Is a car worth less after an accident?

If a vehicle has received substantial repairs following an accident, the value of the vehicle is affected regardless of the quality of those repairs. This is the case even if your car was repaired at a dealership with authorised parts, as it will always be valued lower than if it wasn’t accident damaged.

According to data from the Department of Transport, in 2021 alone, there were at least 101,087 road collisions in Great Britain.

If you’ve had a small bump with superficial damage and maybe a panel or two repaired, it’s unlikely to be considered significant and won’t have an effect on the value of the vehicle. If however, your insurer considers the damage to be significant (e.g. it costs more to repair the vehicle than they are prepared to pay for), then it is likely to be treated as an insurance write off, with a condition marker added to the vehicle record. Owners of fleet cars may choose to sell the vehicle as accident damaged, rather than claim for the repairs through their insurer.

Illustration of an accident damaged car

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The classification of accident damaged cars

In the UK, insurance companies use categories to identify cars that have been involved in accidents and to grade the severity of the damage. You may be familiar with the term ‘Category D’, which referred to vehicles that can be repaired but are not considered cost-effective to do so by the insurer, but this system was replaced in 2017. The newly established categories are now labelled A,B,S and N and were created with the intention to place more emphasis on the condition of the car rather than the cost of repair.

  • Category A

    If you’ve been involved in a car accident or collision, and your car is determined to be a Category A, then this means it is heavily damaged. Category A cars are considered to be beyond repair and may also be referred to as ‘scrap’ cars, as they must be crushed entirely, including all parts.

  • Category B

    Category B cars are considered to be very badly damaged. Category B cars are also beyond repair, but some parts may be saved, recycled or sold if they are still in working or easily repairable condition. If a car is a Category B, the body shell can’t be salvaged and must be crushed.

  • Category S

    Category S cars may also be called ‘structural cars’, because the structural frames have been damaged in the accident. However, unlike Cat A and B Cars, a Category S car can be repaired and resold, although the vehicle will have depreciated in value.

  • Category N

    This is the current equivalent to a Category D Car. A Category N car is damaged but has not received any damage to the structural frame, unlike Category S. However, it should be noted that although a Cat N car may not have suffered damage to the structure, there may be other damage that could compromise the safety of the car.

How much is a car worth after an accident?

There are many law firms specialising in diminished value, who place the average value loss of an accident-damaged vehicle at around 33%.

At webuyanycar, all vehicles are individually inspected and an adjustment for an accident-damaged vehicle can vary depending upon the age, mileage, make and model of vehicle.

Type of Car Accident Value Loss
Paint scratches, scuffs/scrapes, small dents Low
Lesser collisions (little structural damage, may require replacement panels) Medium
Severe collisions High

How webuyanycar can help you following an accident

Vehicles that have been involved in an accident can be difficult to sell privately, as there is limited interest in buying a vehicle that has been repaired. This is due to the repairs potentially not being carried out to a good standard, and buyers of previously damaged cars may have to account for further repairs or issues.

Regardless of the condition of your car, webuyanycar are here to help you sell your car. You can get a quick, convenient and free car valuation in less than 30 seconds. Our car valuation calculator is highly intuitive and only requires your vehicle’s registration number, along with some simple details, such as your car’s mileage, condition and service history. When selling a car that has been involved in an accident and to determine its worth, simply click on the ‘make changes & add damage’ button to include details as to what damage your car has received. We combine the information provided, along with data on the market value of your vehicle, current market demand for your vehicle and seasonality, to offer you a competitive car valuation.

We’ve even produced a fantastic walk-through video that shows just how simple it is to get a car valuation with our easy-to-use valuation tools. Webuyanycar makes finding out how much your car is worth a quick and stress-free experience, so what are you waiting for?

Frequently Asked Questions

It may be worth having minor scratches and scuffs repaired to improve the appearance and saleability of your vehicle.

In the case of more severe damage, where the repair costs exceed the car’s value, your car will be written off – and you will receive a settlement from your insurer. You can choose to buy the car and repair it, providing it is not Category A or B.

However, this is likely not worthwhile, unless the car is of great sentimental value to you. If not, selling your car to a buying service such as webuyanycar would be the better option.

Insurance companies will always assess whether it is economically viable to pay for the repair costs. If these costs exceed 50-60% of the car’s pre-accident value, it will almost always be written off, regardless of whether the vehicle still runs.

Once a mechanic has determined that your car is unsafe to drive, the garage will usually provide you with a courtesy car by the next working day, so that you are able to meet any travel commitments whilst your vehicle is being repaired.

The depreciation depends upon a few factors, including the severity of the damage. Minor scratches don’t cause depreciation, but extensive damage can cause a vehicle to lose much, if not all of its pre-accident value.

Yes, we do buy damaged cars and those requiring repairs. However, we advise customers to declare any faults and damage, as these may affect your vehicle’s final valuation.

Skilled mechanics can often make minor scratches and dents imperceptible. However, when the damage is more severe, although mechanics may be able to affect quality cosmetic and functional repairs, the vehicle’s performance and safety may not match its pre-accident state.

You may wish to scrap your car through a car buying service such as webuyanycar - or at an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). Or, if your car is of high sentimental value, you may consider taking it to a reputable garage to restore it to good working order.

The value of a wrecked car will diminish significantly. Even if it is repaired to a high standard, it will still be worth less than an equivalent undamaged car. Remember, the usual mileage and age-related deprecation will also apply on top of the value lost to damage.

Yes, you need to do this to ensure the buyer can make an informed decision. If this isn’t declared, the seller could find themselves committing an offence under The Consumer Protection (Amendment) from Unfair Trading Regulations, or in breach of a contract.