1. Must the damage exceed a certain dollar amount for me to have a diminished value claim?
No. There is no set amount of damage that qualifies a vehicle for diminished value. The question depends on what specific damage occurred to what specific car. For instance, repainting a bumper on a Ferrari will have a significant effect on its value. Repainting a bumper on a 30 year old Yugo will have little effect on its value. As a general rule, more damage results in a higher loss of value; and the more valuable the vehicle, the more value it can lose when damaged.
2. If my car is new, will my diminished value claim be higher?
A vehicle's age is significant. Newer vehicles depreciate at a faster rate than older vehicles. A 2011 Honda Accord with $3,000 in damage will suffer more diminished value than a 2008 Honda Accord with the same damage.
3. What if I have over 100,000 miles? Can I still make a diminished value claim?
Yes. There is NO mileage limit. If a vehicle has value, it can lose value. If your vehicle is damaged and loses value, you have a valid claim. Vehicles over 100,000 miles have value and thus can lose value if damaged.
4. What if my car is over 5 years old? Can I still make a diminished value claim?
Yes. There is NO age limit. If a vehicle has value, it can lose value. Consider, for example, an antique vehicle. If it is damaged, would it lose value? That is an extreme example to demonstrate that age by itself is not a limitation to diminished value. Instead, the age of a vehicle affects its overall value which can minimize your loss.
5. Does the vehicle have to have frame damage to suffer diminished value?
No. There is NO requirement that a vehicle must suffer frame damage to file a claim for diminished value. Note: West Virginia requires "structural damage" to pursue diminished value - which they define as more than merely cosmetic damage.
6. How does mechanical damage affect diminished value?
Typically a vehicle which has suffered mechanical damage in an accident has sustained a severe impact. However, the mechanical damage by itself has less impact on the loss of value than paint work, body, or frame repairs. The specific nature of each accident and the damaged caused must be analyzed to determine the loss of value.
7. If I don't repair my vehicle, can I still make a claim for diminished value?
Yes. There is NO requirement to repair your vehicle. A claim for diminished value refers to the loss of market value only not the body repairs.
8. What is the difference between a "1st party claim" and a "3rd party claim"?
If you cause the accident and make a claim under the collision provisions of your insurance policy, you are making a "1st party claim." The claim will be governed by the contract terms of the policy. If someone collides with your vehicle and you file a claim against the other driver, you are making a "3rd party" claim and such claim would be governed by the Tort law of your State.
9. What happens if I cannot collect the full amount of the diminished value claim?
You may be able to deduct any loss which are not reimbursed on your tax return. Check with your tax advisor.
10. If the insurance company sent me a check for diminished value, can I still negotiate?
Yes. You do not have to accept the check sent by the insurance company. It is an offer to settle your claim. If you believe that you are entitled to more money, you should obtain an independent appraisal and negotiate with the insurance company.
11. How long does it take to resolve a diminished value claim?
Typically a claim for diminished value can be resolved in one or two weeks.
12. I've been told that diminished value is not recognized in my State. What should I do?
You can collect for diminished value in virtually every State. Call us to review your specific State's requirements.
13. Why does it matter where the accident occurred?
For two reasons: First, State law governs the collection of diminished value. Second, vehicle values differ in different parts of the Country. It is necessary to determine the value of the vehicle where the accident occurred to make an accurate assessment of diminished value.
14. Why does the date of loss matter?
Diminished value is calculated on the date of the loss. Your vehicle's value can change over time. An accurate assessment of how much value you have lost depends on the vehicle's value on the date of loss, not the date of the claim.
15. Why does the nature of the damage matter? Shouldn't there be diminished value in every case?
As a general rule, the more damage, the more diminished value. However, the type of damage affects the loss of value. For instance a vehicle which suffers $2,000 in glass, trim, and tire repairs may have no diminished value. And a vehicle which suffers $2,000 in frame and body damage may have a significant loss of value.
16. Why does a vehicle's history matter when making a diminished value claim?
Whether a vehicle has a clean title or prior accidents affects both the vehicle's value prior to the accident as well as its value afterwards. For instance if a 2008 Toyota Camry with a 'rebuilt' title is damaged it will have significantly less diminished value than a 2008 Toyota Camry with a clean title.
17. Is there a formula that must be used to calculate diminished value?
NO. Many insurance companies will attempt to use a self-serving formula to establish how much diminished value a vehicle has suffered. There is no State with a pre-set formula. As a general rule, an injured party is entitled to be made whole. Some formulas limit a vehicle's loss to 10%. That is wrong. Vehicles can lose more than 10% of their value given certain damage. Some formulas limit a vehicle's loss based on mileage. That is wrong. For instance, a vehicle with more than 100,000 miles can lose value.
18. I have a question which I don't see listed here. What can I do?
Call us and ask.
19. I'm ready to begin. What do I do next?