Our Car Accident… and a New-To-Us Vehicle

posted by Andrea | 05/8/2012

Two weeks ago, I published a post about my clutter-free car

I had written that post several days before it was published, and about one hour after I took the photos for that post, we got in a car accident… with that car.

We are extremely thankful that no one was badly injured — especially since we were going full-speed on the highway AND Nora was in the car! I probably got the “brunt” of the crash since it was on the passenger side. I had a bit of whiplash and some bruises/scrapes on my shins… but that was it.

Praise the Lord that Nora didn’t seem to be phased at all. She cried immediately due to the loud noise and quick stop… but was all smiles while we waited for the police and tow-truck to show up.

As with most accidents, it’s a long story, but picture us going 70 down the highway (Dave rarely ever speeds anywhere!) when all of a sudden, one car ahead of us swerved to the left, the other swerved to the right, and we were left staring at a stopped car only a few hundred feet in front of us.

Dave slammed on the breaks and tried to swerve, but if we had changed lanes, we would have caused a bigger accident, and there was all sorts of construction debris on the shoulder… so we were stuck.

It was the first accident for both Dave and I, and I’d be OK if we didn’t have another one… ever!

Our insurance people looked at the car and said it was totaled… which meant we needed to start looking for another vehicle.

And while I was still so grateful that we were all OK, I was also so annoyed that I had one more thing on my to-do list. I was already feeling extremely busy with work and life… and NOW I had to start looking for another car!  Not to mention we needed another carseat, we had to deal with all the insurance paperwork, and we had to get by with only one car for a couple weeks. 

Ugh!

Over spring break, Dave and I had talked about MAYBE trying to sell one of our vehicles this summer and looking for something a little bigger. He was pushing for a minivan… but I wasn’t quite ready to make that plunge; and neither one of us wanted a huge, gas-guzzling SUV.

We were looking at Chrysler Pacificas (and other simliar vehicles) that have 3rd row seating, more storage, sit a little higher, still get decent gas mileage, and offer more features than a car. However, after estimating the price we could get for our car and realizing how much more a Pacifica would be… we decided that we really didn’t NEED a bigger vehicle right now (especially since we’re still planning to renovate the kitchen this summer.)

Priorities… right!

Now, less than a month later, we were down one vehicle and we had a very generous check from our insurance company. So, we decided to look at Pacificas again to see if we could find a deal.

Of course, I scoured Craigslist immediately, but couldn’t find anything that had all the feature we were looking for, low miles, AND in our price range (we didn’t want to spend more than our insurance check).

After almost 2 weeks of searching, I saw a Pacifica with all the bells and whistles (way more features than we even wanted), lower miles, in our price range, and literally within walking distance of our house.

I called the seller less than an hour after it was posted to see when I could look at it.

Yup, it was “the one”!

It’s black (I love black cars), it has 3rd-row seating, a moon roof, heated leather seats, power everything, tons of storage, 6-disk DVD player, brand new tires, low miles, all the paperwork, and much more.

Dave and I took it for a test-drive when he got home from school…  and we wrote the check the next day!

We love our “new-to-us” car… especially since we were able to replace our Dodge Stratus with a fully loaded Pacifica and still had exactly $2.26 left after our insurance check 🙂

Talk about a fantastic (and basically FREE) upgrade!

And did I mention that I LOVE Craigslist?

Here are a few more pictures of our “new-to-us” car.

Yes, I had SO much fun cleaning and organizing our new car!

Dave and I are so grateful that both our families were able to help us out these past couple of weeks, that we had really good insurance, and that no one was hurt.  Praise the Lord!

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51 comments

  1. Rachel

    09/26/2018

    This is the best story I’ve read in a long time, and to think, your clean car had no flying debris! Praise the Lord for all the things that went right for you and your family!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Rachel — and yes, we were very fortunate with the outcome of our accident!

    [Reply]

  2. Melinda

    07/21/2012

    I happened upon your site from an article on Sample size first aid kit from Money Saving Mom blog. I had a pacificia ( was recently hit by another driver while it was parked and it was totaled by the insurance company – and we are also looking for a car – very frustrating!!!) we absolutely loved it and so did my 2 girls one of who just got her license and she actually liked driving “mom’s car”. It is big and heavy and I feel it is a very safe vehicle. While not a great one on gas it was a wonderful car and I think you will enjoy it!! We live in northern NH and it was also great in the snow!! Glad everyone was ok from your accident and enjoy your new car!!!

