I do not know how reliable Carfax is. The last car I bought showed a clean carfax, but it is very evident that the left passenger door has been replaced and the drivers door has been reskinned. It is still a good car, and I noticed the repairs before I bought it. It was generally in better condition with lower miles than other similar cars, and the repair was well done. I do not think it had any effect on the price.
Jon what you are referring to is known as diminished value. Depending on the laws in the state where the repairs are done determines if the insurance company will even recognize diminished value. The insurance company stance is that if the shop returns the car to pre-accident condition there is no diminished value, but now that CarFax is here that changes everything.. Not all insurance companies report to CarFax so not every repair is logged. Plus if a person pays to fix the car out of their own pocket it will never show up on CarFax so it is very possible to have a "clean" CarFax but a repaired vehicle. Hope this helps.
A friend bought a new truck this summer. In the process of the dealership getting it ready for him they dropped it off the hoist. Rocker panel and door damage. He said he didn't want it, not new anymore. They said we will fix it, it's yours buddy, too late. Bill
The question is a very good one and vehicle devaluation is very real in the insurance world these days. Of course, the consumer has to do all the work.
Our son waited nine weeks for a new $53,000 2013 Audi A6 Premium Platinum (or something) edition in a $750 extra-cost color. He took delivery at 10:00 one Friday morning in October of last year and at 7:00 that evening, another driver made an illegal turn in front of him and the right front corner of his car was damaged.
The repairs weren't real extensive but a flat piece of extruded aluminum that supports the fender and is welded to the forward frame rail was bent. That the part is welded to the frame makes it part of the frame and legally, that means the car has had frame damage and that portion of the repair was noted on the repair appraisal as such.
I told him that most dealership sales managers check every potential trade-in for a clean CarFax before placing a value on it and that meant that whenever he replaced that Audi, he was going to receive a lesser trade value for it. The same thing would happen if he sold it privately and the buyer checked its CarFax history. He contacted the insurance carrier paying for the repairs about vehicle devaluation and was told to let them know how much of a loss he incurred.
His wife is a claims adjuster for an insurance brokerage and told him that there is a firm they use just for that purpose. She checked with them and learned that they only provide their services to insurance companies, not private parties. She didn't want to risk losing her job by telling them that one of the insurance companies her employer represents needed the information so our son went to speak with his agent.
He basically learned that no insurance company will willingly come to the bargaining table on this issue but will accept or reject a value placed on the damage by the vehicle owner without making a counteroffer if it rejects the owner's offered amount. The Audi dealership told him that they really didn't know how much it would affect the car and that they will only take one like that in trade if the owner agrees to accept whatever amount it brings at an auction because they don't resell any vehicles that have crash history unless it was very minor and "frame damage," regardless of what it was, never sounds "minor." I work as a part-time driver for Enterprise Car Sales and our regional manager told me that they just politely decline to take such cars in trade, so he had no clue how much the car's value was affected. Obviously, the newer the car was when replaced, the higher the devaluation would be.
Eventually, almost a year later and after being presented with several "offers" from our son, the insurance company paid him $7,500, so diminished value is nothing to be taken lightly.