How an Accident Affects the Value of Your Car

Traffic accident - one driver on the mobile phone, second expressing anger


The light turns green, and you hit the gas, ready to get to your destination and glad to be cleared to go. Yet you are taken by surprise when another driver unexpectedly rams into the side of your car, smashing in the side of the body and sending you into a tailspin that can cause even more damage.

Just like that, your pretty little car is demolished beyond recognition. Just like that, the value of your car has plummeted.

It may be obvious that when your car it totaled in a scenario like that one, the value of your car will drop. Yet you may not think that your car’s value will be affected if you are in a minor fender bender, like someone rear ending you at a stop sign or someone just catching your front end when they try to make a turn when they really don’t have the clearance.

Even with minor damage, your car’s value can be lowered. If they aren’t repaired, dents and scratches can make your car look old and unattractive. Even if you get the best auto body repair in Cincinnati and the car is restored to look like new, the damage can weaken the structural integrity of the car. 

When you sell or trade in your car, the dealership will run a vehicle history report using your car’s VIN. If you filed a police report or a claim with your insurance, it will show up on the report. Any damage can lower the value of your car. Just how much the value is lowered depends on a number of things.

Type of Damage

Surface damage will have the least impact on your car’s value. This includes scratches and small dents that affect only bumpers or panels. Damage that affects structural elements of the car will have a bigger impact on the value. Damage that affects the engine, transmission or other mechanical components will have the most impact on the value.

Even if you don’t report your accident or file an insurance claim for the damage, structural and mechanical damages will show up in an inspection and you’ll get a smaller offer on the trade in or sale.

Quality of the Repairs

Of course, the quality of the repairs has a big impact on the value of your car. By getting the best auto body repair in Cincinnati, you can preserve more of your car’s value. The repairs should be done to factory specifications using factory parts wherever possible. The repairs should be seamless. Any person who looks at the car should not be able to identify where repairs have been made. The repairs should also protect the structural integrity of the car or restore it where possible.

Typically, your insurance company will identify body shops that it approves for making the repairs. McCluskey Chevrolet is proud to be a preferred auto body repair shop for many insurance companies, and it is thanks to our consistent quality workmanship. We have a reputation for providing some of the best repairs in Cincinnati.

Age and Make of Car

If your car has suffered minor damage, it may retain more of its value if it is a relatively new car or is a popular model. The value of having low mileage or being in demand will partially outweigh the loss of value from the damages. 

Dealers will pay you more even if the car has been damaged because they know that the car still has many more miles left in it and that buyers have more interest. They will expect to sell the car faster and for more money, so they will pass along some that value to you.

Again, just how much of the value you can expect to retain depends on the exact model of your car and its exact age. There is no special formula. Numerous factors are taken into account when evaluating the worth of your car and how the damage affects it.

Recovering Value

There are a few things you can do to recover some of the diminished value of your car after an accident. Choosing the best auto body repair in Cincinnati is one of the best things you can do since it ensures high-quality work that can restore the appearance of your car and protect its performance for many more years. 

You may also have some recourse with your insurance company. Most insurance companies will write you a check for the cost of the repairs to restore the condition of your car. However, they don’t include the loss of your car’s value in their estimate. That is a mistake since your car could lose thousands of dollars in value after an accident. 

The loss is even greater if your car was totaled because the insurance company has to issue you a salvage title. Even if you pay to have your car repaired yourself, you will always have that salvage title, and you will always suffer that lost value.

You can negotiate with your insurance company for that loss in value. If the agent is reluctant to agree, you can consult with an attorney. You may be able to sue for that value. This may seem like an extreme step to take, but when you’re talking about thousands of dollars, it could be worth it. 


McCluskey Chevrolet is proud to have earned a reputation for providing the best auto body repair in Cincinnati. We work on all makes and models of vehicles, and we perform all types of repairs. Whether you have been in a parking lot fender bender or were in a major accident, we can help to restore your car. With the high quality of work we do, we’ll help you to retain more of your car’s value. Not only will your car look as good as new, but it will also run great. We work with all kinds of insurance companies, so call us today to get your car looking like new after your accident.