How to Calculate the Depreciation on a Car in an Accident

After a car accident, it's unlikely that you'll receive your vehicle's true market value when you sell or trade the car to a dealership. The difference in your vehicle's market value and actual resale value after an accident is known as the diminished value. Most insurance companies don't pay for the excess depreciation of the car after repairs. If the person or dealer you're selling to doesn't research your vehicle's history and the repairs aren't noticeable, you might not receive a lesser value for your car sale.

Step 1

Appraise your vehicle's private resale value, or trade-in value if you plan to trade to a dealer, at the Nada Guides website, Edmunds.com and the Kelley Blue Book website. Input your vehicle's year, make, model and features. Choose a condition that accurately reflects the condition of your vehicle before your accident.

Step 2

Calculate a median of the three values by adding all three together and dividing the result by three. Appraisal guides offer different figures, so obtaining a median value provides a fair estimate.

Step 3

Compare your car's original value with each appraisal guide's fair or poor rating to determine your depreciation. If you had a brand-new vehicle in excellent condition, you'll likely see a larger drop in value. Older cars with high mileage or those in poor mechanical and body condition before an accident might not show a loss in value at all.

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