I was unfortunately in a car accident last summer, a little over a year after i graduated from college. I had taken out a loan to purchase the car, that ended up being deemed a total loss by my insurance company after the crash. This is where my first piece of advice comes in: if you find yourself in this situation with your insurance company, you are entitled to challenge their initial report of the value of your car before it was totaled. My car had just been painted and barely went over the 100,000-mile mark before the accident and my insurance company was valuing the car at less than the KBB book value. I ended up getting the insurance company to come up to KBB value on the car, which allowed me to fully pay off my loan to my bank.
My second piece of advice comes from what happened to me when I was looking to replace my now totalled car. I found what I thought to be a decent car on Craigslist and I was determined to just buy a car outright instead of take out another car loan. I drove the car, looked it over and decided I would purchase it under the condition the owner, which I found out was actually a wholesale car dealer, would find some missing parts and fix a few issues with the interior. The wholesale dealer did not end up finding any of the parts, fixed only a few of the interior issues and broke off all contact with me about two weeks after getting his money for the car. I ended up finding out the car had a blown head gasket and a mechanic I trust advised me to sell the vehicle. I traded the car in for a third of what I bought it for and luckily had better luck my second try in replacing my totaled car. I took the wholesale dealer to court and eight months later was awarded the money I paid to fix the interior issues and parts I bought for that car that the dealer was supposed to find.
The big takeaways from my unfortunate Craigslist experience: Don't buy a car on Craigslist, if you do buy a car on Craigslist, don't buy from someone who is running some sort of dealership out of their house and make sure you take the car to a mechanic first, and if you do get screwed over on a car you buy, dont let it slide. Take the legal action, represent yourself and get (at least some of) your money back.