How an Accident Affects Resale Value

Let’s take a hypothetical scenario as an example: you are planning to sell your car and are looking at getting the best price possible. However, your car has been in an accident in the past. You are uncertain if you should list your car for the price given by Kelley Blue Book, or by comparing prices of similar vehicles to yours, or if the accident record is going negatively impact your car’s resale value.

Even if you have done everything correctly and as required legally, you may still find yourself having a difficult time selling your vehicle for the price of other similar vehicles online that do not have accident history. Most likely you have had the vehicle repaired so that it looks as good as new from before the accident – the problem remains though, that you must disclose the accident history to a potential buyer or to the dealer. You can choose not to be forthcoming of course, but the fact remains that information like this is incredibly easy to access these days.

Nowadays, companies like Carfax allow anyone to search any vehicle’s history by simply checking the VIN. People go out of their way to check the history and investigate all kind of faults on the cars that may exist – it is natural to try to avoid purchasing a vehicle that may have defects that could end up being quite costly for a new buyer down the road. Once they find out that the car was damaged previously, they will either expect to pay less, or lose interest entirely.

If you see it from the consumer perspective, they are investing in a car and they want to ensure it does not have any damaged structural integrity that may not have been repaired when the vehicle was serviced following the accident. A lot of this too will depend on the severity of the accident – if it was a small fender-bender, there should be little problem in re-selling for close to the KBB value. If there was any type of major accident, it may become a hard sell.

Similarly, all car dealers have access to vehicle damage reports as well.  So, even if you have removed all scratches, repaired it to a spotless condition your car dealer will still know if it has suffered an accident in the past. These reports show the entire history, insurance claims, accidents reports etc. Access to such information allows the car dealerships to lower the car value, and convince you to let it go to them for less.

The resale value is dependent on many factors such as the type and amount of damage, the year and model of the car and sometimes the quality of its repairs. It is obvious the more the damage to your car, the more the car resale value drops. Customers and dealers worry these can create problems later on!

So here a few things you can do to avoid this from happening to you:

  • Repair all damages as best you can to get the vehicle looking as good as it did before the accident.
  • Keep records of all repair and services that you have done to the vehicle; showing meticulous long term care can assuage the fears of a potential buyer, or dealer.
  • Clean your vehicle! Showing up to sell a car and not cleaning it thoroughly beforehand will give the impression that it has not been well cared for, and is not worth as much.
  • When purchasing a new/used vehicle, you may want to consider investigating different types of vehicles that do not have a resale value that drops as drastically. Some vehicles are in high demand and tend to hold their value incredibly well, ensuring that you will get as much money back as possible when the time comes to sell.

Therefore, it is best to ensure you take good care of your car regardless of it being involved in an accident if you want to maintain its value and price in the long run.