Do you think my BMW i3 is totalled? Is wear and tear pro ratable refund? Geico says $7k damage, BMW says it's a loss

//Edit Pics moved to top. 4 edits for spelling :frowning:

My car:

//EDIT Added one more pic to show dented wheel

The other car:

I am in Norcal, and my 2019 BMW i3 in what I consider to be close to an unicorn deal was T boned by a driver running a red in an Infiniti G35 at about 70 mph in a 35. Details are just so people can understand crash speed and impact.

  1. I know nobody can provide an estimate with pictures, but since I either have to start shopping to close a deal this month before I get even more screwed by prices rising next month I thought I would turn to my hackers to see how they would start preparing if you were me. Tow truck driver was like bro this car is done no way can it be fixed.

Imagine my surprise when Geico came in person to see the vehicle and quoted $7k repair. BMW said because the car is not currently operable they considered it totalled. I have provided BMWFS number to my adjuster who only accepted it after significant pushback and did not want them involved. I insisted so I’m not left holding the bag for any claim of improper repair or residual decline. The lease is scheduled to go back in 11 months and my understanding is repairs are warrantied in CA for a year which means the body shop, who I was referred to by my dealer, will be on the hook for an improper repair claim.

The shop has said they can’t give me an estimate until they do a tear down, but the guy did finally tell me that if he really had to guess he would say $14-17k assuming absolutely nothing else is wrong with the car upon teardown inspection.

Considering the wheel is like slanted into the car, if I was BMW, I would not take it back.

  1. I am not going to let it happen without a huge fight, but assume it’s a total loss and I lose the comparable value battle, if Geico cuts a check for either the residual, or below the residual, the GAP insurance from BMWFS would or would not cover the 11 remaining monthly payments ? Is GAP insurance for the full value of settling a total loss claim, or is it only for the buyout amount ? This one is very confusing to me, at first I thought it was for the full amount but I have been recently told it is only for the residual. If you are guessing that’s okay but please make it clear that you are not certain.

3 . Needless to say I am currently going through my insurance. Can somebody confirm that my insurance company cannot settle the claim directly with BMW Financial Services? If they could, is there something I could proactively do now to eliminate this possibility? Assuming an overage is there, does one think you could conditionally accept the settlement and make it contingent on paying out the full amount owed to BMW financial services and directing the overage amount to be paid out to myself in writing?

If it does become totalled I know it will not be possible to come close to an I3 w/ range extender, adaptive cruise, HK premium sound, navi, etc., and BMW lease wear and tear package all for $227 per month with tax. I also have a very good argument for defending my value claim in addition to the less than 7k miles on the car, but my question is who is entitled to the overage ?
There is another thread on here going on where they actually specifically cite the guy with an I3 who netted about 10K when his car was totaled, and in that thread it is specifically mentioned that Allstate or someone similar basically sent the entire amount to BMW who has decided to keep the overage and they know that they need to update the verbiage in their contract in the future. So with two BMW data points about the overage and two different ways they played out on this forum I’m left confused.

  1. I am an idiot and after negotiating a great deal, gave into hunger, and let the dealer bend me over for a lease protection plan at $1850, adding $60 a month to my $170 a month w/ tax lease. I have had the car for 18 months, but have only done 6600 miles.

Would it be safe to assume I am entitled to a refund of (12/30) * $1850 ?

Do you think the argument of (23000 / 30000 ) * 1850 is either possible of working? Do you have any personal thoughts on the idea? I’m genuinely curious as to if anyone else would try this, obviously I don’t think it will work, but I do consider it possible. I liken it to a balloon payment. When they say no, I could offer to settle for the average of the two ratios. I would consider that fundamentally fair, so let’s see what happens. It makes sense to me why they would only consider the time and I understand why arguing fairness cuts both ways.

Also, if anyone has a comparable number either they or a friend have paid for a lease protection for an I3 with BMW I would appreciate it as I don’t want to leave them a bad review unless it is genuinely warranted.

I am sorry for the very long thread, but I felt it would be less annoying to put all my questions into one thread rather than upset people having to scroll through multiple topics. I truly appreciate the time you spent reading this and crafting a response to any of my questions. I don’t expect one person to answer everything, and am grateful for any input.


Geico is your insurance, not BMW. Geico will make the decision if it’s totaled or not. If they say $7,000, then it’s $7,000. Your car is worth more than that, they’ll fix it. They won’t total it just because BMW says so.

If it’s totaled (really depends on if the frame is messed up, batteries unsafe, etc) Geico will give you market value for the car. If it’s over your payoff, BMW keeps that money. If it is below the payoff, GAP kicks in and pays that off. Either way you walk away not owing anything.

