What Happens to the Value of My Car After an Accident?

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Edgar Moulton.

01.09.2021

Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

Table of contents

The value of a car after an accident, regardless of the quality of repairs done, will likely drop compared to the price prior to an accident. Even if your vehicle only received superficial bumps and scratches, the recorded incident will still negatively affect the net car appraisal after-accident value.

Your car's accident history directly affects the value of your vehicle. Whether minor or major repairs were done following an accident, these incidents will contribute to the loss of value after an accident. It’s essential to be aware of this to make informed decisions on buying or selling your car.

Who Can Determine Your Car's Value?

So, how much does a car's value decrease after an accident?

There are several guides to determine the current value of your car for insurance purposes, as the National Association of Automobile Dealers' NADA guides. The ACV, or actual cash value, pre-accident is determined by your auto insurer and will be paid if it gets stolen or totaled in an accident.

On average, a car's value decreases by 20% after an accident. This can be more or less depending on the severity of the incident and how much damage was incurred to all aspects of your vehicle’s interior and exterior.

If you're involved in a collision with another car, the other driver's insurance will cover costs. This is called third-party coverage, which means that they are your 3rd party to everything and their insurer company. 

Types of Diminished Values

There’s a way to calculate a car’s value after an accident with the help of insurance companies and registered mechanics.

But, regardless if they are repaired by authorized original dealerships or third-party garages using OEM (original equipment manufacturer) spare parts, vehicles will still have lower values post-accident than those who were never involved in accidents. The diminished value of a vehicle is not due to repairs with aftermarket parts but rather the fact that it was involved in an accident. 

Even if you fix up the vehicle, its value will still drop before they are damaged and repaired, especially if it’s done beyond the factory warranty period. This is called “Diminished Value,” and there are three types of Diminished Value classifications for vehicles after an accident.

Immediate Diminished Value

When involved in an accident, this is the perceived value of the car right after the accident. This is done before repairs are done.

Inherent Diminished Value

Inherent Diminished Value assumes that all damages were fixed by professional mechanics. But even with the fact that repairs are done, the value will still be lessened.

Repair-Related Diminished Value 

This is the lost value resulting from the quality of repairs and can be attributed to anything like a paint color mismatch, sub-par craftsmanship, or using aftermarket parts in an accident repair.

What is a Diminished Value Claim?

The diminished value of your car is the difference in its worth before and after an accident. It doesn't matter if you take it to a shop for repairs, as records will always show that there was once some damage done to your vehicle. The good news? Diminished Value Claims are one way to recover those losses and prevent more loss of money.

If you are involved in an accident where the other party is at fault, file a diminished value claim so that you can recover the difference between your vehicle's pre- and post-accident values. In most cases, people cannot file this insurance claim with their own insurers if they're found at fault for the accident.

There are three main types of diminished value claims

Type #1 - Inherent diminished value claim

Cars with a history of accidents can reduce a car’s value even if the car is restored to perfect condition. This type of claim is most common, and it’s because buyers are often wary about purchasing cars that were in an accident, regardless of how well they may be fixed now.

Type # 2 - Repair-related diminished value claim

If the mechanic who fixes your car uses low-quality parts or otherwise provides substandard repairs, you may experience diminished value. This happens when a vehicle can't be fully restored to its original condition due to cheap solutions using generic parts. If your expensive car brand was repaired using sub-par quality parts, this would diminish the worth on top of damages done.

Type # 3 - Immediate diminished value

Immediate diminished value for vehicles is a type of claim that refers to the resale value immediately after your car is involved in an accident before it gets repaired. Because you’ll likely get your car fixed, this type of claim isn't used often these days and has fallen out of favor with insurers.

You Can Cover Your Money Loss with a Diminished Value Claim

Did you know that diminished value claims could help to get your money back after a car accident? 

If you have been in an accident that wasn’t your fault, make sure to get a diminished value claim. This will calculate a car value after an accident and help recoup money lost due to the drop in the vehicle's resale value post-accident. The reduced value claims can help you collect money to replace or cover car value damages after an accident.

File a diminished value claim as soon as possible, ideally a few days following an accident or at least within 30 to 60 days. Rules for property claims vary from state to state but providing supporting documents and estimates is easier when you pursue your claim shortly after an accident. 

How Much Does It Cost To Repair a Car After an Accident?

How much does an accident depreciate a car value? If you've ever been in an accident, the first question that may come to mind is how much does it cost? The answer can vary depending on your car and where the damage occurs. Also, Tesla repair might be higher than repairs for other makes of cars like a Toyota because they are more expensive models. 

The cost of repairing your vehicle can vary wildly. A few dents or scratches may only need a $100 fix, but something more serious could mean you have wrecked and totaled the car.

Here’s a table of approximate repair costs.

Car Part Damaged in Accident

Cost to Repair

Notes

Front bumper

$300 to $800

No other parts damaged

Front bumper with hood damage

$1,200

Includes repainting of the hood

Rear bumper

$1,200 and $1,800

With possible damage to sensors and rear lights

Windshield or windows replacement

$100 and $400 per window

Rear windows are usually more expensive

Surface scratch buffing

$50 to $100

Light and shallow scratches 

Small dings

$100

Small dents only

Major dents

$200 to $1,000

May need replacement of car sections

Replace airbag

$1,000

Replace deployed airbags

Air conditioner

$200 to $1,000

Minor repairs include the replacement of hoses.

Major repairs include the replacement of core parts.

Wheel Repair and re-plating

Around $700

Chrome wheels are usually replaced with new ones.

Note: Damage to the frame and engine will need thousands of dollars to repair, and most insurance companies may opt to declare your vehicle as a total wreck instead of trying to finance repairs.

If You Don’t Want to Spend a Lot of Money for Repairing Your Car, Consider Selling Your Junk Car to Junkcarsus

If you’re looking for a reliable junk car buyer, then look no further. Sell your totaled car to Junkcarsus, and you’ll get the best price. If you crashed your car and it’s damaged beyond repair, contact us, and we will provide you an instant offer. We buy old and non-running cars, plus we add free towing and help you with the paperwork. Give us a call, and our helpful staff will answer all your questions.

FAQ block

What can I do if my insurance is not paying enough for totaled cars? 

Apply for a Diminished Value Claim. This is a great way to compensate you for the loss of your car’s value. They work by covering the lost value on your car with insurance, preventing you from having to pay for these damages out-of-pocket or if they're not covered in full during the repairs process.

What is a Diminished Value Claim?

The diminished value of your car is the difference in its worth before and after an accident. This affects a vehicle’s resale value as records will always show the historical damages. 

Diminished Value Claims are one way to recover those losses from the damages from the accident or even from improper repairs done by mechanics.

How much does it cost to repair a car after an accident?

If you've ever been in an accident, the first question that may come to mind is how much does it cost? The answer can vary depending on your car and where the damage occurs. 

For small dents and scratches, only $100 dollars. For major dents, about $200 to $1,000. If your car was totaled, it would be better to claim insurance and if you can’t trade in your car, try to sell it to a reliable junk car buyer like Juncarsus.

Edgar Moulton.

01.09.2021

Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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