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Can I Sell My Car with an Open Insurance Claim?

Jeff Varcadipane

May 17, 2022

If your car has been damaged in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may feel the need to move forward by selling your vehicle prior to the insurance claim being finalized. The costs you’re experiencing can put an immense financial strain on you, and selling may seem like your best option. It is important to take careful stock of your exact situation before doing so. If you are facing a conundrum of this kind, our experienced New Jersey insurance attorneys can help make the right decision for you in your unique situation. 

Your Vehicle

If you own your vehicle outright – with no loan payments pending – your car is yours to sell at any time, and the fact that you have an auto insurance claim pending has no bearing on this fact. This said, however, selling your car before your car insurance claim is finalized can seriously complicate the claims process. Further, if you are still paying off a car loan, the responsibility for paying off that loan remains yours. 

Your Car Insurance Claim

The optimal time to sell your car is after all of the following have transpired:

  • The extent of your damage is determined.
  • The other driver’s negligence is determined. 
  • Your claim is finalized, and you have received your settlement or court award. 

Because your personal recovery and your financial recovery can both hinge on how your insurance claim is resolved, it is almost certainly in your best interest to hold off on selling your vehicle until the matter is closed. 

Your Car’s Value

If you sell your car before the insurance claim is finalized, it’s likely to be worth considerably less than it would be if you’d had it repaired. Even if this is not the case, however, the fact of the accident can reduce your car’s value. In terms of getting the best return on your car’s sale, waiting until your car insurance claim is finalized is generally the best path forward. 

The Insurance Company’s Stance

The insurance company is in the business of turning a profit, which translates to settling claims for as little as possible (although there are laws in place that require insurance companies to settle claims like yours in good faith). If you no longer own the car in question, it can significantly decrease the value of your claim because the insurance company no longer has anything to base the amount of damage to your car on. 

Further, your car could hold valuable information about the other driver’s fault in the accident that leaves you injured. All told, selling your car prior to your insurance claim being finalized can decrease your claim’s overall value, can complicate the claim’s process, and could affect whether your personal injury claim ultimately settles in your favor.

An Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Attorney Can Help

The New Jersey car accident attorneys at Varcadipane & Pinnisi, PC, have the experience and legal savvy to help guide your car accident claim toward its most advantageous outcome while helping you make the right decisions along the way. Learn more by giving us a call at 201-588-1500 or contacting us today.

 

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