So you may have heard that I have a $1701 check written out to me from Geico that’s causing me lots of grief lately.

Three weeks ago now, I was rear ended by a dunderheaded lummox and it destroyed a tail light and did some cosmetic damage to the rear bumper of my 2004 Land Rover.

Now, what I keep telling myself to do is to sign the check over to the local auto body place and have them take care of everything and give me a brand new looking car in a few days…

That would make me smile.

But I’ve also got dollar signs in my eyes…

See, this is an 8-year old vehicle. Sure, the mileage is low (60k), but it’s still an 8-year old car.

The Kelly Blue Book value is somewhere between $5k and $6k which, in reality, means I’d only get maybe $4k for it in a trade-in whether the bumper is damaged or not.

That said, it drives like a charm and it’s not ready to be traded in. Simply put, even with a damaged bumper, I still think it has plenty of life left.

Let’s say I’m fortunate enough to get another 40k miles out of it…

Now we’re theoretically talking about a 10+ year old vehicle with 100k miles on it.

Does relatively minor cosmetic damage have much of an impact on the trade-in value of a car at the end of its lifespan?

Probably not…

So, with that in mind, would it be financially wise to dump $1700 worth of cosmetic repairs into it?

In this instance, I think my mind is all but made up…

I foresee a considerable drop in my credit card balance in the near future… or a super wicked awesome first birthday party for Henrik… courtesy of Geico.

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For the record, I own this car free and clear. No lienholders in the mix to coddle so please save me the ethics lecture. I don’t like it either but apparently this is how the system works.

I’m also about 80% sure I can replace and repair the tail light myself for under $100.

For an additional $7 (to buy the special plastic clips), I can re-attach the bumper trim piece too…

A $107 repair job is “good enough”.