Diminished Value & Car Insurance

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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It is an all too familiar scenario. Your vehicle was involved in an accident. You had it repaired. Now you are trying to sell it or trade it in and the buyers are telling you that because of the auto accident damage your vehicle has lost value or its value is diminished. In the information age of the internet and tracking firms like CarFax, accessing a car’s accident history is as easy as typing on your computer keyboard. It is clear that diminished value can hurt you, but is there any way to recover the value lost in your vehicle in a diminished value claim?

Diminished Car Value

Diminished car value is the difference between what the vehicle was worth before a car accident and what it is worth after the accident. The thought being, that because the reliability and safety of a vehicle has been compromised after an accident, once a consumer finds that a car has been involved in accident they will likely value the car less. That is why CarFax and other online services maintain a database of all wrecked, stolen and flood damaged vehicles in order to give the consumer information on a car’s history before purchase. Diminished car value is a very real problem for people with cars damaged in an accident.

What Can You Do about Your Car’s Diminished Value

The best thing you can do is protect yourself with car insurance. Many insurance companies have riders or endorsements that you can purchase and add to your car insurance policy to pay for diminished value. When you are shopping for car insurance, include your interest in diminished value protection when gathering your quotes. Click here to visit the Free Advice auto insurance quote center to shop for a car insurance plan.

You can also help yourself by:

  • Making sure that the body shop that is repairing your vehicle is reputable and is using original manufacturer’s equipment (OEM). OEM parts will ensure that the part that are being installed are just like the parts that were damaged from the manufacturer of the vehicle. This will not guarantee you will not have diminished value to your vehicle after an accident, but you can certainly make the argument that it was repair back to its original condition before the accident with OEM parts.
  • If the car accident was not your fault, then you can try to recoup this loss in value from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. If you have questions about how to file a claim with another party’s insurance carrier, consult an experienced car accident attorney.t

Ultimately, insuring yourself from the losses of diminished value can be a good idea if you think you’ll try to sell the vehicle in the future. Compare car insurance quotes that include diminished value coverage to find the best price.

Filing a Diminished Value Claim

If you have been in an accident, you can file a claim for diminished value with your insurance company and recover your value as your policy allows. Because diminished value claims do not apply to vehicles that have been deemed a total loss, you need to make sure your car is not considered totaled. You will need to work with your car insurance adjuster to see if your car is considered totaled before you can file a diminished value claim. As you prepare to file a diminished value claim, there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • You need to document everything! Make sure all correspondence is in writing and saved. If there is an appearance difference to your car, try to retrieve pictures of your car before accident and after the accident so you can document the damages you suffered. Diminished value claims are hard to prove, so obsessive documentation is critical to your success.
  • Pull a Carfax report or another history report. Accidents take time to show on these reports, generally about 30 days. The insurance adjuster needs to see that this accident is on your car’s history to prove a diminished value claim.
  • Take your car to a dealership or businesses where they may take your car on a trade-in or sell it. Ask them what your vehicle would be worth. If they bring up the fact that the car was involved in an accident and therefore they can only offer you say $7,000, then ask them what they would have given you if the car was not in an accident. If the person tells you $13,000, then you diminished value claim would be $5000. Get this estimate in writing!!

If you find that the insurance adjuster will not entertain the diminished value claim for your vehicle, you can consult with an attorney. An attorney can help you recover for your car’s diminished value by showing you suffered a real loss in the car accident and that you should be compensated. Click here to talk with an attorney in your area that will guide you in making such claims.

For more information about auto insurance claims, check out the following articles:

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From An Experienced Auto Accident Attorney.

Car Insurance Claim Process

What Is Your Car Insurance Claim Worth?

Negotiating Your Car Accident Insurance Settlement

Settling Your Car Insurance Claim & Demand Letters

How To Write A Demand Letter

How To Know When Your Car Insurance Settlement Offer Is Too Low

What To Do When Your Car Insurance Claim Is Denied

What To Know About Your Car Insurance Settlement Agreement

Should I Contact a Car Accident Attorney?

More Articles That Help You File A Car Insurance Claim

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