by Cash Auto Salvage
We’ve all seen cars on the back of flatbeds that are dented, dinged, or completed crippled. A lot of the time, these cars are headed to junk car heaven, destined for the crusher once the insurance claim goes through. Other times, the cars will be repaired, and eventually put back on the road. In either case, the owner has to make a decision: fork over the money to get it fixed, or try to make some money by selling it to a private party or junk yard.
After a collision or accident, it can be hard to tell if you should junk your vehicle or spend the money to fix it. Sometimes the decision is made for you: your insurance company declares it a total loss, and it isn’t worth the hassle of repairing the car and then trying to find a company that will insure it. In other cases, you’re stuck in a gray area: the car is physically damaged, but still runs like a top. In this case you’ve got to decide whether it’s worth it to you to bring your car to a body shop and pay for replacement parts, or alternatively, put it up for sale or send it to a parts yard.
Deciding the fate of your vehicle may seem like a lofty and potentially expensive decision, but in the end, what to do with your car comes down to a few basic factors:
- Year/Make/Model – As any car owner or enthusiast knows, the year, make, and model of a car matter, and this is especially true after an accident. The age of your vehicle plays a heavy role in its resale value, and after a collision, the amount you can receive from an insurance claim is determined by the average market value of similar vehicles. While cash for car companies are typically buying vehicles for the scrap weight, many will pay up on late model vehicles, simply because they will be able to salvage and refurbish any usable parts, and then recycle the remaining materials.
- Damage – What kind of accident and what is damaged is probably the most important factor of these three, simply because it directly influences the cost to repair and the salvage value of the car. For example, if you are involved in a front-end collision, the potential damage to the engine, radiator, and various reservoirs can greatly depreciate your vehicle’s parts value. While body damage or a minor fender bender isn’t any less serious, the vehicle most likely will retain most of its parts value, which means more for you if you decide to sell.
- Cost to Repair – As mentioned, this factor is closely related to the damage inflicted on your car, but it is also influenced by the year, make, and model of your vehicle. The availability (or lack thereof) of replacement parts for your car can significantly drive up the price, especially if you have an older vehicle. Generally, if the cost to repair your vehicle exceeds the market value, your insurance company will declare it a total loss and issue you a settlement check for close to the value of the car.
After taking these factors into mind, you may have a lot of information to sort through. No doubt life after an accident can be extra stressful, so determining the right course of action for your car—and your bank account—can be tricky. The list below is meant to provide you with a quick reference, but remember that everyone’s situation is different, and it is best to consult a professional to figure out the course of action that fit you and your needs.
Fix it if…
- Your car is newer, meaning less than 10 years old.
- You received body damage that did not damage the engine compartment or radiator
- The resale value after repairs exceeds the repair cost
Junk it if…
- Your insurance company declares it a total loss
- Your car is older than 10 years old
- The repair cost exceeds the overall value
Sell it or part it out:
- Your car is physically damaged, but still runs without issue
- The car does not run, but it still retains some parts value