My parent's solution to the problem? Suzi should buy a new car, and sell Amadeus, my beautiful silver Civic, to my brother. I get a shiny new car, he gets a well maintained vehicle and my parents know its history. So Dad figures that if he gives me $7000 and my brother gives me the insurance payout, which will probably be between $5,000 and $6,000, I can go out and get my new wheels.
This idea sounded great when I thought that I could get a brand new car with the money they gave me. But it looks like new Civics and Corollas - the two types of cars I'm considering - are selling for significantly more than $14,000. MSRP is usually around $20,000 for a very plain, no upgrades vehicle, and while I might be able to negotiate that down a bit I'm pretty sure it won't be in the price range I want.
So this leaves me with two options: buy a slightly used car, or pony out my own money.
A used car just doesn't sound that exciting. I mean, I have a used car that I'm really satisfied with. I don't really have any reason to replace it. Used 2010-2011 models that I've seen (granted, only online - I haven't braved a dealership yet) are selling for $12,000-$13,000 - so with some negotiation I might be able to get something newer without spending my own money, but I'm not sure that I find gaining four years worth the expense and bother.
Trouble is, my parents are already set on this course and it'll be a huge pain in the ass to extract my car from negotiations.
Alternatively, I could just suck it up and pay the difference between the payout and the new car. But I wasn't really looking to buy a new car this year, and while I understand that I benefit tremendously from this deal ($12,000-$14,000 credit towards a new car!) that still doesn't mean that I can afford to spend the amount needed to bridge the gap in funding.
Mom's away on a trip right now, but she said that she might be willing to chip in some more money towards the car purchase. I guess the best thing to do is wait and see how much she has in mind. She might be able to negotiate a better final price than I could on my own, anyway, what with her being a hard-nosed Chinese bargain pusher and all.