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Understanding Diminished Value Claims After a Car Accident

What is diminished value?

A vehicle's value after an accident can be challenging to determine. The diminished value of a car is the difference between what the car would be worth if it were in perfect condition and its current value. The diminished value contains several factors, including but not limited to accident damage, improper modifications, wear and tear from use over time, or depreciation from age. A car in an accident will always be worth less than one that has not.

Types of Diminished Value

The diminished value claim types are based on physical damage to the property, depreciation, and loss of use. Physical damage is when bodily material damage to the car causes it to lose some or all its original value. Depreciation is when there is a loss in market value because something has been used up or worn out over time. Loss of use is when you cannot use an item because it has been destroyed or stolen. Let's look at the types:

  1. Immediate diminished value is the short-term effect on the vehicle's resale value of a car. It's not common for insurance companies to use this metric when determining the value of a vehicle. The immediate diminished value effect can be seen immediately in a car accident. It can also indicate why owners have trouble selling vehicles they've only used for a short time.
  2. Inherent diminished value is a long-term effect on a vehicle's resale value if the car shows a history of accidents or uncommon damage.
  3. Repair-related diminished value is when the car's depreciation happens after it's repaired. This decrease in value is because the vehicle has been used and will not be as valuable as it was before its repair.

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Are Insurance Companies Required to Pay a Diminished Value Claim?

Insurance companies are only required to pay diminished value claims in certain situations. State laws decide when and if an insurance company must pay for a valid diminished value claim. These laws often require the policyholder to have comprehensive vehicle coverage, covering collision and total damages. The insurance company will need to provide an accurate value of the car before and after the accident. The insurance company will then need to subtract the pre-accident value from the post-accident value and pay out what remains. If a vehicle is totaled, there is no diminished value claim because it's worth nothing.

What If the Accident is Your Fault

Diminished value claims filed by the driver at fault aren't the responsibility of an insurance company. These claims will most likely not be approved. It may even result in legal action by the insurance company, depending on the severity of the claim. The best way to ensure a diminished claim gets approved and paid for by an insurance company is to exercise good driving habits.

What If the Accident was Clearly Caused by Another Driver

Each state has laws surrounding filing an eligible diminished value claim against other drivers. Accidents due to another driver are usually approved and processed according to the coverage in the insurance contract. Claims adjusters are responsible for investigating and evaluating claims to determine their validity. They also determine the extent of the damage and how much to pay out on a claim.

When Should You File a Diminished Value Claim?

A diminished value claim gets filed when the vehicle's market value has been lowered because of damages from another driver. Claims like these are filed with others, such as property damage or personal injury. In some states, a diminished value claim can be filed independently without any other type of claim. The most common reason for a diminished value claim is collision damage to a vehicle. The most common cause of collision damage is when another driver hits your car or causes it to crash.

How to File a Diminished Value Claim

Your insurance company or a third-party company can file a diminished value claim. If filing through your insurance company, you should contact the insurance company and file a report. The insurance company will determine if the vehicle is eligible for this claim. Some jurisdictions require that you file this type of claim to get your vehicle repaired. If you are still determining whether you need to file, contact your insurance company before proceeding with repairs.

How Diminished Value Claims Are Calculated

Diminished value claims are calculated by using the difference between the market value of a vehicle before and after an accident and then multiplying that figure by a certain percentage.

To calculate the diminished value claim, you should know the market value of your vehicle before it was involved in an accident. You can do this by looking up what similar cars are selling on websites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com.

How to Get the Highest Payout from Your Diminished Value Claim

The following are some steps that may help you get the most from your diminished value claim:

First, know what to ask. An excellent way to do this is by checking with others who have had their claims. You can also talk with an attorney who handles these cases and has experience in this area. Second, Be aware of your rights as a consumer. If something is wrong, don't be afraid to speak up about it. Check for topics such as being denied coverage for repairs or replacement costs, being charged an unreasonable deductible, or having your deductible increased without notice. Take time to read all documents carefully before signing them.

Proof of Diminished Value

Take clear pictures of the damage done in the accident to all cars involved. Consider getting an appraisal from a vehicle appraiser to add to the claim. The person filing the claim must prove a car's value has gone down due to the accident. Having an overabundance of Proof will make your claim more likely to be approved.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


How long do I have to complete a diminished value claim?

The statute of limitations for filing a diminished value claim varies by state. In California, the statute of limitations is around two years from the date of discovery or one year after the vehicle gets repaired.

How long does it take to determine if the claim has been approved?

The process of determining diminished value can take a long time. It can take around two years for the process to complete. It's difficult for an insurance company to determine if the diminished value has been approved. Many factors get considered before deciding on a diminished value claim:

  1. The make and model of the vehicle
  2. The number of miles driven
  3. The time that's passed since the accident occurred

Will the payout include all depreciation?

No. The payout for a diminished value claim will not include any future value that an asset may have customarily incurred.

What information should I get from the other driver?

To file a diminished value claim, you need to get the other driver's information, including their name, address, phone number, and license plate number. You also need a copy of your vehicle's title or registration.

What will cause my claim to get rejected?

If your policy includes collision coverage and the accident was not your fault, you should be able to file for diminished value. These claims get rejected because they are difficult to prove and are typically not worth it for legal counsel to pursue.

What happens if my claim gets rejected?

If your diminished value claim gets rejected, you must undergo another evaluation to determine if it qualifies as diminished value. If it does, then you will be compensated for your loss.

What type of coverage do I need to file a diminished value claim?

There are three types of diminished value coverage:

  1. Loss of Market Value insurance covers the loss of value in a car's resale price. This insurance coverage covers the cost of replacing a vehicle with one with similar features and, in some cases, any depreciation. The owner may be unable to recover the vehicle's total value if it is stolen or damaged.
  2. Loss of use insurance is coverage used to protect the vehicle owner from loss of use if their vehicle needs repair. The coverage pays for a rental car or reimbursement for mileage driven. The coverage amount comes from the cost of the rental car or reimbursement per mile driven. Coverage gets bought as an add-on to comprehensive or collision insurance policies or can be purchased as a standalone policy.
  3. The Decline in resale value insurance is a type of insurance that covers the difference in resale prices between a new and used car. Resale value insurance is less popular than it once was. It happens because of the availability of cars on the market and more people buying used cars instead of new ones.

Can I file a diminished value claim if my vehicle is lost?

The answer to this question can sometimes be complicated. One of the key factors is whether your vehicle was totaled or heavily damaged. A diminished value claim will only be successful if you can prove that the damage caused by the accident has lowered your vehicle's resale value. Just compare the value before and after the accident. It gets calculated by comparing similar cars sold in recent months or years.

What are the best insurance companies for a diminished value claim?

The best insurance companies for a diminished value claim will be those that offer the most comprehensive coverage for your vehicle. These are typically insurance companies that provide the most comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price.

The key to finding the best insurance company is to find one that meets your needs and is within your budget. Finding an insurance company with the right balance of coverage and affordability can be challenging, but it is worth considering.