Repair, Drive, Or Sell – Which Option Is Best Following An Accident?

Posted on: 12 August 2021


Automotive accidents come in all shapes and sizes. Severe accidents may leave your car as a wrecked mass of steel, while the impact of a minor accident might be challenging to notice except under close inspection. While any accident you can walk away from is lucky, the ones that fall between these two extremes can leave you with some difficult choices.

When your vehicle suffers enough damage to require significant repairs but not enough damage to result in a total loss, you usually have three options: keep driving it, repair the damage, or attempt to sell it without repairs. In almost all circumstances, repairing your car is the best option. Keep reading to learn why this is usually the case.

The Dangers of Driving a Car After an Accident

Auto body damage can often be deceiving, especially with modern unibody vehicles. Older body-on-frame cars had a clear separation between structural and cosmetic elements, so body damage without frame damage usually wasn't much of a concern. However, nearly every vehicle sold today uses unibody construction. With this design, seemingly cosmetic body panels act as critical structural elements.

As a result, it's nearly impossible to tell at a glance if a unibody vehicle has frame damage. Driving a car with structural damage can lead to unsafe handling characteristics, rapid wear on tires or suspension components, and many other issues. At a minimum, you should never drive a car following an accident without a thorough evaluation by a skilled accident repair shop.

The Costs of Selling Without Repairs

Another option if you want to avoid repairs is selling your damaged vehicle. This approach might be particularly appealing if you own your car outright and want to take the cash from your insurance settlement. While nothing is stopping you from selling your vehicle as-is, there are some notable downsides worth considering.

In addition to the challenges of finding a buyer for a damaged car, you'll usually end up taking less than the difference between the original value and your repair settlement. Buyers may want to see an estimate, and they may expect you to reduce your price by that amount or more. Selling without repairs typically only makes sense if your car was already worth very little before the accident.

The Advantages of Repairing

Repairing your car is almost always the safest and most cost-effective option following an accident. Even if you intend to sell your vehicle, a quality repair can help to restore its value and ensure that you receive the best possible offers. If you're going to continue driving your car, working with an auto accident repair shop is the only way to guarantee that it will remain safe and roadworthy.

Although it might be tempting to take your insurance settlement money for yourself, repairing your car nearly always offers more benefits over the long term.