The contract should say if the lease protection plan is partially refundable if you get out of the lease early.

Why your insurance and not the other driver’s?

Just because insurance quotes $7k now doesn’t mean that won’t change. Let them deal with it. Once the teardown begins and the shop calls Geico to let them know the real cost, they will reevaluate and total it if necessary.

GAP covers up to current payoff.

What you will be on the hook for, no matter what, is your deductible since you are going through your insurance rather than the at-fault party’s. Geico will then have to go after the other party and attempt to recover your deductible for you. In the meantime, this is a mark against your insurance record. Whenever possible, don’t go through your own insurance.

Geico adjusters suck and always low ball everything. Had an accident a while back, Geico estimate to fix 800 dollars, which was funny considering one wheel had to be replaced, but according to adjuster would buff right out.

Took to independent shop for evaluation, repair cost 8 grand. After a quick argument between the shop and Geico the shop won. Turns out Geico idea was to basically cover the whole side of the car with filler and repaint.

The moral of the story don’t take Geico estimate for anything and their recommended shops got that status by agreeing with them.

FWIW, Geico was absolutely fantastic with my BMW. Well, more specifically, the shop was. Best repair I have ever seen on a car, and having the rental place in the same shop was a bonus.

I’m sure things vary by shop. I got lucky, I’m sure.

This why in the world is your insurance paying any for this, is Cali no fault?

The car will be totaled, if I had to ask my magic 8 ball. Many i3 accidents result in a total because there isn’t a great way to repair the carbon fiber tub of the body.

Glad you’re ok.


If the estimate is really $7k and the shop comes back at say $15k the first thing they’ll do is have the insurance company come back out. If it’s not totaled at that point, the body shop isn’t going to do an extra $8k in work before they know they’re getting paid.

You should be glad that 1) you’re ok! And 2) it’s not really your problem regardless of how it turns out.

No I doubt it will have any chance of working. Somewhere in your paperwork are the cancellation terms. Probably will be prorated based on remaining months. They will not negotiate this, they will not change their policy to give you a refund based on miles and they will not settle to a random number in between.

I’ve never understood why people assume you should deal with the at-fault’s insurance in an accident where you aren’t at-fault. Their insurance might suck, either due to poor customer service or taking forever to approve a claim or battling with the body shop or any number of other things, or they might not have enough coverage in the first place. As someone who pays his insurance bill each month, including comp and uninsured, none of that is my problem. I have always reported any incident to my own insurance, provided the other party’s info to the agent, and then gotten my car fixed as soon as possible.

You pay YOUR insurance company to help you fix YOUR car. If it’s not your fault, they subrogate against the other party to make themselves whole afterwards. There’s no universe in which I would spend time and potentially money to deal with the other party’s insurer, unless I intended to sue everyone involved anyway (in which case my lawyer would do all of that for me).


Shop will do an estimate prior to tear down. This gives your insurance company the chance to decide if they want to pursue repairs (prior to paying to tear down the car). If they go ahead with the repairs the shop will do a supplement to the original estimate. The insurance company once again can decide whether or not to peruse repairs. This process keeps going until the job is done. I typically see insurance companies repair until the repair cost gets close to 70-80% of the cars value. Once you get to that point it is a good bet it will be totaled.

If you go through your insurance Co when it 100% isn’t your fault you still have to pay your collision deductible. Your insurance company will get it back from the other company and reimburse you eventually, but this can take months, depending on the company.

Also, if you try to shop other companiesin the future, the claim still comes up on your record if you went through your company and you’d have to go through the hassle of getting a letter saying you were not at fault etc to prove it to them.

It is easier to go through the other company first when you are not at fault, but if they drag their feet and you aren’t getting anywhere then yes, use your own company to get things moving and not deal with it. My $.02 from working in the business previously.


Exactly. It can be a Pita in other ways too. I know someone who got dropped after a 100% not-at-fault accident. It didn’t happen in isolation but ironically

Year one: at-fault accident, car totaled. No problem
Year two: not at fault, minor repairs, suddenly their algorithm flagged the policy for non-renewal


It’s on your record forever? My understanding (for home insurance, at least) is that the claims drops off after 3 yrs?

It might be different in CA, but I switched providers a year or two after making that claim and it never showed up on my record. I was also so blatantly not-at-fault (hit while stopped at a red light) that they waived my $1k deductible.

It usually shows for 5 years but are ignored if over 3. Don’t get me wrong, if you prove you aren’t at fault it’s fine, but can be added hassle.


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