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Diminished Value —Don’t Leave Money On The Table

There is a particular claim in the property damage side of a car accident case called diminished value, and when it comes to this claim, a lot of people leave money on the table.

Diminished value is a second property damage claim that you have if your vehicle is repaired after the accident. So if it’s total loss, then you don’t have a diminished value claim - you just have a right to a payment of the market value of your vehicle. But if it’s repaired, that’s a different story. If it’s repaired, you have a right to two things.

1. Repair of the vehicle and the costs
2. After repair, you have a right to a separate claim which is diminished value.

Though your car may be fixed after the accident, there is something else that you need to consider for the future. When you go to sell your car, the potential buyer will look at Carfax and see that the car has been in an accident which diminishes the value of the car. This means they will offer you less for your vehicle than another comparable vehicle that has not been in an accident. The vehicle has a reduced value which you should be compensated for.

What happens is that the diminished value is set by the insurance company at 10% of the repair cost. This is not the case. What you have a right to is the market value difference between a vehicle like yours that’s never been in a wreck and your vehicle that has been in an accident. Whatever the current difference in market value is at the time of the accident is what you are entitled to with a diminished value claim.

What ends up happening is that you may need to hire a diminished value expert. You have to decide what the best option is. You shouldn’t let the insurance company scam you by saying that is all the law requires them to give you.

Don’t forget a diminished value claim when you get your vehicle repaired after an accident. The at-fault party owes you the diminished value.