Getting into a car accident is emotionally and physically draining. Your first concern will be to make sure that no one has sustained any injuries. But what about your car? If it has been damaged, you have to decide what to do. Should you fix it? Should you sell it? You do have options.
Be Prepared Before an Accident
Naturally, you should have car insurance before you drive your car. This is a given. However, not all automobile insurance is created equal. You should understand the specifics of your policy:
- Do you have collision or comprehensive coverage?
- Do you have gap insurance?
- What is your deductible?
There are also other smaller details to understand about your insurance like whether or not it covers a rental car after an accident. Familiarize yourself with your coverage and speak to your insurance provider should you need any clarifications.
Fix it or Not?
You will need to consider many factors before making a decision about whether or not to fix your car after an accident. Many of these decisions will hinge on the extent of the damage. A broken headlight or a damaged bumper are relatively inexpensive to fix. Whereas suspension, frame, or mechanical damages are very costly. Other factors that are important to consider are:
- Do you own the car outright or are you still making payments?
- How old is the car?
- How much will the repairs cost?
You don’t want to get into a situation where you owe more than your car is worth. If you do decide to repair your car and restore it to its pre-accident shape, you can enjoy the benefits of driving around in your newly repaired car. However, if and when the time comes that you do want to sell it, it could be worth less than a similar model that has not been involved in an accident.
There is a comprehensive database for vehicle history called CARFAX. It provides buyers with a lot of information about a car like odometer readings and car histories. Not all accidents are included in this database, such as situations where an accident is never reported to an insurance company or police officer. If you fall into this category, you don’t have to worry about a potential buyer learning of your prior accident in an online database. But then again, do you really want to be less than honest with a potential buyer? This is a personal decision but one that does come with consequences. For instance, should you decide not to tell someone buying your car that it was in an accident, this information could become known to them at a later date and come back to haunt you.
Sell Your Car?
What do you need to think about before trying to sell your damaged car? The first question you will probably ask yourself is: “What is my car worth”? If your car was damaged severely in the accident, you are probably wondering who would want to buy a car that to you now is a pile of junk. How nice it would be if you looked online and found a company that says: “we buy junk cars”. You are in luck because you can find out how much money you can sell your car for by simply providing information about your vehicle and your location.
Deciding to sell your damaged vehicle on your own can be risky. Potential buyers will have a lot of questions and doubts and want to be sure to protect themselves. You might decide to avoid headaches and liabilities and leave the selling part up to the professionals.
Whose Fault is it?
Insurance companies handle accident claims differently depending upon who is determined to be at fault for the accident. If it is determined that the other driver is at fault, his or her insurance company will be responsible for paying for your car repairs.
Do Your Own Repairs
If you or someone you know has the skills necessary to make repairs on your vehicle, this is also an option to consider. This option is best-suited for minor repairs.
There is no getting away from the fact that being involved in a car accident will be stressful. However, by knowing what options are available, you can save yourself a lot of aggravation.