Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Assessment of Car value after rear end collision

My car was rear ended yesterday. It is a 2005 Toyota Prius with 89k miles on it in a very good condition prior to collision. Rear end looks pretty bad after collision. I uploaded pictures. Insurance company is planning on providing an appraisal. Do you think the insurance company ends up paying a trade in value for the car instead of paying for the damages? If they offer a trade in value, what stratagies do you suggest to get more value for my car?

Look into filing a “diminished value” claim with the insurance company, in addition to any repair the insurance will cover. Will cost you about $100 for an independent assessment, but the return can be significant.

Thank you. Who does the individual assessment? Is there a specific name for such services?

Google “Diminished Value Appraisals” in your local area.

Search “car value” and you will find car value sites like Kelly Blue Book, NADA and Edmunds to estimate the value of your car. You car compare trade in value with private party value.

On an older vehicle quarter panel damage repair can exceed the value of the vehicle, don’t be surprised if this car is “totaled”.

If you had a $60,000 luxury car diminished value would be a serious consideration however with a vehicle valued at $3,000 to $5,000 it seems like a waste of time.

1 Like

Your insurance is there to make you “whole” again after an accident. Since you obviously pay retail value when you buy a car, not trade-in value, they should pay you retail for the value of the car. Look up the retail value, not trade-in or private sale prices at all 3 of the biggies; Edmunds, KBB and NADA. That will give you a good idea of what you’d have to pay to replace exactly your car - a nice Prius with 89K. Also look up the price on selling sites like CarMax and to see what these cars are going for in your area. If the insurance offers you less money than replacement minus your deductible, of course, politely share what you’ve found on the websites. You should be able to negotiate a reasonable deal with all the right data.


total probably. i would drive that car.
new bumper cover and bam! there you go.
my accord has that type damage. dont look under my bumper cover

want to sell it?

Mustangman’s answer reflects my experience. This first happened to my in 1963, when I totaled my Porsche. (It really was totaled.) My insurance company offered a payment, but I had done some research and knew the retail value was higher. So I told them that. Took them another week, but they came up with a reasonable payment. These days, the insurance companies already know exactly how much your car is worth in both the wholesale and retail markets. I was rear ended recently in my Prius (not nearly as bad as yours). The other driver’s insurance company didn’t even blink at paying full cost to repair. I think they feel it’s not worth their time (= money) to argue over a few thousand dollars. I suspect they’re more concerned about the personal injury cases.

Thank you, all for your inputs. Insurance provided me with a rental car today. I am waiting for the Appraisal now. I will update how that goes.

Is it a lease car? our lease car got rear ended, fixed, no diminished value on the lease, but certainly a diminished value on the car if you own it.

Good advice above. Here’s something else to consider if the insurance company totals it. Normally then they’d pay you an amount considered enough for you to buy another similar vehicle on the used car market. And they’d keep what used to be your car, for themselves; after which they’d sell it to somebody who’d either fix it or more likely sell it for the parts, which might bring in even more than they paid you. But you can usually buy the car from them if you want. Then you could sell the parts, or have it fixed, or fix it yourself. The insurance companies want to keep on your good side, plus they know you may hold an emotional attachment to the car so they usually price it so it is a pretty good deal to you, if you want to keep it. The downside is that it will be flagged as a wrecked & totaled car. This means you may have to jump through some hoops to get it back on the road, registered and insured, in the event you decide to fix it.

I hear wells fargo got nailed for charging gap insurance, after reading some stuff here I bought it for our lease car, really cheap, $5 a month I think.

The insurance company isn’t likely to pay anything for the car unless it’s totaled, and from the look of your picture, I doubt it is totaled. If it’s not totaled, they will pay the cost to repair the damage.

As for what they will pay to compensate you for a totaled car, usually, what they offer is the blue book value of the car before it was totaled, minus your deductible if you have one. In other words, they’ll offer what would be reimbursement to replace your car with one like it that is undamaged.

If you have gap insurance, and you owe more than it’s worth, that can be another source of reimbursement, but if not, I think the best thing you can hope for is that it’s not totaled, so you can get it fixed and keep driving it.

Depends on the insurance company. Body shop people will tell you the good and not so good companies. When my son’s motorcycle was totaled the insurance company offered him $50 more than he paid for it. When my 2 year old F-150 was in a collision the same insurance company told me they wanted to total it because the frame was bent. I agreed and when they told me how much they would pay me I also agreed to that amount.

This is true. When I managed a body shop we had signs posted that we would not work on cars covered by ___________ (name of insurance company). They were bad for the shop and the customers.

Getting car insurance should be about more than the lowest premiums. You never know when you’ll actually have to make a claim.

Some companies were so cheap (not in the good meaning of the word) that they’d cut corners and give us an estimate to work from that left little to no profit for our shop and minimal labor for employees. I told one company to tow out a particular car. We wouldn’t work like that. Even if shops work on those claims the worker attitude suffers which does not promote prompt, quality repairs.

Another guy dropped off his wife’s car after she was in a collision (she was injured, too). The car sat and sat. When I’d call the company to get an adjuster to come out they’d say, "We don’t have any right now."
I called the owner to let him know. He was a State Police Officer and a nice guy. He said he’d handle it. I don’t know what he told them, but an adjuster was out that day! It shouldn’t be that difficult.


My insurance company has a list of approved body shops. They say it is to get professional work done for the customer, and I’m sure the cost structure has been worked out to get on their list, too. I’ve only had one problem (see above), and they worked it out in our favor. Saving the insurer money and not at the expense of professional repairs keeps premiums low, too.

I’m on the fence about this one

From what I can see, I’d say it could easily be $5000 of damage

What does a 2005 Prius in good condition sell for at a dealer?

For reference, my 2005 Camry in good condition was sideswiped several months ago. The left front door, left fender and front bumper were repaired and repainted. A used exterior sideview mirror was installed, and painted to match. The left front alloy rim was refinished, and the car got a steering alignment. It was about $3000 in damages

This Prius is almost certainly going to need more parts thrown at it than my car, and probably more labor involved, as well.

But I agree with @Cavell, in that it should be fine to drive, with a bumper cover and taillight

I realize this is not related to the OP’s problem, but it reminded me about something I sometimes wonder about. Would it be possible to design a car where the right rear fender is exactly the same part as the left front? it seems like that should be possible, you just rotate it around and it fits fine on the other side. Admittedly with some compromise in styling. If they did it that way there’s fewer different body parts needed to be stocked, making the car less expensive to build and easier to find repair parts later. You could obtain a replacement fender from a wrecked car from either position then.

Hahaha, George, it would undermine the industry of disposable stuff :slight_smile:

1 Like

No. It is not a leased car.