Minor car accidents are pretty common, and chances are you’ll get into a few fender benders within your lifetime. Major crashes, however, can cause some serious trauma to both the driver and car, and dealing with the aftermath of them can be tough.
Thankfully, we can help you out. Below are bunch of options you have when deciding how to dispose of your wrecked car after an accident. They are as follows:
Take the money
Keep the car and repair it
Sell your car to junkyard
Keep the car but don’t repair it
Donate the car
Keep the car and sell for salvage
Take the money from insurance
After your car has been totaled, the first thing the insurance company will do is calculate the ACV, or the actual car value of your vehicle. It’s the amount that they will determine your car is worth, and may offer it to you up front if they think your car is too damaged and not worth repairing.
You may be wondering, how do insurance companies even calculate a cars worth? The answer depends on a lot factors that are taken into consideration.
One common misconception that many people is that their car is worth whatever they paid for it initially. That is not the case. Cars lose value overtime for a number of reasons, and chances are your car is not in the same condition as when you purchased it.
Insurance companies look at the mileage on the car, the age, what condition it’s in, and it’s accident history. They will also consider the price of similar cars on the market.
This is a good option to consider if your car has been wrecked beyond repair, or if you’ve had it for many years and the repairs would cost more than what it’s worth.
If you are leasing a car, or have one that’s being financed by a loan, you should definitely consider purchasing a gap insurance. Gap insurance, or Guaranteed Asset Protection, covers the difference between what a vehicle is currently worth and the amount you actually owe on it.
This is a preventative measure that you are highly encouraged to add to your policy when leasing, and it’s fairly inexpensive. It usually only adds about 20 extra dollars a year to your insurance bill.
New Car Replacement
If your car is totaled in an accident, new car replacement coverage will give you money for a brand new car of the same make a model. Unfortunately, however, you cannot have both new car replacement insurance and gap coverage.
This is a good preventative measure to take if you are interested in purchasing pricey luxury cars, as it will provide you with peace of mind in case anything happens.
Keep the car and repair it
If the accident you were in was bad, but your car can still drive on its own, you should consider keeping it and fixing it yourself.
This is a good option to consider if you do not have great car insurance, or are strapped for cash. You would simply not file a claim at all, and make the repairs on your own time and dime.
The downside to this option is that you will definitely end up having to drive around with a few cosmetic damages, but if you’re not the type of person who cares about stuff like that, then it’s no problem.
However, you should consider that if you do intend to fix your car on your own without going through insurance, getting insurance on it later may be difficult. Some companies won’t cover rebuilt cars at all, so you really need to weigh the pros and cons here with the future of the car in mind.
Keep it and don’t repair it
There is no law that says you are absolutely required to repair a car after a wreck. As long as it’s still mechanically safe to drive, you could just decide against it all together.
Fixing cars is undoubtedly expensive. Even a small scratch on the side can cost upwards of 600 dollars, and paint jobs can set you back thousands. Dents and other cosmetic results of a crash may look bad, but if they’re not putting you in danger, you’re fine to just let them be.
The only downside to consider with this option is that if you ever want to sell your car in the future, you will definitely not be able to charge much for it. The more severely damaged a car looks, the less likely you’ll be to find a buyer willing to dish out good money.
Sell the car to your junkyard
Very few people do this option because it’s unlikely that you will get more money from a junkyard compared to whatever your insurance offers, but it’s still an option that exists.
If you are a car fanatic and you’re really interested in the process of buying and selling parts as a hobby, this is the option for you. However, it should be noted that it is not the most financially savvy one out of the bunch.
Donating a totaled car will not directly put any cash in your pocket, but there are plus sides to this option. If you decide to take this route, your car will be towed for free, and you will get a tax deduction the for deflated value.
This is a good option to consider if you can afford to do it, as it is a nice public service that you will get credit for. Also, most services will allow you to choose which charity receives the money from your salvaged auto parts.
Selling your car privately
This option is a difficult one, but not unheard of. Like we stated earlier, if you decide not to repair your car at all after an accident, finding a buyer willing to pay good money might be hard. However, if you do chose this one, there are a few things you should know.
