My VW Passat declared a total loss after my wife crashed it into a Ford

I was shocked to see the car in such a state. It will be tough for me to find a replacement but I would like to stick to the VW group.

BHPian Rajamass recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Adieu to my VW Passat Limited Edition

My relationship with the VW Passat ended abruptly—a very tough past two weeks. My Passat met with a collision on Jul 5th and got damaged severely on the right front side. My Wife got distracted with her mobile and hit a parked 1996 Ford F150 pickup truck with a solid steel cargo loading bed. So, all the impact got onto the right bumper, fender, door outer skin, or metal sheets. Her speed was around 20-25mph. I did not find any damage to the skeleton or the pillars so I thought it could be repaired easily.

I was shocked to see the car in such a state. I called VW roadside assistance, as the car has three years of coverage, and towed it to the nearest VW collision center (Niello collision center, Sacramento, California). To my shock, the collision center manager refused to accept the vehicle as the facility was 100% full at capacity. He did not even allow me to keep the car for an hour before I talked to my insurance. The towing service also did not allow me to speak to my insurance. They threatened to take the vehicle to their yard or leave it on the streetside.

After wasting my time with VW roadside assistance, I finally towed it back to my home by paying 145$. VW customer care, as usual, has no proper response on how to deal with it. Pretty much useless. All they said was that they are responsible only up to the nearest center, but when I asked how they deal with the collision center refusing to accept the car, they had no answer. I told them to tow it to any VW-approved collision center, so they put it on me, saying I asked for it. The nearest collision center other than this is at least 70 miles away.

In summary, their roadside assistance was not much use to me. This is the first time I ever availed of roadside assistance in India or the US, and it's a bitter experience. I should have availed the insurance towing service.

The insurance company Geico was kind to arrange another towing service immediately and suggested I give the vehicle to their approved center, Caliber Collision in Sacramento. Since the authorized center has no appointments for one month and considering the timelines, they take here even to generate an estimate, I agreed. I was unsure if they would estimate based on OEM, non-OEM, or refurbished parts. I called them several times, and every time they said they use only genuine OEM parts.

After close to 13 days (9 working days), I finally had an initial estimate of $20352 after my $500 deductible. A lot of parts were non-OEM and also refurbished. California law requires the repair facilities to state the source of parts clearly to the customer, so they cannot hide it. The labor charges alone came to around $10000! When I saw the estimate, I realized it would be a total loss since everything else in the vehicle is pristine and fetches an excellent residual value.

The next day, I got a mail from my insurance company that the claim had been sent to the total loss team for review. I was worried about how the adjuster would evaluate the car's actual cash value (ACV) before the accident. My research showed that the Kelly blue book (KBB) offers a close match to the insurance claims in the US, with the insurance offerings being a little higher than KBB value. Now the insurance adjuster has called me and said they arrived at a value of $30831 after my $500 deductible. I should accept the offer. I paid $31808 for it when I bought it in Feb 2022; since then, I have driven 24500miles. So essentially, they are paying me almost all the money I invested, which is the only happy part of the story. When I initially bought it, I was lucky as the offer was good for me, with 3000-4000 less than the market value.

I am going to miss my beautiful red limited-edition Passat. No other car on the market offers the same features and luxury at the same price. It will be tough for me to find a replacement but I would like to stick to the VW group. I am also moving to a colder place (Wisconsin state) next month. So, I am divided on buying an all-wheel drive compact SUV like the Tiguan or the Taos or a performance-oriented sedan along the lines of the Jetta GLI.

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