Diminished value is too often forgotten or overlooked after an accident. It can truly hurt your wallet—now and down the road—if it doesn’t become a priority on your post-accident checklist.
But without the proper knowledge and preparation, filing a diminished value claim could be a leap of faith. Thankfully, it is easy to get acquainted with the ins and outs of filing a claim, and it all begins with learning what the requirements are for filing a diminished value claim.
What makes you eligible to file a diminished value claim?
There are indeed requirements for successfully filing a diminished value claim—fortunately, they are simple and incredibly straightforward. If the following points apply to you, you are eligible:
- You were in an accident
- You are the owner of the vehicle you were driving during the accident
- You are the innocent party of the accident
Simple enough, right? Now let’s go into the process of filing a claim.
How to file a diminished value claim.
The first step is to find a diminished value expert. Diminished value experts are experienced appraisers and know the ins and outs of dealing with insurers. An expert will ensure you receive the compensation you are owed based on your vehicle’s loss. Once you’ve found your specialist, here is the process he or she will guide you through:
- Appraisal – Your diminished value expert will determine the amount of value your vehicle has lost. He or she will have a background in performing damage analyses and know a great deal about various vehicle markets. Once the appraisal is complete, the expert will create a proof of loss report to go along with a formal demand for payment letter.
- Submit – The proof of loss report and a formal demand for payment letter are submitted to the at-fault party’s insurance company. The ball is then in the court of the insurer, and only when a response is received can you move forward with the claim.
- Settlement– Here comes the difficult part… Insurance companies will almost always fight diminished value claims so that they don’t have to pay out anything at all. The best way to be prepared is to know how insurance companies fight, which brings us to the next aspect of filing a claim that drivers should be aware of.
It is your right to file a diminished value claim—never forget that.
The insurance company of the at-fault party will tell you otherwise, but if you meet the three aforementioned requirements, plain and simple, you are owed compensation for the loss in value your vehicle suffered.
There are common tactics that insurance companies will use to fight diminished value claims, and it’s important to be prepared for those tactics. So for your sake, get to know how insurance companies will fight, and how to respond when they do.
What to do when an insurance company denies or fights your claim.
There are statements—or comebacks—that insurance companies often use as a response to diminished value claims. The more familiar you are with these statements, the better prepared you’ll be to respond and fight for the compensation you deserve.
As aforementioned, if you were in an accident in a vehicle that you own, and you were the innocent party of that accident, you are eligible–it’s that simple.
(NOTE: We’ve been hearing that some new policies, specifically in Georgia and South Carolina, have attempted to write out Diminished Value or Right to Appraisal. I-Car and ASE Certified Adjuster, and owner/operator of LG Auto Body in Silver Spring, Luis Gonzalez says, “Fortunately I haven’t seen this in Maryland, but consumers everywhere should ask about this when they purchase car insurance. Is there anything in my policy about Diminished Value, and do I have the Right to Appraisal? Hopefully, we will not see this anywhere but Georgia and South Carolina, where the laws are unusual. However, it’s definitely worth checking because these are important rights that every consumer is entitled to.”
In this scenario, it’s important to stick to the word of the unbiased diminished value expert that you’ve hired. Insurers may also want to send an independent appraiser to conduct his or her own appraisal, but just remember that it is enough for you to have an impartial party (your expert) conduct an appraisal.
There are three kinds of diminished value to know in order to understand this statement.
- Immediate: The difference in value of your vehicle before and immediately after your accident.
- Inherent: Because your vehicle now has a damage history, it has “inherent diminished value.”
- Repair-Related: Your vehicle received a less-than-optimal repair, making you eligible for additional compensation due to the improper repair.
For this particular statement, inherent diminished value is important. Just because your vehicle has been repaired does not mean that its value has been restored. Consumers do not want to pay full price for a vehicle with damage history; consequently, the demand and price for vehicles with damage history is incredibly low.
Moreover, in the instance of a shoddy repair, repair-related diminished value is crucial to not only receiving additional compensation, but also ensuring your vehicle is as safe as it was originally intended to be. An improper repair could cost you money, and possibly your life.
There are rare cases in which a claim turns into a lawsuit due to a never-ending battle for settlement. It’s unlikely your claim will come to that, because with the right diminished value expert and the appropriate amount knowledge on the subject, you will be prepared to receive the compensation you deserve.