What Should You Do With An Old Car After An Accident?

Accidents can be stressful and disheartening for many reasons, but what should you do when you already drive a vehicle that isn't worth much? If you were at fault or the accident involved an uninsured driver or hit-and-run, then insurance may not cover the cost of your repairs. In these cases, you may be frustrated to find that you now own a non-functional vehicle with very little value.

Deciding what to do in this situation can be challenging, but there are some steps you can take to simplify this decision process. An excellent way to start is to ask yourself these three questions and use your answers to determine how to proceed.

1. Is the Damage Cosmetic?

If the accident was minor and the damage seems purely cosmetic, then it may be possible to continue to drive your car. Be aware, however, that damage to a vehicle can sometimes be deceptive. Most modern vehicles use a unibody design, which means that seemingly cosmetic panels are crucial structural components.

Before deciding that you can continue to drive a vehicle, always have an experienced body shop provide you with an evaluation and estimate of the damage. You may find that hidden structural damage makes the car unsafe to drive. If the vehicle's value is already low, then selling it to a salvage yard will often be the best option to recover some money from it.

2. Will Repairs Exceed Its Value?

Unfortunately, accidents involving older automobiles often result in damage far exceeding the vehicle's resale value. Even when using aftermarket or used parts, labor alone can cost thousands of dollars for severe accident damage. If you're facing an excessively high repair bill, then it's time to start looking at the average value of similar vehicles in your local used car market.

When your repairs approach or exceed the value of your car, it's often a good idea to sell your car to a scrapyard. The money you'll receive from the sale can go toward purchasing a new vehicle, allowing you to spend less money out-of-pocket than you would with repairs.

3. Are You Ready to Move On?

It can sometimes feel like the financially responsible move to wring as much life out of a car as possible, but this is rarely the case. Old vehicles have little resale value and tend to have ever-increasing maintenance costs. Spending a significant fraction of an older car's value to repair it may be a costly mistake that can leave you on the hook for expensive future repairs.

Choosing to get cash for junk cars in this situation can give you a financial incentive to move on and get into a newer, safer, and more reliable vehicle.