Edmunds Answers

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  • avatar zaken1 03/27/10 12:49 am PST

    If the repair was so completely and professionally done that the car now looks indistinguishable from a car that was never damaged; then the resale value should be largely unchanged. On the other hand; such things often become haggling points for those people who like to squeeze blood out of turnips. If one of those people comes along and wants to buy the car; it will be up to you to decide A> if you even want to deal with this person; and B> if so; how much you're willing to reduce the price.

    Other than a potential loss of status value; a properly repaired car should be functionally equivalent to a car that was never damaged. The reason that cars which have been repaired after an accident bring a reduced price is because of the ever present concern that some hidden damage may not have been repaired (such as the underbody being bent to the extent that the wheels do not track properly, or hidden damage to electrical wiring, or a hood, trunk or doors that now leak water, rattle, or do not close properly). Many people believe that a rebuilt car never is as good as it was before the accident. And there is often some truth in this.

    The bottom line depends on what kind and what amount of damage was done in the accident; how well the repairs were done, how likely it is that there are undiscovered remaining consequences, and how thoroughly the car has been inspected after the repair. If you believe there is no remaining damage to the suspension or steering; it might be worthwhile to take the car to a highly regarded shop that specializes in frame straightening, brakes, and four wheel alignment; to have them independently inspect the car and give you a written report of the car's condition. This could be a powerful persuader to fearful potential buyers.

    If some minor imperfections still remain; you should deduct at least the cost of repairing those issues from the asking price. Bear in mind that a sweet price will melt away many objections, and make a sale that much more likely. And be forthcoming about the accident damage. Any sense that you're concealing anything will drive buyers away.

    In addition to the insurance settlement you received; if the accident was covered by the other guy's insurance; you may benefit from filing a claim for "Diminished value" of your car due to the fact that a reconstructed car typically brings a lower price that an undamaged one. But insurance settlements do not take this into consideration. They just pay for the repairs, and treat the matter as if you've been fully compensated. This is where a convincing claim in court can make things fairer.

    Thanks to Morin2 for his example about this type of situation.

Answers

  • zaken1 03/27/10 12:49 am PST

    If the repair was so completely and professionally done that the car now looks indistinguishable from a car that was never damaged; then the resale value should be largely unchanged. On the other hand; such things often become haggling points for those people who like to squeeze blood out of turnips. If one of those people comes along and wants to buy the car; it will be up to you to decide A> if you even want to deal with this person; and B> if so; how much you're willing to reduce the price.

    Other than a potential loss of status value; a properly repaired car should be functionally equivalent to a car that was never damaged. The reason that cars which have been repaired after an accident bring a reduced price is because of the ever present concern that some hidden damage may not have been repaired (such as the underbody being bent to the extent that the wheels do not track properly, or hidden damage to electrical wiring, or a hood, trunk or doors that now leak water, rattle, or do not close properly). Many people believe that a rebuilt car never is as good as it was before the accident. And there is often some truth in this.

    The bottom line depends on what kind and what amount of damage was done in the accident; how well the repairs were done, how likely it is that there are undiscovered remaining consequences, and how thoroughly the car has been inspected after the repair. If you believe there is no remaining damage to the suspension or steering; it might be worthwhile to take the car to a highly regarded shop that specializes in frame straightening, brakes, and four wheel alignment; to have them independently inspect the car and give you a written report of the car's condition. This could be a powerful persuader to fearful potential buyers.

    If some minor imperfections still remain; you should deduct at least the cost of repairing those issues from the asking price. Bear in mind that a sweet price will melt away many objections, and make a sale that much more likely. And be forthcoming about the accident damage. Any sense that you're concealing anything will drive buyers away.

    In addition to the insurance settlement you received; if the accident was covered by the other guy's insurance; you may benefit from filing a claim for "Diminished value" of your car due to the fact that a reconstructed car typically brings a lower price that an undamaged one. But insurance settlements do not take this into consideration. They just pay for the repairs, and treat the matter as if you've been fully compensated. This is where a convincing claim in court can make things fairer.

    Thanks to Morin2 for his example about this type of situation.

  • morin2 03/27/10 9:57 am PST

    Very comprehensive answer by Joel. If you're new to the forum, the way to reward such help is to click on the thumbs-up symbol. That shows your appreciation for the help. I've hit the first one for you as an example.

    In addition to lowering the value of the repaired vehicle, the accident history also reduces the pool of interested buyers in a private sale. That's why a trade-in at a dealer is often the best way to dispose of a car that has had major accident repairs. The dealer is not emotionally involved in the puchase of your trade-in because its just a business decision for him & the car may go to auction anyway, especially is the accident turns up on the carfax (they don't always show up). The dealership may also provide a letter to you that indicates how much more they would have paid for the car in trade - without the accident history. That's important because if you do wind up in small claims court, the burden of proof is on you to tilt the scales just enough in your favor. Unlike criminal cases, small claims court has a lower standard of proof - you win with a preponderance of the evidence rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt". Judges also often make compromise decisions. And the at-fault insurance company will/should make an effort to settle before going to small-claims court - provided you are clear in your demand and have a good case. If you take the settlement, it might be $500-700 (that's what I've settled for, out-of-court, in 2 cases when we were hit). The process of pursuing that may be too stressful for some people and not to others. To me, its worth it to be "made whole" by the at-fault insurance company. Just conduct yourself professionally & put yourself in the company's shoes as you prepare your case. Make it easy for them to settle with you. I like it when both parties conclude that the settlement was a win-win, even though the process itself is an adversarial one. BTW, I'm not a lawyer & didn't stay at a holiday inn express last night:)

    Good luck.

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