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What does that all mean? There are literally millions of damaged cars driving on the road today, and yours may be one of them.

If your insurance doesn’t cover part or any of the vehicle damage, you might choose to keep driving it as it is. For some drivers, there’s little incentive to fix their vehicle if it’s still drivable. That’s fine, as long as it’s safe, right?

Depreciated Value

A damaged car isn’t worth the same as it was pre-collision or accident, obviously. Whether your vehicle has a rebuilt title or not, you’d never be able to demand the same price for your damaged car as one that has a clean title and no damage. It would be insane to expect it. Vehicle damage causes substantial depreciation. It could be:

  • 15 to 50% of your car’s Kelley Blue Book Value if you have a clean title.

  • 50 to 90% of your car’s value if it’s salvage or rebuilt.

The diminished amount is subjective and depends heavily on a bunch of factors. They include the condition your car was in before the loss, how extensive the damage is, whether the accident was reported on the title, and even how well it was repaired.

But what happens if your already-damaged car gets into yet another accident? What happens to the value?

How an Accident Affects a Damaged Car

car taken by tow truckJust when you thought your car’s value wouldn’t fall any lower… If you are driving a car with damage on it and get into an accident, it will affect the value further. You may be at fault or you might not have any blame in it at all. The fact remains that the additional damage will cause your car to depreciate even further.

How Much Will My Car Value Diminish?

Because the amount of damage before the accident, as well as the damage incurred during the collision, are both unique, it’s extremely tough to pin down its total depreciation. Your best bet isn’t to look at it like it’s been in two accidents, but in a single collision.

Imagine this scenario: You bought your car for $10,000 last year. Promptly, you were in a front-end collision that was your fault and decided not to file an insurance claim. Sometimes your driver’s license cost and insurance premiums will be cost prohibitive by filing a claim, right? Anyway, with about $4,000 in damage, your car’s diminished value is $6,000. Months later, your car is rear-ended but you’ve opted out of collision insurance. A new bumper and trunk lid would be around $2,400 including paint but you don’t have the cash to pay for it.

Your car would be worth $3,600, right? Well, not exactly. Aside from the actual cost of repairs, your car is much less desirable to buyers when it looks like it’s been used in a demolition derby. It could be worth just hundreds of dollars, not the $3,600 you expect.

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What If I Have Insurance?

If your damaged car now has insurance, it might or might not be worth it to file a claim. Factor in whose fault the accident was. If it’s your fault, try to calculate the effect it will have on your licensing and insurance costs over the next few years. If the accident is less than a few thousand dollars and your car already has diminished value, it might not be worthwhile financially to file a claim.

What to Do with a Damaged Car After a Collision

Odds are pretty high that you shouldn’t be driving your car if it’s been in two accidents and hasn’t been repaired. There can be safety issues. Your best bet is to recoup as much value as you can from your damaged car and look for something else to drive. But who buys damaged cars?

You can sell your car privately, although it’s a challenge to find serious buyers that won’t waste your time or grind you down on price. You could try to trade it in at the dealership toward the next car you’ll purchase, but the trade-in value will be next to nothing. Or, you could drag it to the junkyard to receive cash for its weight in scrap steel.

Before you do any of those options, get a free, no-obligation guaranteed offer for your less-than-perfect car from Simply fill out your vehicle details on the website and you’ll receive a fair guaranteed offer that’s valid for seven days. Once you accept the offer, you’ll be paid within a couple days and your car will be picked up shortly after. It’s the easy way to sell your damaged car for cash, and fast.