If you have documentation that the vehicle is worth that much it shouldn't be a problem. I was sideswiped in my Buick not long after I had a new (crate engine, from Buick) put in the car, and had a bunch of other work done. The insurance company wanted to total the car, but after I produced the documentation that the car had that much work done, and it carried a 3 year 50,000 mile warranty at any GM dealer they paid to fix it.
I don't think I'd do it, not when there are so many <$2000 15 year-old cars out there. I'd buy a cheaper one, and figure $6000+ buys a LOT of repairs and maintenance.
At the end of the day, an insurance company is still going to value that 15 year old car the same as any other 15 year old car of the same make and model. The refurb dealer isn't going to stuff a DOHC V-TEC from a Prelude into that Civic.
I'm doing something along these lines in the near future as soon as I get my project running again. I'm going to build 92 thru 95 civics with turbo LS vtec conversions and guaranteed to run 11 second quarter miles times w/slicks and 35mpg+ for $8500.00
I have three sold already I just need to get them done.
That may work in your area, but in this area $200 won't even touch anything that runs, or if it does run, it needs $1,000 worth of repairs to pass emissions. I would not be comfortable spending anything less than $1500 on a car for daily use.
Emission regs here in California are at least as stringent if not more so than in Virginia. Remember...we Californians INVENTED smog!
And granted, you won't find many $200 cars that are worth anything...and those that are will probably need at least that much again (cheapest possible parts and you provide the labor) to make them useful. That was my experience with my Geo. At So you're not likely to get a good "turn-key" cheap car for under a couple grand. But now and again deals like mine come by...if you are a decent shade-tree mechanic and don't mind a less-than-shiny paint job, you can do really well.
__________________ "We are forces of chaos and anarchy. Everything they say we are we are, and we are very proud of ourselves!" -- Jefferson Airplane
Dick Naugle says: 1. Prepare food fresh. 2. Serve customers fast. 3. Keep place clean.
I would not be comfortable spending anything less than $1500 on a car for daily use.
I just paid $1,200 for the SL1 in my signature. Original owner, 99k miles, never wrecked, never any major services needed, new tires, newer struts and brakes.
You just have to hunt for a deal. They don't fall in your lap.
Related to the OP, I doubt anytime soon, in this economy and with being a single guy w/ a mortgage to cover, I would spend more than $2k-3k on a car. I have 4 cars right now and have owned about 10 others and the most I ever paid for something was $4,300 for an '02 Ram that I fixed and sold for $2k profit. Most I paid for something I intended on driving was $2,200.
I think a lot of people would drop $2k on a motorcycle to save fuel long before they bought some restored Civic with no collector quality and being unable to insure it for what they spent ($8k).
Do what I do if you wanna make a buck.... buy something needing repairs, DIY, flip it for a few hundred profit, sometimes more. In KY you can transfer 5 titles per year w/o having to pay dealers fee's and get all the associated paperwork/licenses.