THE DIMINISHED VALUE PROCESS
After the car insurance companies are notified about your accident, you will be assigned insurance adjusters who research the accident and determine your benefits from the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy and decide how much money you are entitled to. The adjusters work for the insurance company. The less money that is paid out in claims, the more money the insurance company makes. Most insurance adjusters will deal with you fairly, especially if you are knowledgeable and prepared to prove your insurance claim. However, many consumers are not prepared or knowledgeable about the insurance claim process. Remember, the insurance adjuster does this every day. You need to learn the auto insurance claim procedures.
You start this by knowing what special damages are and asking for them in your settlement claim. Special damages are losses that can be easily defined with a dollar amount such as repair costs, Diminished Value, towing fees, storage fees, replacement vehicle rental fees, medical fees, and loss of income fees. One tactic used by insurance adjusters after you demand special damages is to break off communications for a couple of days. This often results in a consumer that it is not financially stable settling for less. Instead, you should use this time to document the merits of your claim and hire your own appraiser that represents your own interests. General Auto Check can provide that appraisal for you and tell you what you need to do to get your maximum payout. If fault is not in question, it is in the best interest of the insurance company to settle. Do not lower your claim amount until you get an acceptable offer from the insurance company.
What is Diminished Value?
In a nutshell, the difference between the car’s pre-accident value and its value after repairs is called Diminished Value.
Some insurance companies will tell you there is no such thing as Diminished Value. No one is going to offer you Diminished Value money because your car was in an accident, but the effects of Diminished Value will show up when you attempt to sell or trade in your car. You will see the effects of companies whose main job is to identify previously wrecked autos.
Do not expect the insurance company to help with your Diminished Value claim. It is your responsibility as the owner of the vehicle to prove your loss. A competent appraisal will provide the value of your car before and after the accident.
In the majority of cases it is going to cost you money in order to receive the full benefits that are allowed under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
- You should have your car inspected after repairs are completed. This is going to cost money.
- You will need an appraisal so you will know how much potential Diminished Value you have and whether or not it is worthwhile to pursue.
- In order to get reimbursed up to the full Diminished Value of your vehicle, you will need the appraisal to prove your Diminished Value to the insurance company.
- If the insurance company rejects your Diminished Value claim you can invoke the arbitration or appraisal process so a third party can see both side’s data about the valuation and make a determination without having to go to court.
- There are times when hiring an attorney is a wise decision, especially with disputes about personal injury or high valued vehicles. If you decide to hire an attorney, in most cases the attorney will use the appraisal to file for Diminished Value along with personal injury claims in the case against the insurance company.
- With a quality Diminished Value appraisal, you may be able to deduct your non-reimbursed Diminished Value on your tax return if you itemize your deductions.
The quality of your Diminished Value report makes a difference.
Each accident and claim is unique depending on state laws and other circumstances. For example, you can have two cars with the same make and model and one was in a previous accident unknown to the current owner and the other has not. The Diminished Value for similar situations would be different.
Is it worth pursuing your Diminished Value claim?
Your diminished value can amount to several thousand dollars depending on the circumstances. However, for a very old vehicle, one in poor condition or with very high mileage, the amount of diminished value may be negligible. By talking to General Auto Check we can let you know if you have a large enough Diminished Value claim to pursue.
You have several options:
- Hire General Auto Check to document your Diminished Value claim so you can refute the insurance company’s offer and get the maximum amount due you to make you whole
- Drop the matter and absorb that cost as your own.
- Try to get a legal resolution. A legal resolution will also require an appraisal.
Your best option is to get a competent Diminished Value appraisal. Negotiation without documentation is going to bear little fruit.