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  3. Donna Marsh

    05/14/2012

    Glad you and your family were safe and sound! God is so good and watches over us. Your new car is beautiful! Enjoy driving it. 🙂

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  4. Krista R.

    05/13/2012

    So glad you were all ok. Glad you love your new Pacifica. That is what I have also (mine is almost identical to yours). I just discovered your site and am looking forward to reading more.

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  5. Debra Kapellakis

    05/09/2012

    Praise the Lord only minor bumps and bruises. I like your new car. It looks GREAT!

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  6. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles

    05/09/2012

    Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you are all safe!!!!! xoxoxo

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  7. Erika

    05/09/2012

    So glad you guys are ok, and that you were able to replace your car!

    I can tell you though, as the driver of a station wagon and mom to a 4.5 year old, I can’t WAIT to upgrade to a van. The reason so many moms drive it is because they make life SO easy!! No more hitting your head getting the child in, and crowded doorways!

    We live pretty clutter-free as well, but having a bigger car gets more attractive down the road. You’ll be surprised how *small* that back seat will feel when they’re a little older! 🙂

    Love your blog!

    [Reply]

  8. Happybee

    05/09/2012

    Hi Andrea!
    so glad to read that you all are safe!!!!
    This is the most important thing!!!!
    And now…enjoy your new car!!!
    Dany

    [Reply]

  9. Kristen

    05/08/2012

    Likewise, I’m so thankful that you are all okay! God is good. What an impressive Craigslist find! Way to go, Andrea!

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  10. Lynn

    05/08/2012

    Andrea, so thankful that none of you were really hurt seriously! The almost same thing happened to my daughter. She was wanting to trade her Jeep for a car that would get better gas mileage. The month before she had planned to have her money together, she was in a terrible wreck. The jeep was total, and she was hurt, lacerated eye and a grade 2 concussion..the air bag didn’t deploy, nor did the seat belt engage. Praise Jesus, she is okay and she actually was shocked to find out how much the insurance company paid off…More than the dealership was going to allow her trade..She ended up with the newer car she wanted…free and clear..The bad news, since it was a one car accident (she skidded out of control on ice)..her insurance went up $250 every 6 months for the next three years. But as I told her that will be only $1,500 total..and the insurance company paid her more than $3,700 more then the dealership was going to give her…so I feel like she still came out ahead! Enjoy your “new to you car” and be safe! 🙂

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  11. Janie

    05/08/2012

    I am so glad everyone is alright. I have been in big accidents too and I know the total shock and feeling that goes with it. And never wish to repeat it! This past fall my son had a similar accident, and found a car he wanted. This was a good thing since mine died and I have been sharing his! (VERY hard!) I have looked and looked and looked and my problem is what to get! I have chickens and they occasionally need feed and hay, I pick up wood for projects ..I didn’t want a mini van (been there done that and I love them but…..), like you don’t want a SUV..
    It has to be big enough to hold cargo but also people..I NEVER thought of a Pacifica! Then you posted this and it looks exactly like what I need..so now i am off to try and find as good a deal the universe gave you!.

    Thanks for posting..again..so glad everyone is alright!

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  12. Chelsea @ Endless Baby

    05/08/2012

    Andrea,

    I am so glad that you and your family were not injured badly – that’s the main point. Glad you were able to find your “new to you” car and Britax baby seat while not having to pay out of pocket for any of it.

    Way to go by the way resisting the mini van I am so sick and tired of seeing moms drive these vehicles as if its the only vehicle that a mom can drive.

    May I ask a question how long do you usually drive a vehicle for (I mean the mileage how long do you plan to keep a vehicle to X miles)

    Chelsea

    [Reply]

  13. Fanny

    05/08/2012

    Andrea,

    Glad you guys are ok. Sounds scary. And what a blessing to get a new-to-you car!

    Fanny

    [Reply]

  14. Donna E

    05/08/2012

    Glad no one was hurt and you have good insurance! What a great deal to get a newer, bigger car and a new car seat and a (teeny, tiny) bit of change left from the insurance money. You are a very good steward of your money! 😀

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  15. Kelly

    05/08/2012

    Wow!! Praise God you weren’t hurt badly! That must have been so scary, especially knowing your baby was in the car. I didn’t realize Pacificas had 3rd row seating! We’re a Ford-only family (my husband’s thing) and I’ve never been in one. VERY nice! 🙂 Wonderful deal, too!

