A car accident can cause irreparable damage to your vehicle. Besides the stress of no longer having a working automobile, the financial cost of an accident can be overwhelming, even with insurance. Moreover, the decision to get rid of a car after an accident, instead of repairing it, can be a difficult one.
Depending on the amount and type of damage incurred and whether or not you have auto coverage, you have several options for dealing with this situation in a financially responsible way. Having different options is especially beneficial if your car has been declared totaled by your insurer. Otherwise, you will be paying for either a new vehicle or costly repairs completely out of pocket.
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With such an expensive product like a car, and its equally costly insurance coverage, getting the most out of its value, no matter the amount of damage, will be financially beneficial to you in the long run. Read about your fiscally responsible options for dealing with your undrivable car below.
Assessing the Amount of Damage
After an accident, one of the first things you must do is call your insurance company and start your claim. Doing so will increase your chances of salvaging money to either pay for the necessary repairs or a down payment on a new vehicle.
Your insurer will assess the damage either by asking you to send photographs or videos or an agent will come to evaluate the car. After inspection, the agent will estimate the cost of repairs or decide that the car is a total loss.
If you do not have car insurance, you will be responsible for determining the severity of the damage. You will likely have to consult with several auto shops to get an estimate on repairs. You may be told by the repair shop that your car is not worth fixing depending on the amount of damage it has. However, it is up to you to make the final decision.
Cars Declared Total Losses
A car is determined to be totaled if the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the car at the time of the accident. Typically, this means when the cost of fixing the damage equals 50% to 100% or more of the car’s value. The exact value depends on state laws. The value of the vehicle is determined by a number of factors including:
- Selling price of similar cars in the area.
- Resale value.
Basic auto insurance coverage does not cover the costs of a totaled vehicle. Rather, this type of coverage is available through comprehensive or collision insurance. Comprehensive coverage will pay for damages incurred that were not related to an accident. For instance, if a tree falls on your car or a natural disaster occurs, your auto insurer will be able to take care of the damage.
On the other hand, collision insurance provides coverage for any damage that occurs with your vehicle whether you were at fault or not. The collision can occur with another vehicle, trees, or any other object.
Selling Your Totaled Car
With a totaled car, your best option is to sell it. Often, the repairs required to fix a vehicle with severe damage are often not worth it and replacing the car with a new or used one will be a much better choice financially.
Typically, selling a vehicle yourself will result in the most profit rather than forfeiting it to your insurance company. However, in many instances you can usually receive money from your insurer after your vehicle has been declared totaled and make more from selling it. Read on to learn how.
Selling Your Car to Your Insurer
You have two options if you want to get money from your insurance company for a vehicle determined to be a total loss. In one scenario, your insurer gives you a check for the pre-accident value of the car. This amount is the cash value of the vehicle minus your deductible. In this case, the auto insurance company keeps the vehicle and sells it at auction.
Alternatively, you can ask your insurance company to let you buy the car back. This way, you will receive a check for the car, minus the deductible as well as what your insurance company thought they would make selling it at an auction.
If you decide to keep your vehicle rather than give it to your insurer, you can then sell it yourself. This will involve finding the right buyer and getting enough people to see it. Posting on websites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist is one way to get the right people to find your car.
Private sales can result in a profit if you find the right buyer. However, this process might take a lot of time, especially if you are waiting for the right offer and are scheduling to meet different potential buyers.
Online Car Buying Companies
An alternative to private selling is using an online car buying company. Compared to selling through the private market, selling online is fast and easy. Selling through an online car buying company will allow you to get your car in front of hundreds of potential buyers and compare quotes.
However, it is important that you properly vet the company first. You must be sure that the company is reliable and legitimate before agreeing to sell your car through them. Checking reviews is an effective way to determine if a company is credible.
Options If You Are Uninsured
Even without car insurance, you still have options for your damaged or totaled car. If the necessary repairs are way over your budget, selling your vehicle will be your best option financially. However, without an auto insurer, you will have to find another buyer on your own. Fortunately, a non-insured driver can still sell their car through either the private market or an online car buying company.