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2006 Lotus Elise
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Discussion Starter #1
If there is enough clam damage to total an Elise, but the damage is only cosmetic (here’s an example This Lotus Elise Was Totaled Thanks to One Microscopic Bumper Crack), can you buy the car back with the salvaged title and choose to not repair it? If the damage doesn’t compromise the car in any way, can you get a rebuilt title with no additional work or are you required to repair it?

I really want to get an Elise, but recent posts about how fragile they are have me concerned. I envision someone bumping the car, cracking the clam, and the car being totaled for a minor ding. I know you can always opt to not file the claim, but if it’s the other persons fault, would you have any way of getting compensation without totaling the car?

L
 

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If it's something you know can be repaired, I'd just get with a knowledgable body shop and talk to insurance. The problem with these cars is the unintentional ignorance about what it takes to fix them. Granted a lot of fender benders are going to be a way bigger emotional event than a normal stamped sheet metal car, but if its repairable and insurance wants to total it, just have a conversation about it. If they do total it, as mentioned, depending on where you live it can be a process to repair. In Alabama a state bonded repair shop has to send in all receipts for major components required to be fixed, then the vehicle must be inspected when its finished. That said, they're still awesome cars and while there are a few horror stories, there are even more happy drivers on the road every day loving the experience! Happy New Year!
 

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Less is Better
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This is a VERY common question. Covered many times on this forum. It sucks to have to total a car, but if you're fully insured, your financially covered. This is a very unique car in the ownership experience, there are sacrifices made in order to provide that experience.
 

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@LinCbus

It's not as cut and dry as you make it sound. You do need to specify what State you live in.

The insurance company is simply insuring you for a financial loss. They never repair cars or make you repair a car. The amount that they pay in the case of a loss depends on many factors and is negotiable. If they total the car, the insurance company is just telling you that the cost of repair is higher than the aggregate of their costs: auction value minus auction fees, and minus miscellaneous expenses including risk of hidden damage. A picky owner could also flag a total since they don't want to keep pouring money out as a shop finds more "hidden damage". Insisting on OEM parts will generally result in a total on these cars. You can ask the insurance company for a buyback. They don't have to do that, though.

On the other hand, if you want to repair the car and avoid the salvage title, you simply go out and get some estimates and see what you can do. I just sold a front clam with trivial damage for $2,200, which is substancially less than a new OEM clam, paint, refitting, labor. You have more control over what happens than you probably believe.
 

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I have one of these cars. It was totaled the state of Washington. They rescind the title on totaled cars. Looked like it was in a sandwitch where a trailer hitch poked a whole in the front above the crash box and the vehicle behind tapped it. No damage to the frame or running gear.

A buddy in Massachusetts bought the car at auction and repaired it. I bought the car from him and found out that New Hampshire will not register the car without a title even though I had a letter from the State of Washington explaining the title situation. NH has no path to title the car. So my buddy titled it in Massachusetts and then I was able to get it registered and titled in NH as a salvage vehicle. This is an example where the rules are different in three states.

I am happy with the car and use it a a daily driver in the summer and for time trials and hillclimbs. In 2019 I won my class in the time trials and placed third the hillclimbs. So I am very happy with a salvaged Elise where only the body work was damaged.
 

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2006 Lotus Elise
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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for the replies and my apologies if this is a commonly covered topic. I’m in Ohio and after some searching and reading I believe I understand my options now if this were to occur. It’s definitely more nuanced than I was originally thinking. Ultimately I don’t think this will stop me from acquiring an Elise, I just want to fully understand what I might be getting into.
 

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Less is Better
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Thank you all for the replies and my apologies if this is a commonly covered topic. I’m in Ohio and after some searching and reading I believe I understand my options now if this were to occur. It’s definitely more nuanced than I was originally thinking. Ultimately I don’t think this will stop me from acquiring an Elise, I just want to fully understand what I might be getting into.
You've made the right choice. There are faster cars, there are cars that provide a better status symbol, but there are very, very few cars that are better pure sports cars.
 

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Thank you all for the replies and my apologies if this is a commonly covered topic. I’m in Ohio and after some searching and reading I believe I understand my options now if this were to occur. It’s definitely more nuanced than I was originally thinking. Ultimately I don’t think this will stop me from acquiring an Elise, I just want to fully understand what I might be getting into.
I’m based in Cleveland and just acquired my first Lotus - not sure where you are, but good luck with your search and let me know if you’re ever in the area.

Cheers,
Bryan
 

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2006 Lotus Elise
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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Bryan, I’m in Columbus. I hope to have one by late spring or early summer. I’m guessing most of my drives will be to the southeast, but if I head north I’ll let you know. Likewise if you come south. My favorite local route (and also one of Car and Drivers favorites) is this one: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish vs. The Hocking Hills. If you’ve haven’t driven it you should definitely give it a try. It’s fantastic in my FRS, I bet it’s incredible in an Elise.

Larry
 
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