Why Your Car May Not be Worth the Full Kelley Blue Book Value

April 19, 2023

If you’re still using the full Kelley Blue Book values to price your vehicle after a car accident, you’re probably missing the diminished value impact on your car’s value after it’s been in an accident.

Now that your car’s been in an accident you can’t estimate what you could sell it for by using the excellent or very good Kelley Blue Book values. Those values won’t take into consideration your car’s diminished value – the fact that when potential buyers of your vehicle learn about your vehicle’s accident history, they’re going to offer you a lot less than what they would be willing to pay for a similar vehicle without an accident history.

DVCHECK can help you if you’re in this situation. We’re nationwide diminished value appraisers and a leading provider of diminished value reports that can help you document, demand, negotiate, and recover automobile diminished value after a car accident. We also have a large following of consumers and attorneys who follow our diminished value blog to keep up with the latest industry trends.

Many factors can impact your car’s market value including age, trim level, options, mileage, geographic location, whether a car is owned by a private party or as part of a rental car fleet, the number of previous owners, maintenance history, condition, and accident history.

There’s no such thing as a perfect repair

A vehicle that has been repaired after an accident will never be the same as it was before it was hit – even if the repairs look outstanding.

While collision shops try to repair vehicles to industry standards, those standards are not always equal to factory built standards.

When a vehicle is made in a factory, robots are used to laser weld panels together and entire vehicle structures are dipped into a bath of anti-corrosion coatings. That process can’t be replicated in a body shop where plug, mig, and tig welds are used to put a vehicle back together after an accident and corrosion protection is manually applied and may not reach inner panels and cavities.

As a result, a repaired vehicle may never have the same structural integrity or be as resistant to rusting as a vehicle that has never been in an accident.

Repair shop welds generate a lot more heat than the laser welding process does at the factory. The excess heat weakens high strength metals and changes their properties and performance. These welds won’t look as good as the factory welds and a trained eye can spot the difference.

All of the above are reasons why an accident history permanently changes a vehicle’s condition rating. A vehicle that is well cared for without an accident history can be rated in excellent condition. Once this same vehicle is involved in an accident, the condition rating will change to a lower category and this will negatively affect the value.

Potential buyers of your car will demand a discount to address their concerns

Your car’s accident history also raises concerns such as:

1. Is the vehicle safe and will it perform as designed in a future accident?
2. Will it need expensive repairs in the future?
3. Does the vehicle have missing damage that was never repaired?
4. Will they have difficulty selling it someday?

As a result, a vehicle with an accident history will be less desirable and will attract a smaller pool of potential buyers. This will drive down the value of your vehicle below the Kelley Blue Book value.

Your diminished value impact after an accident is simply the discount that a buyer would demand in order to encourage them to buy your vehicle instead of a similar vehicle without an accident history.

You’ve suffered a real loss and there is something you can do about it.

Obtain a diminished value appraisal report and demand payment for your lost value from the insurance company representing the at-fault driver. Contact us at (850) 201-1950 with your questions.