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  16. Beth

    05/08/2012

    So glad everyone was OK! I drive a Pacifica, but we actually just listed it on Craig’s listed. We’ve had it for almost six years and are moving on to a mini-van. I’m sad to give my Pacifica up, but will be glad for the sliding doors of the minivan as lifting my little Chunky Monkey of a 2 year old into the car seat is getting hard on my back! 🙂 And it will make car pooling with friends and my sister much easier! Hope you enjoy the new ride!!

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  17. Julia

    05/08/2012

    Congratulations on a great car, a FABULOUS deal, and a happy outcome for your family.

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  18. Rebecca

    05/08/2012

    So glad you’re all alright! We were in an accident that wasn’t our fault with 3 of our kids. Their insurance had to buy 3 new carseats and 3 new mighty tights and pay the $10,000 bill to repair our van. Obviously, I wish it had never happened to us, but it was a great teaching moment for the kids on the importance of seatbelts. Once we calmed them down, we explained the importance of seatbelts and how they were kept safe because of them.

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  19. Danielle

    05/08/2012

    Oh Andrea! I teared up when I read you had $2.26 leftover. Isn’t God amazing?! Enjoy your new ride-I love it!

    [Reply]

  20. Mara @ Super Savings

    05/08/2012

    Oh my goodness Andrea! I’ve only been in one accident (due to ice a couple winters ago), but fortunately no kids were with me at the time….I was on my way to pick them up from school. That sounds so scary! I’m so glad to hear that you’re all ok and that something so great came out of it!! A free vehicle upgrade and car seat…..woohoo! =)

    ~ Mara

    [Reply]

  21. Abby

    05/08/2012

    I have a Chrysler Pacifica as well and I LOVE it! Yours has a few more bells than mine, but I’ll be anxious to hear how well you do with your gas mileage. That is the ONLY thing that I am frustrated with about mine, it only gets around 18 mpg. Other than that though, I love my pacifica and I will drive it till it dies!

    Hope you’re enjoying your ‘new’ car!

    I LOVE your blog too! (I think I’ve told you that before) I’ve made many of your recipes too, with much success! Keep ’em coming! 🙂

    [Reply]

  22. Patti

    05/08/2012

    Andrea… Some situations are a blessing in disguise… So glad you are all doing well and that this situation brought about a better ending with getting the car you really desired.

    Quick ? – Your pictures are so nice and clear… Can you tell me what type of camera you have? If you have more than one, can you tell me the types? (SLR or point and shoot or both).

    We are in the market for a new camera (daughter’s college graduation coming up and a cruise to Alaska after) and I am always amazed at your photos.. (you are a great photographer as well!)

    Thank you!
    Patti

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow, thanks Patti — I always wish that my photos were better!

    I actually just use my iPhone – not even a “real” camera… so I’m glad you think they look good.

    [Reply]

    Patti Reply:

    You truly are a great photographer and cheers to a quality product in Apple!

    [Reply]

  23. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    05/08/2012

    So glad you were all okay. It’s so scary to get in a car accident, especially with a baby in the car.

    I was in a similar situation once except I was only going 25. But the car that was stopped was a tiny car and I was driving a 1979 Caprice Classic Station Wagon. If I had hit them, I probably would have killed them. I was able to swerve (not a busy highway like yours) and miss the car but I was so shaken up.

    Again, glad you are all okay. Love the new car. You’ll really love having the extra space. Even though you could have gotten by without it, you’ll be so glad to have it.

    [Reply]

  24. Raquel

    05/08/2012

    Glad you are all ok – how scary! It looks like a nice safe car for your growing family. I truly admire your frugality! BTW, your earlier post motivated me to clean out my car and it looks great!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Raquel… and glad you have a clean car now!

    [Reply]

  25. Krista

    05/08/2012

    I’m praising the Lord too that you and your family were okay. What a very scary situation to be in. I liked hearing about your new car. I’ve been thinking about getting a larger car someday, but prefer to drive closer to the ground instead of in a SUV or Van. I hadn’t heard of the pacifica. It looks really nice.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    A Pacifica is a pretty nice “compromise” Krista. It gets better gas milage than SUVs and vans but has more seating and storage space than a car. We’re loving ours so far 🙂

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  26. Donna M.

