Farmers - no) so I added $10k on top of the base Element to account for the Ecamper.
Wow! This is really helpful, thank you! Just in case anything goes wrong with the repairs this is really good to know that its possible. Thank you!

Remember too that your car insurance policy has an appraisal clause. If this is your insurance you can use that (it would be in Part D of your policy). If it is the other person's insurance, don't settle until you get the repairs or amount you want.
You're in charge, you were the one damaged.
Hmm also good to know, was not aware of this, I will look into it if needed or if something goes wrong with the repairs. Thank you!
 
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