Whether your car was totaled or you need a fresh start, purchasing a replacement vehicle after a car accident can be an exciting challenge. It is common to feel some thrill at purchasing a different vehicle than the one you are used to driving. However, getting the best deal can be difficult.

Fortunately, purchasing a replacement vehicle after an Alabama car accident at a price you can afford is possible when you use a few simple strategies.

Buying a Replacement Car After a Wreck

Know the Value of What You Are Trading In

If your vehicle is totaled, one of two situations is true. First, you may have the totaled vehicle in your possession. The other scenario is that you have a check from the insurance company. 

Either the totaled car or your insurance check can serve as a down payment on your replacement vehicle — as long as you know how to value your totaled car properly. This starts with avoiding the mistake of assuming a totaled car has no value.

The insurance company will use the actual cash value of your car when deciding how big of a settlement check to give you. This is the insurer’s opinion of what your car was worth immediately before the accident, and this value takes into account your car’s age, wear and tear, and depreciation. It will almost always be less than what you paid for the car.

If you trade in your vehicle, the dealership may use the actual cash value number or other measure. When the dealer gives you an offer on your trade-in, ask how the trade-in value was calculated.

You do not have to accept the actual cash value or any other number reflecting your car’s worth at face value. You can hire your own appraiser to view your car and determine a fair value. You can also consult reputable online resources that suggest a different value for your vehicle.

Determine What Vehicle You Need

Whether you still possess your totaled car or have the settlement check from the insurer, the next step is to determine the type of car you want to buy. You’ll want to consider which factors are most important to you, such as the prospective vehicle’s:

  • Style
  • Make and model
  • Price
  • Features

The dealer selling the vehicle may also be a key consideration for you. Knowing what you value in a replacement vehicle can help narrow your search. 

Be realistic about what you need and what you can afford. Your totaled vehicle is not likely worth a brand-new luxury car. Know your monthly payment and the corresponding total value. It can also be helpful to know your credit score and the sort of rates you can expect if you need to finance a newer vehicle.

Finally, use both online and in-person resources to learn what a fair value of your intended car would be. By checking a variety of sources, you are more likely to come to an accurate conclusion and avoid overpaying for your replacement vehicle.

Decide Whether You Want a New or Used Vehicle

Deciding whether to buy a new vehicle or a used vehicle is a choice that comes with advantages and disadvantages on both sides. A new vehicle is exciting, and you can benefit from warranties for the car and its parts for a certain number of years or miles. The dealer may also offer promotions for a new car, such as a lower finance rate.

However, newer cars depreciate in value quickly once you drive them off of the lot. Moreover, any financing offers are not likely to be significantly better than ones you can get from banks, especially if you have good credit.

Gently used cars are generally just as reliable as newer vehicles and come at a much lower price point. Moreover, they may still have a considerable amount of time or miles left on the original dealer warranty. However, older used vehicles may come with no warranty at all.

Ultimately, the best value when choosing between a new or used vehicle comes down to your personal needs.

Negotiate a Fair Price With the Dealer

Once you know the type of car you need and what a fair price for it looks like, you are ready to visit the dealer’s lot. There are two cardinal rules to follow when it comes to buying a car. 

First, the price you see on the vehicle is negotiable. Second, never negotiate the monthly payment with the dealer. Instead, always negotiate the car’s total price.

Other points to keep in mind when buying a car from a dealer include:

  • You can often get a better rate by going with your own bank
  • Ask to test drive the car and have a trusted mechanic evaluate it before you buy
  • Consider declining any additional coverages or packages the dealer offers
  • Make sure the sale price you agree to is the price reflected on the contract

Remember that you may have more bargaining power than you believe on the dealer’s lot. When you come prepared with research, you will be better able to negotiate a price that’s fair to both you and the dealer.

Are You an Auto Dealer? AlaWreck Wants to Speak With You

If you are an Alabama auto dealer dedicated to quality service, consider partnering with AlaWreck. As a valuable AlaWreck partner, you can be connected to Alabama car accident victims in need of new or used replacement vehicles. Contact us to learn more about becoming a service partner with AlaWreck or fill out the form today.

Connect With AlaWreck After an Alabama Car Accident

AlaWreck takes pride in empowering Alabama residents with the resources they need to take charge after an accident. Some of the tools we offer include:

Our knowledgeable team can provide you with the support you need to move forward after your accident. Contact us to learn more about our services today.

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