Wrap your mind around this figure: 9.6 million. It’s the number of vehicles involved in reported car accidents each year (according to the most recent data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration). Now, not all of those vehicles are totaled, but many are (one estimate puts the number of totaled vehicles at roughly 5 million annually). So what happens to all those cars?

In some cases, their owners opt to repair them, even though the repair costs exceed the vehicles’ values. This can appeal to those who just can’t part with their trusty old rides, even though it often costs more to insure salvaged cars.

More often than not, however, owners turn their totaled cars over to their insurance companies. These cars then make their ways to salvage yards, where they’re stripped down for usable parts (helping to keep other cars on the road).

But a rare few have the chance to do something special, to brighten lives through the Recycled Rides program.

Recycled Rides: an alternative

Recycled Rides takes donated (totaled) vehicles, fixes them up, and gives them to families and service organizations in need. Since 2008, Esurance has participated in the Recycled Rides program, donating vehicles from our salvage inventory to charities all over the U.S.

Helping a veteran in need

Casey Salmon, network advisor at Esurance, shared his thoughts on a recent Recycled Ride event.

On November 8, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a Recycled Ride event in Tacoma, Washington, where a 2002 Honda Odyssey was donated to Sandra Lynn Prouty-Lemleys. Sandra is a veteran of over 20 years with the U.S. Army and is on leave, battling pancreatic and breast cancer.

Her fight against cancer has taken a physical, emotional, and financial toll, and requires her to rely on her church, family, and fellow soldiers for general needs like transportation, meal preparation, and child care.

Despite the adversity in her life, Sandra continues to serve her country, spending her free time helping others at the Real Life Family Center in Tacoma. I couldn’t think of a better candidate to receive this vehicle. It’ll help her get around for her volunteer efforts and when she needs to see her doctor.

Currently, Sandra’s cancer is in full remission and she attributes this to her faith and support from everyone around her (who she considers family). At the event, Sandra had 3 fellow soldiers, who serve at the same community center, share in her excitement for this wonderful gift.

Preparing this vehicle for Sandra was a team effort: CARSTAR Puget Sound Business Group (a local chain of repair shops) paid for the work, and 5 technicians from 2 shops donated 80 hours to get the vehicle back in working order.

It’s a real pleasure to work for a company that so clearly supports the community I live and work in. I can honestly say that attending the event last month in Tacoma on behalf of Esurance was humbling and marked one of the most memorable events of my career.

Related links

Recycled Rides
Want to know more about the Recycled Rides program? Check out this website dedicated to the project.

Are you protected?
If you’re leasing or financing your vehicle, you might not be protected in the event of a total loss. Find out if gap insurance is right for you.

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about Shawn

With more than 4 years' experience, Shawn spent his Esurance tenure helping make car insurance info as accessible, engaging, and informative as possible while simultaneously managing an abundance of complex editorial spreadsheets.