Thank you all for your sound advice. I really appreciate your help.
Checking any car out with my mechanic is very important. WillyNilly I didn't think about calling a mechanic local to where the car is. Great idea! I was trying to figure out how to "test drive" a car in order to go to my mechanic who might be 30 minutes away
Slartibartfast -- another great idea! . . . arranging for the seller to meet me at my mechanic's shop. I'm betting this would automatically negate sellers that are trying to sell me a lemon.
JoW -- excellent point about the floods and damaged cars. Something to be wary of.
I did think of going to my mechanic, just to share my tale of woe, since he's been working on that car for the past 2-3 years. I also thought of asking him for suggestions, since he'll be the one working on the car. ("What's your favorite type of car to work on?
Lots of car dealerships now have the carfaxes online. I browsed them when used car hunting. There was one used car I liked very much but the carfax showed 6 owners in the previous 4 years and I decided that was a warning sign.
Sounds like a warning sign to me, too! Thanks for this tip. I will definitely use it.
CuriousParty -- Enterprise mentioned this to me this morning when I went to get a rental. I do like the idea of having all the service records available, but I'm betting it's more on the high end of what I'm wanting to spend.
I'd really like to spend only what the insurance company gives me. But I'm betting I'll have to put in at least another $2k for something decent and reliable.
As for renting a car, many companies in the US won't rent to anyone under 24 or thereabouts, so you might end up driving the rental, and letting them drive yours, until you find something.
Yup. That's what we found out this morning. I'm not crazy about driving the rental full time, but they did upgrade the car from Economy Class to a Nissan Altima . . . pretty nice car! Enterprise also added DD#1 as a driver and waived the $12.50/day fee for an under 25 driver. DD#2 is not allowed to drive the car at all.
I was told that I'll be hearing from a claims adjuster by next Thursday. It would be great if they could fix the car, but considering the hood was bent, steam coming from the engine (radiator?), the entire front end (bumper/headlights/grill) was smashed/torn away and the passenger side door not able to open, I'm betting it's totaled.
Thanks, again for all of your help.
I'll keep you posted.
(eta) P.S. JenJay awesome thought about e-mail dealing! And I do belong to a credit union, I'll check with them.