Sometimes your past comes back to haunt you. This isn’t just true when it comes to your life; it’s also true when it comes to your car. If you’re finished with your current vehicle and looking to trade it in, the dealer may get a vehicle history report. Any accidents you’ve had that involved an insurance claim will be on the report. Unfortunately, even if damage from an accident was properly repaired, it may still lower the trade-in value.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Typically, accidents do lower a car's trade-in value, even if the car was repaired following the accident.
Complete Recommended Repairs
Even though it won’t restore your car’s value, you should still complete any repairs recommended by your mechanic. This ensures your car is in good working order and safe to drive. Your repairs may be covered by either your auto insurance or the auto insurance of the other driver, depending on who was at fault. The insurance company may also require that you get the car repaired at a specific location. Keep the receipts for all your repairs.
Maximize Your Trade-in Value
As you get ready to trade in your vehicle, check to make sure there aren’t any outstanding recall notices. If there are, get the recall repairs done before you trade in the car. Clean and detail your car before you take it to the dealer. Present the dealer with proof of the completed repairs. Although this doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the highest trade-in value, it might help bump up the price. If you’re not happy with the trade-in value of one dealer, try one or two more to see if you can get a better deal.
File a Diminished Value Claim
If you were in an accident and it wasn’t your fault, you might be able to file a diminished value claim with the at-fault party’s insurance. This type of claim compensates you for the lost value of your car due to an accident. To file a claim, get your car repaired and appraised. Compare the appraised value to the value of your car before the accident. If your car was worth $10,000 before the accident and is now appraised for $7,000 after repairs, you may be able to recover up to $3,000.
Be prepared to show the insurance company the appraisal along with proof of the car’s value before the accident. You will need to be persistent and follow up with the insurance company regularly. Each company has its own formula for determining diminished value, so you may not get the full difference.
Melinda Hill Sineriz is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience. Her work has appeared on Pocket Sense and Sapling. She specializes in business, personal finance, and career writing. She has worked in insurance sales and financial planning, helping families to manage their money and prepare for the future. Learn more about her and her work at thatmelinda.com.