Automobile accidents are traumatic events. If you're lucky enough to walk away from one without any injuries, they can still leave emotional and financial wounds that can take quite some time to heal. One of the most frustrating aspects of any accident is the potential impact on your car's resale value, however. This loss of value can be excruciating if your vehicle was relatively new or if you have a sizable outstanding loan. Fortunately, there are ways that you can reduce the financial pain and ensure that your car will still have value when it's time to sell it or trade it in.
Why Do Cars Lose So Much Value After An Accident?
In the past, determining if a car was involved in a severe accident could be tricky. Nowadays, it's relatively easy for buyers to assess the full history of any vehicle they may be interested in. Not only do insurance companies report incidents that show up on a vehicle history report, but auto body shops do as well. Even filing a police report may ding your car's history, and ultimately, its resale value.
It may seem unfair that even a minor accident can reduce the value of your car, but there are good reasons why buyers are suspicious of vehicles that have been involved in crashes. Damage can often be hidden, and it may be unclear if repairs were conducted thoroughly.
Reducing Your Losses
Although some amount of diminished resale value is unavoidable following an accident, some steps can reduce your overall losses. Most importantly, using a quality auto body shop will ensure that damage is fixed thoroughly and correctly. Although accident damage can sometimes appear superficial, additional damage often lurks just beneath the surface. A cracked bumper may be hiding ruined sensors or even a twisted frame. An auto body repair shop can properly determine the extent of your vehicle's damage so that it can be returned to its previous condition.
Once the shop has finished their repairs, you can help yourself down the line with two extra precautions:
- Save all damage estimates and vehicle assessments, including those provided by the insurance company and any independent estimates.
- Keep receipts from the repairs, including exact parts numbers for any items replaced on your vehicle.
Together, these two pieces of information will reassure buyers that your car was fixed correctly using genuine, new parts. This information may not fully erase your losses, but it can significantly reduce them.