Most people with a love of automobiles have a special fondness for a particular make and model. More times than not, these dream cars are rare “collector’s” items, manufactured decades ago with only a few left on the road. It becomes an obsession of many motorheads to one day be the proud owner of one of the rare specimens still in operation.

It’s important to remember that rare cars are rare for a reason. It’s true many were manufactured in limited number and therefore only a few existed to begin with, but oftentimes the cause for a type of car becoming rare is simply because time takes its toll on all things, motor vehicles included. Owners leave their cars exposed to the elements, they skip scheduled maintenance, and despite trying their best to be safe drivers, car owners are routinely crashing into things (and each other) and totaling their vehicles as a consequence. Before long, one by one, a specific make and model slowly stops being a regular sight on the road.

For the proud owners of rare automobiles to whom proper care and maintenance are a given, the thought of their baby getting into a bad wreck is something they can barely fathom without breaking into a cold sweat. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and they even happen to limited-edition antique automobiles. With this in mind, owners of such cars need to be prepared for what happens after their rare car gets wrecked.

Fight for fair compensation

Assuming everyone in the car is either unscathed or being treated for their injuries, the focus of getting adequate compensation in the aftermath of a bad car crash turns to the vehicle itself. A mint-condition rare automobile is likely valued upwards of $50,000, and while owners of such cars are wise to get a comprehensive insurance policy for this very incident, they’re mistaken if they think the insurance company wants to pay out a sum equaling the true value of the vehicle. It’s time to get lawyers involved.

If you or someone was hurt in the accident, and another party is deemed at-fault, the injury lawyer can also work to get fair compensation for the automobile. San Diego-based Pines Salomon injury lawyers are willing to fight for their clients to receive judgments for property damage done to their vehicles, and most top-flight law firms in other cities will do the same.

Decide if it can be fixed

Depending on the type of accident and the damage done, a rare automobile may still be repairable, even if the insurance company deems it totaled. For those who spent countless years yearning for the day when they could own the vintage car of their dreams, the prospect of resurrecting it in the wake of a bad wreck is an attractive one.

However, it’s important to take a step back and do a cost-benefit analysis before moving forward with a wrecked rare car rehab project. If you decide it’s worth it to do a wrecked rare car rehab, take the time to seek out someone who specializes in working on the type of vehicle in question. This person may be able to tell you plainly whether or not the time and money is worth the trouble.

Determine if its still an original

Philosophers refer to this as the Ship of Theseus thought experiment; if a sailing vessel is, over the years, replaced plank by plank to the point where one day no original component is left, is it now a completely different ship? If so, at what point did it stop being the old ship and start being the new one? Or, is it not a new ship at all?

Classic car enthusiasts experience a similar phenomenon when restoring vehicles to their original condition. Do aftermarket bumpers, a brand-new transmission, and nine cans of Bondo spread across the body mean it’s no longer in original condition? If so, what are the repairs and replacements done to vehicles which don’t make them entirely new machines? Does replacing the original vinyl upholstery in a ‘72 Chevelle with a more comfortable modern material mean its owner can no longer lay claim to it being an original? We can’t tell you the secret to determining whether a vintage car is still original, but it’s definitely something to ponder in the event your rare automobile is wrecked.

Don’t forget: it’s just a car

Lastly, it’s important to put things in perspective. Classic automobiles are an intersection of artistic expression, revolutionary engineering, and cultural aspirations all in pursuit of power, speed, and distance, which is why we love them so much. However, in the end, they are just machines. If you get into a bad accident in a rare car and are able to walk away without being seriously injured, the day gets chalked up as a win.