Selling an accident car: This is what you should pay attention to!

If you have had an accident with your car, then you may want to buy a new car. However, the old car does not necessarily have to be scrapped, but can be sold either to a private person or to a dealer. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when doing so to avoid being scammed.

Selling a car after an accident

If you sell your car, then you are obliged by law to inform the buyer that the vehicle is an accident car. Accidental defects are specifically when the existing damage is the result of a traffic accident. In addition, the cost of an adequate repair is at least 500 euros. If the costs are less than 500 euros, on the other hand, the damage is minor – in this case there is no legal obligation to inform the potential buyer. The generally minor damage to the bodywork and paintwork does not pose any particular risks in road traffic and can be repaired with relatively little effort.

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The residual value – what is it anyway?

The value of an accident vehicle when it is sold depends on its age, model, mileage, equipment and condition. If it is a car after an accident, a certain amount is again deducted from the value. This is the estimated costs that will have to be paid in the event of repairs. What remains is the residual value. At this price, the car can be sold to a final consumer. If you decide to sell to an (intermediate) dealer, the amount is significantly lower, because the dealer also wants to make a profit on the sale. That alone is perfectly legitimate, because car dealers have both time and financial expenses when handling such an order.

How the residual value is determined

The value of an accident vehicle is best determined by an expert appraiser. This appraiser is usually impartial and will accordingly provide solid arguments as to why a car no longer exceeds a certain selling price. Since the use of an appraiser costs money, many car owners have the value determined by a dealer. At this point, however, a certain amount of caution is called for. After all, dealers have an advantage when the car is sold for a particularly low price – they make significantly more profit on resale. The ones who suffer are the private sellers, who go home with less money than would actually be possible.

In general, various factors play a role in determining the current residual value. First and foremost, the decisive factor is what the car was worth before an accident. The residual value is not only decisive with regard to a sale, but also if benefits are to be claimed via one’s own insurance. The so-called Schwacke list can provide an initial orientation for laypersons to estimate the approximate value of the accident vehicle. However, this value alone is not sufficient. On the one hand, there may be hidden damage that is not visible to the naked eye from the outside. On the other hand, there are regional peculiarities.

If the residual value has been determined by a dealer or appraiser, the car should be sold as quickly as possible. The longer the car stands around unused, the lower the value will be. Standing costs are an aggravating factor.

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How to protect yourself from rip-offs

Not all car dealers are reputable; the same applies to private buyers, of course. As a rule, dealers try to adjust the price of an accident car downward. For this reason, you should never go to a dealer just to get an offer or to determine the residual value. If you want to be on the safe side, an independent appraiser can provide clarity and tell you exactly what the car is still worth on the open market. If you still want to sell directly to dealers and save the cost of an appraiser, you may need a lot of patience.

Do some research on the Internet to compare similar vehicles with your car. Over time, you will get a feel for what price might be reasonable. In addition, you should never accept a dealer’s quoted price outright. It is usually worth your while to try to renegotiate the purchase price. If you have the impression that the buyer is trying to rip you off, get one or more offers from alternative buyers. If a private buyer is interested in the car, you can usually ask for more money. However, you should definitely and explicitly sell the car as an accident vehicle. Only in this way are you legally protected.