Edmunds Answers

Answers

  • Stever@Edmunds 02/04/13 10:12 pm PST

    I usually use "clean" when appraising used cars here.

    The wrinkle in your situation is that your insurance company or the body shop or dealer may have reported your accident to AutoCheck or Carfax or one of the other reporting services. Or they may get that info from a police report.

    If a potential buyer sees "accident" on one of the reports, the value of your car will most likely be dinged, regardless of the quality of the repair.

  • MrShift@Edmunds 02/04/13 10:12 pm PST

    Also, if someone else was as fault (a third party insurance claim) then you may be entitled to file a "Diminished Value" claim against the other party's insurance company for the depreciation caused by this accident.


    You cannot however, sue your own insurance company for Diminished Value, so if you banged up your own car, then no-go on that idea.

    The older a car is, the less the effect damage will have on value--but as Steve says, there will be a loss of value if the accident is on record. Sometimes it never appears, sometimes it will appear years later. CARFAX is rather erratic and unpredictable.

    Of course, if someone asks if your car was in an accident, you should tell them. If the car hasn't been fixed yet, you might take photos of the damage to assure people that the car wasn't a catastophe when hit.

  • morin2 02/05/13 10:32 am PST

    We've had a few vehicles that were hit by other parties and I did collect diminished value (DV) from the at-fault's insurance company. That DV offset the reduced value received for the vehicle upon trade-in.

    Honesty is the best policy. It is difficult (but not impossible) to sell a vehicle privately with full disclosure that has previously been in a serious accident, even with excellent repairs using OEM parts. Rather than answer the question when it is asked, offer it upfront. Have the before and after pics, and receipts for the repair. The buyer will be happier that you were upfront and you are more likely to get what you want. The deal is also less likely to come back to haunt you with a claim that you hid the accident history. This also saves time by eliminating the buyers right away who will not consider a repaired vehicle under any circumstances. If a buyer discovers that you were hiding the accident history, it would only be natural for him to wonder what else you might be hiding.

    I have only traded in repaired vehicles, rather than attempt to sell them privately - and in every case, the dealer appreciated the full history disclosure (accidents were NOT reported on the Carfax). Because my ethical obligation was met with disclosure, anything that occurred after the dealer took possession would not come back to haunt me.

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