Before listing your car, you should get quotes for all the repair costs and be upfront with the buyer about what they are taking over. Also, when you sell a car privately, you need to transfer the title over to the owner, and you need to figure out if your title has been changed to a salvage title or not.
What is a salvage title?
A salvage titles means your car has officially been declared a total loss by your insurance carrier. This only happens if your vehicle has endured significant damages, and the cost of repairs exceed the value of the car.
This is usually the case for cars that have any fire damage, flooding damage, severe collision damage, or has any missing parts.
This totally depends on the dealership, and what kind of trade in deal they’re willing to make with you. Lots of things factor into this.
You can expect some dealerships to refuse your trade in- they are not required by law to take any cars- but most will consider taking it a low price. It depends on how damaged the car is, and how much they can get out of it from scraps.
If you are interested in trading your wrecked car in with a dealership, you should be in the market for a new car. That is a given when considering this option.
How much can you get for a wrecked car?
Before deciding on which option to take with getting rid of your totaled car, you may be wondering how much you can even expect to get out of it.
Unfortunately, there is no exact scale to figure out how much you will end up getting. However, there are a few factors you can apply to you situation to help you get a ballpark number.
First, you should know that you will definitely not get whatever amount you paid for back. That is a given. The next things you should consider are the make, year and model of the vehicle you have. If it’s a newer car, you will obviously see a higher return from selling, even if it’s damaged.
If the car is pretty old however, you will receive significantly less. You will also need to consider the condition that the car is in after the wreck. If it’s in an undrivable condition, you will be lucky to get a few hundred bucks from it.
If the wreck has only caused cosmetic damages, however, you will be able be get more out of it no matter which option you take.
The option that will provide you with the most amount of profit from a wrecked car is taking the money that insurance will offer you.
Selling privately, selling to a junkyard, or selling your car for scraps, are all riskier options and less lucrative.
What makes a car illegal to drive?
So, let’s say you’ve decided that you can’t afford to lose your car at the moment. Perhaps you’re financially strapped, and insurance money won’t cover the costs of getting a totally new car.
If your car is still drivable, and mechanically okay, but there are severe cosmetic damages, there are a few things you should know before returning the streets.
Dents and scratches can be eyesores but still legal to drive around with. By law, however, a dent on the hood of your car cannot exceed 4 inches of height.
This may come as a surprise, but it is actually illegal to drive around with a damaged bumper or fender. If they are loose or falling off from an accident, they pose a danger to other drivers on the road.
A car’s horn may not cross your mind as something that gets damaged from an accident, but it is required by law that your horn can be heard at least 200 feet from your vehicle. If you are driving around with a broken car horn, you can be fined for upwards of hundreds of dollars.
If your car’s windshield has been cracked during an accident, it can be tricky to figure out what’s a legal amount of damage and what’s not. Unfortunately, there are no laws that specific a certain amount of damage or visibility.
Obviously, you should be able to clearly see the road while operating a motor vehicle. If there is any kind of damage that obstructs your visibility, it will most likely be illegal to drive.
In the state of Illinois, it is up to the police officers to decide if they think a car’s windshield is too damaged to drive or not. So, in this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry by not driving a vehicle if there are any severe cracks.
Every car by law is required to have a working seatbelt. If the seatbelts in your car were damaged during a crash in any way, and are not functioning properly, it is not only illegal to drive it but also incredibly dangerous.
Headlights and Tail Lights
This one may seem obvious as well, but all exterior lights on your car must work in order to legally drive on the road in the state of Illinois and Indiana. Tail lights must be visible to other drivers from 500 feet away. If your lights were damaged in anyway, or aren’t as bright as they should be, you should not be driving that vehicle.
Totaling your car is not an experience anyone hopes to have, but you should be prepared to know what to do if it does happen. You are likely to get the most amount of money by letting your insurance company calculate the AVC, but you do have other options. You can keep the car and repair it yourself, on your own time with your own money, you can keep the car and not repair it, or you can donate it and send the money to a charity.
Selling privately or to a junkyard won’t get you very much money, but they are options if you don’t have insurance for some reason. And also, don’t forget the laws of the road if you decide to drive a car that has any severe damage.