    05/08/2012

    Hope you love your heated seats as much as I love mine. I even use mine on long road trips cause the heat eases back strain from riding so long.

    [Reply]

  27. Erika

    05/08/2012

    I am so glad that no one was injured. Love the new car! I am a big craigslist fan as well. Did your insurance company also pay for the car seat?? Just curious.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, the insurance company paid for a brand new carseat of my choice! So that was fun too!

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    Katie Reply:

    That’s fantastic that the insurance company paid for the car seat! Glad to hear everyone was OK. 🙂

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  28. deborah

    05/08/2012

    How scary! So glad nobody was hurt!

    Your new to you vehicle looks great!

    [Reply]

  29. Terry

    05/08/2012

    God is so great!!! He loves to bless us in the strangest ways!!! So glad your all ok!!!

    [Reply]

  30. Ann

    05/08/2012

    I wondered why you had gotten a new car seat and know now how you got it “free” with your insurance money. I’d rather pay for a car seat but am glad that everything is working out for you and hope you enjoy your “new” ride!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Ann, why would you rather pay for it yourself when you could get it free? Our insurance let me pick out exactly the carseat we wanted and then just wrote us a check for the total cost. It really WAS free… plus, I got a much nicer carseat as a result.

    [Reply]

    Ann Reply:

    I’d rather pay for it myself than have to get in a car accident to get it free! (I agree that if the accident has already happened, I’d love for insurance to pay for it but what I meant was that it wouldn’t be worth getting into an accident just to get a “free” car seat!)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Ahhh… I understand. I thought maybe you knew something about carseats or insurance that I didn’t 🙂 Of course, I would rather not get in an accident too… but this was a pretty nice “bonus” especially since no one was hurt!

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  31. Jennifer @ Mom Spotted

    05/08/2012

    Great upgrade! You’ll love all the extra space!

    [Reply]

  32. Shannon

    05/08/2012

    I’m so glad that you and your family are okay! From the pictures, it looks like you were protected very well by your car.

    [Reply]

  33. Laurel

    05/08/2012

    Glad no one was hurt. You were really lucky. We haven’t had a car accident, thank goodness, but I have heard that when you do your insurance rates kind up jump way up. Just a heads up so you don’t get a big surprise when the bill comes :(. It’s fun getting a new car, isn’t it?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, we’ve already talked with the insurance company about this and since we didn’t get any point on our record for the accident, our insurance shouldn’t go up by more than a few bucks ever 6 months. However, it will go up slightly since we have a bigger/nicer vehicle now… but that’s expected!

    [Reply]

    Laurel Reply:

    Wow, that’s great. I know someone who literally tapped a post with her bumper in a parking lot. No damage to the post, but a dent in her fender and her rates went up even though she was assured they wouldn’t by the insurance people. Guess you lucked out 🙂 i hope ypu sre correct.

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    maryann Reply:

    You’re lucky you don’t live here in NY. Anytime you hit another car from behind, it’s counted as your fault. They feel you should have the correct number of car lengths between cars to avoid unexpected stopped cars in front. (At 70 MPH, if you weren’t 7 car lengths behind you would be charged with the accident.)

    [Reply]

  34. Kristin

    05/08/2012

    That’s the “new to us” car that I drive 🙂 Only mine is silver. We bought it 5.5 years ago when it was 2 years only, and don’t have any intentions of getting rid of it for the next 2 years at least. Its been a great car! I will be sad when its time to replace it. And I’m glad we “the facebook communicty” steered you in the right direction on the Britax carseat, it fits perfectly in my Pacifica.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, we’re loving our Britax car seat — especially since it was paid for 🙂

    [Reply]

  35. Julie

    05/08/2012

    Love the new car!! So glad no one was seriously hurt in your accident!!

    [Reply]

  36. Jen

    05/08/2012

    Car accidents are so terrifying. I’ve been in several (all minor) but have never had my kids with me. I can’t imagine what a sick feeling that must have been for you and Dave. I’m so glad you’re okay and that you got a great new car out of it.

    [Reply]

  37. sara

    05/08/2012

    I’m so glad everyone was okay! Love the new car, but sorry for the way you got it!

    [Reply]