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Car Depreciate after an Accident - Here's How Accident Damage Affects a Car's Value

car-depreciation-after-accident

You didn’t think everything would be the same after your car accident, did you? That awful crunching sound of sheet metal, the noise of shattering glass, and the creaks, rattles, and clunks you hear afterward all tell the same story, and that’s car value depreciation after accident. You might need to sell a car for cash quick after an accident, or check out your options based on the value. Read on to find out more.


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That’s right – as soon as your car has been in an accident, its value has absolutely and irreversibly dropped. How much does a car depreciate after an accident, you ask? That’s a complicated question to answer.

Why Does a Car Depreciate After an Accident?

Car depreciation rate

There’s the immediate reason for car depreciation, and that’s because your car looks worse than it did before. Whether it’s a minor dent, a broken window, the front end is smashed in, or the car is nearly totaled, it doesn’t have the same resale appeal that it used to.

Sure, you can get the damage repaired through your insurance. But even fully repaired, the depreciation value of a car after an accident is still present. Even with all new parts and no sign of damage anywhere, you can’t command the same resale value.

That’s because there’s now accident history on the vehicle history report. When you try to sell your car, the buyer will pull a Carfax report and discover the accident. If there’s an identical vehicle – same make, model, year, mileage, and condition – but yours has an accident on record, which one do you think a buyer will choose? The answer is: NOT YOURS. You have to lower the price to make it enticing to sell, hence car depreciation after accident.

The other factor? Your insurance premiums. If you make that insurance claim, there’s a good chance your premiums will skyrocket next year, and for a few years after. That’s not to mention that you’ll be paying your deductible. You might be better off financially just keeping your car in as-is condition, un-repaired, instead of making that insurance claim and repairing an accident damaged car.

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How Much Does a Car Depreciate After an Accident?

Like anything, you want to figure out just how much value your car has lost since your accident. To do so, you need an understanding of a normal car depreciation rate, then a comparison with car depreciation after accident.

Normal Car Depreciation Rate

Car Depreciation Rate by ModelAs soon as you drive a new car off the lot, it depreciates 20 percent or more. New car depreciation occurs simply because it can never be sold as new again. Within the first year, it will further depreciate up to 20 percent more. The car depreciation rate by model also factors in - most domestic brands depreciate more than import and luxury brands, but only by a few percent.

Within the first three years, a vehicle depreciates roughly by 40 to 55 percent of its new car value in normal operating conditions. Obviously, it depends on how well the car is maintained.

And within roughly five years, average car depreciation slows, losing around another 10 to 15 percent. In real-world conditions, you can expect that a car will be worth around 35 to 50 percent of its new price after five years.

Depreciation Value of a Car After an Accident

But throw an accident into the mix and the numbers are way lower. A car with an accident on the vehicle history report or still evident on the vehicle simply doesn’t command the same resale price.

At any stage, the car depreciation rate is about 10 to 25 percent more than the normal rate. Factors include the vehicle’s age and post-accident condition. Cars that have been fully repaired will have less depreciation and cars with more extensive repairs or incomplete repairs will see higher depreciation rates.

You can find several examples of a car depreciation calculator online. However, none of them factor in car accident damage. And if your car is a total loss or is un-drivable, you’d be better inquiring about junk car prices instead of depreciation rates.

The Problem with Car Depreciation

For most people, the problem isn’t with the value a car has lost – at least, not on its own. It’s either that they still need a vehicle to drive and their car doesn’t work anymore, or they aren’t able to find a buyer who will pay a fair price.

If the car isn’t working properly or isn’t safe to drive, it takes time and money to get it back into working order. Either one of those resources – time or money – may be something you don’t have to get it done.

And if you’re trying to sell your car privately, you might have trouble finding a buyer for it. That’s because people want a good deal, or they want a car that doesn’t need any work done to it when they buy it.

Maybe CarBrain Can Help…

Whether you don’t have the time or money to fix your car, or you just want to sell your car with an accident in its history, car depreciation sucks. The good news is that CarBrain will buy your vehicle in as-is condition for a fair price, no matter what it’s like. Whether the accident is still fresh and hasn’t been fixed, or if the damage is corrected and it’s only the title or vehicle history report that’s affected, CarBrain will pay you a fair price for your car. Get an instant offer for your accident damaged car now.

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