Making a Diminished Value Insurance Claim
What was the value of your luxury car before you were the victim of an accident? Did your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance policy cover the excess loss to your vehicle’s worth?
In most cases, the body and structural repairs financed by your insurance policy’s “collision” coverage, will not restore your car’s book value prior to the accident. You may lose thousands of dollars in value just because it’s been in an accident. Nearly 70% of all vehicles sold, end up on a used car lot. An accident history follows your automobile each time it is parked on a lot and the dealer will potentially take the hit twice: both at purchase and upon resale. So, the loss is built into the value of your car; hence your car’s worth is thousands of dollars less than the book value of a similar undamaged vehicle.
Your car accident lawyer may offer a way to recover your car’s book value
Because property damage falls under your collision policy, the contract between you and your insurance company obligates them to repair your vehicle if it has not been totaled. And most policies provide for the use of a rental vehicle while your car is under repair. While policies differ slightly from state to state and company to company, those provisions generally fulfill their contract with you.
But to be made whole again after an accident with injuries and property damage, your car accident lawyer may make a demand for the diminished value of your automobile while negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company. But on the other hand, a demand for diminished value could muddy the waters during smooth negotiations favoring you, the plaintiff. Your attorney, like experienced Auto Accident Lawyers Indianapolis, IN trusts, may have to put up a fight. It’s not an easy call.
You can make a claim for diminished value
To make a claim for diminished value, you must present the following information to the at-fault insurance company:
- An appraisal of the car’s value before the accident from a legitimate appraiser; and
- An appraisal of the car’s value after the accident from a legitimate appraiser.
If the other driver has no insurance, many states allow you to make a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.
Making a claim for the diminished value of your automobile is difficult at best. Many insurance companies feel they don’t owe this courtesy to you and will put up a good fight to avoid paying it. Remember, they have lawyers on staff. If you are unsuccessful in negotiating with the insurance company, you can always turn to the small claims court.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into auto accident cases.